Normally, when a Brazilian refers to xote, he is talking about a dance fairly common in the Northeast region, similar to forró. Curiously, the word comes from the German schottische, meaning Scottish, or Scottish polka, a type of country dance probably originated in Bohemia. It was introduced in the Brazilian court in the mid-19th century. When you see a performance of the traditional schottische (see below) it is pretty tough to figure how it evolved into its Brazilian descendants. Yes, descendants, in the plural, because xote is also danced in the extreme South of the country, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, where it is known as xote gaúcho.
The following videos show examples of the two Brazilian xotes (first the Northeastern style by group Fala Mansa – sorry for the intro ads -, and then danced in a ball in the South), plus a demonstration of schottische . Please, let me know if you see any similitude. Frankly, I don’t.
This post is dedicated to you, John Armstrong, that asked (with reason) for more content about the South. Be prepared: I hope to publish many more posts about the life and culture of gaúchos, barrigas verdes and paranaenses (the natives of the three Southern states) in the near future.