Traditional dances

The Kotis
The Kotis – one of the many traditional Rodriguan dances performed at La Faya Festival in 2004.
Image: Henri D'Argent
Source: Henri D'Argent

A variety of dances form part of the cultural heritage of Mauritians and Rodriguans. Some traditional Rodriguan dances developed from the formal court and country dances of Europe. They include the mazok (mazurka), laval (waltz) and the kotis (Scottish or ecossaise). However, the majority of Mauritians and Rodriguans today relate more to the séga as their traditional dance than any other.

Traditionally, a séga was started by a man who would then be joined by a woman. Other men took turns to cut in, the dance becoming almost a courtship ritual until the woman ended the dance with her preferred partner. The dance was suggestive and erotic and the Church tried to suppress it for a time, believing it was dangerous, even satanic. The séga was regarded by some as vulgar, enjoyed only by the Creoles. Eventually other forms evolved that were more socially acceptable.

In Australia, the séga is danced at community and family celebrations. Other dances that are popular include ballroom dancing, le quadrille (lancier or lancer dance) and more contemporary western dances.