Saturday, June 8, 2019

Dancing by the Numbers, Part Two

Numbers constitute the only universal language.
Nathaniel West

Today's featured dance is the 16 Count Tsamiko.  It's slightly more complicated than the basic Tsamiko that is usually done at Greek festivals.  We do it at the Sunday night dances.

The dance is sometimes called Tsamikos.  In Video #1 the spelling is "Chamiko." This dance and its variations may have originated with the Cham people; ethnic Albanians who lived in Greece.

This is the Tsamiko dance that we do when we're not dancing the 16 count version. It is often done at Greek festivals. Notice that it's the same music as video #1. At 1:54 the leader introduces a variation.  She also does a few turns: some leaders embellish the basic dance with turns, jumps and acrobatics.  Male leaders tend to do this more than women, but there are exceptions.

Since The Alien Diaries is an equal opportunity blog, the Tsamiko in Video #3 shows a female leader in an all female line doing some masculine moves that include turns, jumps, and knee bends. She spices it up with shouts.

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Dancing by the Numbers

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  1. Enjoyed watching Mrs. Ioannou. Tsamikos is a great dance (dances) but really needs clarification. It is not one dance but many, many dances. Tsamikos at best describes a rhythm. "In its most common form the tsamikos is a free-style dance. Some dancers never step to left, other dancers (usually men) dance almost entirely in place, moving a step in one direction or the other only now and then. In some parts of Greece one will find it danced by all in the village using a prescribed number of step to the right and to the left." (Hunt, TRADITIONAL DANCE IN GREEK CULTURE, p.87) There are also tsamika such as that from Grevena which begin with the left foot going to the right, with little or no opportunity for variations. Then you have the Dailiana from Thessaly which is danced very differently from village to village. So much more to this "dance" than most people realize.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I have seen many choreographies to the Tsamiko rhythm on YouTube. Most recreational groups do the basic three to the right and one to the left. Some do two to the right and one to the left. Check out the blog Folkdance Footnotes for a different take on Tsamikos. There are so many styles, tunes and variations!

  2. I am not talking about choreographies. I am referring to dances of the Greeks. If you or someone else does a choreography to a tsamiko song or rhythm, I certainly hope the choreographer attaches his/her name to it. Own it--don't call it Greek.