The Tsamiko is a popular traditional dance of Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

. The name literally means dance of the Chams
Cham Albanians
Cham Albanians, or Chams , are a sub-group of Albanians who originally resided in the coastal region of Epirus in northwestern Greece, an area known among Albanians as Chameria. The Chams have their own peculiar cultural identity, which is a mixture of Albanian and Greek influences as well as many...

. It is also known as Kleftikos , literally meaning dance of the Klepht
Klephts were self-appointed armatoloi, anti-Ottoman insurgents, and warlike mountain-folk who lived in the countryside when Greece was a part of the Ottoman Empire...

s .

The dance

The dance follows a strict and slow tempo not emphasising on the steps, but more on the "attitude, style and grace" of the dancer. The dancers hold each other from each other's hands, bent 90 degrees upwards at the elbows. It takes a sturdy hand, especially if you are supporting the first or last person of the line (or circle) who will lean on you to perform high acrobatic leaps (usually kicking his right leg up as he takes off followed by the left (in a scissor-like motion), hitting the latter with the back of his hand before landing). The steps
Dance move
Dance moves or dance steps are the building blocks of many dances.More complex dance moves are called dance patterns, dance figures or dance variations....

 are relatively easy but have to be precise and strictly on beat
Beat (music)
The beat is the basic unit of time in music, the pulse of the mensural level . In popular use, the beat can refer to a variety of related concepts including: tempo, meter, rhythm and groove...

. The dancer might even stomp his foot in response to a strong beat. There is some improvisation involved and many variations of the steps, depending on which area the dancers come from. Over time the dance has taken on many variations. It is danced in a circle to 3/4
Triple metre
Triple metre is a musical metre characterized by a primary division of 3 beats to the bar, usually indicated by 3 or 9 in the upper figure of the time signature, with 3/4, 3/2, and 3/8 being the most common examples...

 rhythm. In the past, it was danced exclusively by men, but in modern times both men and women take part.


Danced almost exclusively by men, this dance is strongly reminiscent of the 1821 era in Greek history.

Today Tsamiko is a popular dance in festivals and weddings, especially in the rural areas of Central Greece
Central Greece
Continental Greece or Central Greece , colloquially known as Roúmeli , is a geographical region of Greece. Its territory is divided into the administrative regions of Central Greece, Attica, and part of West Greece...

 and Peloponnese
The Peloponnese, Peloponnesos or Peloponnesus , is a large peninsula , located in a region of southern Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth...

, as well as Epirus periphery where a slower version is performed. Sometimes the dancers dress in the traditional Greek military uniform
Military uniform
Military uniforms comprises standardised dress worn by members of the armed forces and paramilitaries of various nations. Military dress and military styles have gone through great changes over the centuries from colourful and elaborate to extremely utilitarian...

 of the Evzones
The Evzones, or Evzoni, is the name of several historical elite light infantry and mountain units of the Greek Army. Today, it refers to the members of the Proedriki Froura , an elite ceremonial unit that guards the Greek Tomb of the Unknown Soldier , the Hellenic Parliament and the Presidential...

Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, Εύζωνοι). This dance is usually performed to celebrate national events (i.e. anniversary of the declaration of the start of Greek War of Independence
Greek War of Independence
The Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution was a successful war of independence waged by the Greek revolutionaries between...

 in 1821).

See also

  • Greek music
  • Greek dances
    Greek dances
    Greek dance is a very old tradition, being referred to by authors such as Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch and Lucian. There are different styles and interpretations from all of the islands and surrounding mainland areas. Each region formed its own choreography and style to fit in with their own ways...

  • Syrtos
    Syrtos , is the collective name of a group of Greek folk dances. Syrtos, along with its relative kalamatianos, are the most popular dances throughout Greece and are frequently danced by the Greek diaspora worldwide. They are very popular in social gatherings, weddings and religious festivals...

  • Ballos
    The Ballos Sirtos , is one of the best known Greek folk island dances in Greece...

  • Hasapiko
    The Hasapiko , is a Greek folk dance from Constantinople. The dance originated in the Middle Ages as a battle mime with swords performed by the Greek butchers guild, which adopted it from the military of Byzantine era. In Constantinople during the Byzantine times, it was called in Greek...

  • Sirtaki
    Sirtaki or syrtaki is a popular dance of Greek origin, choreographed, by Giorgos Provias for the 1964 film Zorba the Greek. It is not a traditional Greek folkdance, but a mixture of the slow and fast versions of the hasapiko dance...

  • Sousta
    Sousta is the name of a folk dance in Cyprus and Crete which is danced in Greece and generally in the Balkans. The music is generally played with a lyre , laouto, and mandolin ....

External links

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