Tamzara (slow)

[Full notes] [Summary notes] [Other dances & the source code]

Alternative names 'Tamzara' is the original name transcribed into English by Shakeh.
'Tamzara (slow)' is what I call it to distinguish it from other 'Tamzara' dances.
Region Detail Gagharkounik, near Lake Sevan.
Formation Couples, triples or solos in a circle. Basketweave hold.
Dance Structure ((A1 + A2 + A3 + A4) + (A1 + B) + (A1 + A2 + A3 + A4)) repeated through the music.
Music Structure 5 counts/bar, 4 bars/phrase.
Music Speed 120 counts/min.
Source Shakeh Avanessian at her Armenian day course in Cecil Sharp House, London, 2002.

Disclaimer: Mistakes are quite likely in the notes and no guarantees are made as to accuracy. There may be other versions of the same dance or other dances with the same name. Music may differ, particularly in speed, introduction and duration, between performers. The division into parts, bars & counts might not be standard. These notes of the dance are freely distributable (under GPL or CC-by-sa) in so much as the note's author's contribution but the choreography and/or collection were by other people and so their copyright might apply to the dance itself. Better than using notes, go to a dance class where it is taught by Shakeh Avanessian.

A simple gentle solemn traditional Armenian wedding dance. It was originally freestyle in when to turn, travel etc. and continued for half an hour or more. This version is choreographed in directions and reduced to a more convenient length.

It works best with hard heeled shoes so that the stamps are audible as gentle clicks.

The music is in 5 counts per bar with the 4th count shorter. This is conventionally written in musical notation as 9 beats grouped 2+2+2+1+2 but I find it easier to vocalise as "One two three Tap Tap [pause]" where the numbers are slows and "Tap"s & the pause are quicks.

Note that 'Tamzara' is the type of Armenian music (distinguished in particular by the rhythm) and so there are many Armenian dances which have this name. All the others I had personal come across have been fast dances (even to the extent of martial looking moves and high jumps in some cases!) so I've called this one 'Tamzara (slow)' to distinguish it from the others in my collection (there are other slow ones in existence though); the official name is simply 'Tamzara'.

Style: Solemn & very controlled. Very small low steps onto flat foot, even when it is a heel-stamp. Expression mainly from subtle motions of the head and gaze direction.


Summary: 4 bars.

4 bars (or start at the start of any phrase).

Basic Step

Summary: 3 steps, 2 taps.

1 Small step onto R (slow).
2 Small step onto L (slow).
3 Small step onto R (slow).
Tap Stamp L heel without weight beside R (quick).
Tap Stamp L heel without weight beside R (quick).
& Brief pause (quick).

This is a R Basic Step. A L Basic Step is the same but in mirror image on the opposite feet.

When the direction of looking or body needs to be changed, subtly spread it out over the 3 steps of the first Basic Step rather than all on the first step.

Part A1

Summary: (R Basic steps looking R, mirror) x 2. (R Basic Step F looking up, L Basic Step backwards looking down) x 2.

Start Body facing the centre.
1 R Basic Step to the R turning head & gaze to the R progressively during the 3 steps (counts 1-3) ending with head facing 45 deg cw of the direction of the body.
2 Repeat bar 1 in mirror image (L Basic Step L turning head to look L during the steps).
3-4 Repeat bars 1-2 (R Basic Step R with head turn, ditto L).
5 R Basic Step forwards tilting head back & raising gaze progressively during the 3 steps.
6 Repeat bar 2 backwards on opposite feet (L Basic Step L backwards tilting head forwards & gaze down).
7-8 Repeat bars 5-6 (R Basic Step forwards with head forwards, ditto L backwards).

If ones body is not facing in the correct direction at the start of this Part (as after doing Part B) then turn to face it during the first 3 steps. This will mean that that body turns 90 deg relative to the room whilst the head turns 45 deg relative to the body.

Part A2

Summary: As Part A1 but facing acw around the circle.

The same as Part A1 but facing in a different direction, acw around the circle. As described in the notes for Part A1, this done by turning the body 90 deg cw during the first 3 steps.

Part A3

Summary: As Part A1 but facing out of the circle.

Part A4

Summary: As Part A1 but facing cw around the circle.

Part B

Summary: (R & L Basic Steps forwards acw around the circle) x 4.

Start Facing the centre of the circle from the previous Part A1 (but immediately commencing turning to face cw around the circle).
1-8 Facing acw around the circle, walk forwards in 8 Basic Steps ((R, L) x 4 Basic Steps forwards acw around the circle).