Malatya - Tamzara (dance)

14/07/22 (Last modified 14/07/22)

This section of our website aims to document and share performances of various traditional Armenian dances that have been preserved by Diasporan communities in the United States. To this end, Houshamadyan is partnering and collaborating with a group of Armenian dance experts who have produced appropriate dance notations for documentation. This group consists of Carolyn Rapkievian (of Bar Harbor, Maine), Susan and Gary Lind-Sinanian (of Watertown, Massachusetts), Tom Bozigian (of Los Angeles, California), and Robert Haroutunian (Sunyside, NY).

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The Tamzara is a dance in a distinctive 9/8 rhythm which was widespread across much of the Armenian Plateau. Villages and towns had their own local versions. Some experts hypothesize that the dance originated in the village of Tamzara in the northeast region of Sepasdia/Sivas.

​Robert Haroutunian learned the dance in the 2000s from Malatya Armenians whocurrently live in Istanbul. It is not known how old this Tamzara is.

Aleppo, 1940. Actresses involved in a production of the Anoush opera organized by the Malatya Compatriotic Union. The performers were natives of Malatya (Source: Bab-Oukhdi periodical, year 7, December 1940, number 1 (25), Cleveland, Ohio). This photograph was digitally colorised using Myheritage.com.

Source: Robert Haroutunian.

Music: The distinctive 9/8 rhythm is 1-2,1-2,1-2,1-2-3. The Malatyatsi Tamzara dance phrase is four measures. There is a unique melody associated with this Tamzara.

Style: Heavy strong movements. 

Formation: A line of dancers in ‘Armenian hold’ (little fingers interlocked with hands held at chest height slightly forward) with the leader at the right. During forward movements, arms are down and body is crouched. Moving backwards, body is erect with hands in Armenian hold at chest height.

Malatya - Tamzara | Demonstration and Tutorial

Measures

Counts

Movements

 

 

Leaning forward in a crouch:

1

1-2

Step forward on the left heel

 

3-4

Step forward strongly on right foot beside left foot

 

5-6

Step forward on the left heel

 

7-9

Stamp right foot beside left foot

 

 

In an upright position:

2

1-2

Step backward on right foot

 

3-4

Tap ball of left ball foot on floor

 

5-6

Tap ball of left ball foot on floor

 

7-9

Lift left foot in front while lifting the right heel slightly

3

1-2

Step backward on left foot

 

3-4

Tap ball of right foot on floor

 

5-6

 Tap ball of right foot on floor

 

7-9

Lift right foot in front while lifting the left heel slightly

4

1-2

Step backward on right foot

 

3-4

Tap ball of left foot on floor

 

5-6

Tap ball of left foot on floor

 

7-9

Lift left foot in front while lifting the right heel slightly

Malatya, Armenian women. Photographer: Brother Raphaël, 1904 (Source: "Album de la Mission de Mésopotamie et d'Arménie confiée aux Frères-Mineurs Capucins de la Province de Lyon", 1904).

Other Tamzaras