Paylaki Tamzara (Armenia)


Tamzara is known both as a song and as a dance. It is also a man’s name. As a dance, it is a traditional dance done in many regions of Armenia. All tamzaras are in 9/8 (short-short-short-long). There are many varieties of this dance because it was known in many regions in various forms. Paylak is the teacher who originated this dance. Paylaki means “from Paylak” to distinguish it from the many other Tamzaras.

In Arapkir (former West Armenia), the name is said to be derived from the following anecdote. The leader of a village offered his guests his hospitality and always called for his daughter-in-law Zara to serve them tan (yoghurt mixed with salt and water). Therefore, he called to her by saying: “Tan, Zara!” According to the ancient storytellers, from then on the village name was changed into Tamzara. How the name of the dance fits into the story remains kind of a mystery. This dance is based on Paylak Sarkisian’s tamzara, with adaptation by Tineke van Geel and presented at the 2019 Stockton Folk Dance Camp. Dance notes…

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