Tamzara is a wedding song-dance. It is found in many Armenian settlements. There have been listed more than 17 variants of this dance, but none of those who performed the dance, could explain its meaning. The word “Tamzara” is used in H.S. Eprikyan’s “Native Illustrated Dictionary” as a name of Armenian settlement. Besides “Tamzara”, this settlement was also called Tamarza, Tumarza. According to some investigators, the name comes of the name of Tovma Artsruni who allegedly founded the settlement. Quite possible that the name of the song-dance is to some extent connected with the name of the settlement, as stated by Acharyan in “Regional Dictionary”.
According to Komitas, “Tamzara” is a wedding song-dance, where the main role belongs to the head of dance and his assistant. The bride had to stand beside the godfather.
Nowadays “Tamzara” has nearly lost its ceremonial meaning and is performed in nearly all community occasions and feasts.
Tamzara belongs to the class of dances which are described by two steps forward and two sideward (steps sideward, meant steps left. The word “left” used to be forbidden, that’s why it was replaced by the word “sideward”). The only difference of Tamzara from the above-mentioned class of dances is that it is prolonged by two counts: a movement to the left and back. This dance has got eight counts and movements instead of six. All the listed types of dances which are described by two steps forward and two away, do not have similar movements. In some of its variants the movements to the left are replaced by body weight transfers: left, right, left. There are some variants of handholds: by the little fingers, by palms and sometimes by shoulders. The measure is 9/8=4/8+5/8, which creates a non-balanced rhythm of arm swings and foot movements.
The dancers stand side by side and form a circle. The main movement direction is to the right.
According to the track of foot the dance belongs to “duran” (direct) dances (characterized by a direct track of foot).
The step in “Tamzara” is defined by double stamps.
The steps are taken in the following sequence:
1.The right foot towards the right
2.The left foot takes a step to the right and joins the right foot
3.Again the right foot takes a step to the right
4.Double stamp with the left foot
5.The left foot takes a step to the left
6.Weight transfer on the right foot
7.Weight transfer on the left foot
8.Double stamp with the right foot
There are also some other variants of the dance that are more or less different from the above-mentioned one. In Karin variant the dance comes out of the “duran” (direct) track line, and stepping forward makes a double stamp with the right foot, and then stepping back to its track line, again makes a double stamp with the right foot.
There are also some variants, where there are no stamps, the free foot makes an aerial twitching movement and at the next step takes the body weight.