The town of Nemea in North Peloponnese organized an event for Voluntary Blood Donation. The event was a success, the organizers were happy and the blood donors pleased to have done a good deed.
Nurses, doctors, syringes and cotton pads were soon replaced with music instruments, while local singer, Filio Pyrgaki sang pro bono for the sake of the charity event.
Hardly were the first music tunes heard, and the dancers took the floor. Among them a local priest who amazed the crowd with his high performance of Tsamiko, a traditional Greek folk dance.
Important for the Tsamiko are the first and the second dancer. The first dancer who also leads has to execute several “acrobatic” leaps. The second dancer needs a strong and steady hand to support the first as he jumps and kneels and touches his shoe and jumps up again.
Otherwise, they both land on the ground.
Tsamiko or Kleftiko is a traditional folk dance, normally danced by men only.
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 are relatively easy but have to be precise and strictly on beat. 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.
Tsamiko is a popular dance in festivals and weddings, especially in the rural areas of Central Greece, Peloponnese, Thessaly as well as Epirus,
In the past, it was danced exclusively by men, but in modern times both men and women take part.
However, I have never seen a woman as the first dancer of a tsamiko.