Laura's Blog

Greek Fire 11. Tsamikos Kardhítsa, Papalambrena, and A Camel in Nunavut

Thursday, February 4, 2021 

In Greek Fire 10, 'The power of the women's Tsámikos', I talked about an important yet little-known ritual dance family in which older women, particularly, can publicly express authority and power: the women's Tsámikos. [1] Of the more than 30 different women's Tsámika I've learned over the years, one of my favourites is Tsámikos Kardhítsa, also known as Papalámbrena, the focus of today's blog. In the 27 years since I first learned it and began to pass it on, it has become a staple in the Sacred/Circle Dance network, where it has taken on a somewhat surprising life of its own.

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Greek Fire 10. The power of the women's Tsámikos

Thursday, January 28, 2021

At dozens of weddings I've attended in Greece over the years, my favourite part is when the older women lead the ritual dance. At some point during the proceedings, the mothers (and grandmothers!) of the bridal pair will invariably each take a turn as the first dancer at the head of the line. In the islands this is likely to be a Syrtós, in the Peloponnese a Kalamatianós, and on the mainland a Tsámikos.

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Greek Fire 8. Healing makams and the 'lost frequencies'

Thursday, January 14, 2020

Music is the main thing which brought me to Greece. 

I grew up with music: my mother was a pianist, and her hours of daily practice were the soundtrack to my childhood. Sometimes my parents would play duets, wonderful moments of peaceful cooperation and beautiful sounds. Their great love of music kindled in me a lifelong appreciation of the emotional power music can have on its listeners. 

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Greek Fire 9: Greek dance as sacred space

Thursday, January 21, 2021


Another thing I love about life in Greece is the way that traditional dance is so naturally integrated into the community. Dancing has a respected place in Greek Orthodox religion, in stark contrast to the church of Rome and its many bans on dancing throughout history. Every Orthodox church has a dance place in front of it, where the priest leads the ritual circle dance at Easter, weddings, and the annual panegyri, the name day festival for the church's patron saint.

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Greek Fire 7. Theophánia, rituals of protection and purification

Thursday, January 7, 2020

I am writing this on January 6th, Epiphany, known here as Theophánia or Ta Fóta, the Festival of Lights. It is the last day of the Twelve Days of Christmas, and one of the most important festivals in the Greek Orthodox Church. In normal times, people would gather at the seaside for the Blessing of the Waters, in honour of the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River and the revelation of his divinity. The priest would throw a cross into the sea (securely tied to a string) and youths would dive to retrieve it, competing to show their strength and skill, hoping to gain luck and honour.

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