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By Ron Houston

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Ron Houston


Information: A dance.

Translation: Heel

Pronunciation: KOHTSCH

Region: Trapezounda, Pontic Greeks


I do, in fact, know something . . . yes Kots is the ankle . . . in fact as the dance reaches the intense part of it...the yell amongst the dancers is" so kots, so kots" which litterally means " to the ankle , to the ankle." It is an amazing dance when done properly . . . war like . . . and very intense. I enjoy dancing it with my aunt who is a very powerful female with farmer-like muscle . . . Come to think of it the last time I danced it was at the Greek/Yugoslav border town of Evzoni, at my cousins wedding, three years ago . . . great time . . . name deleted . . . (thanks for reminding me).

'Kots' does mean heel (I haven't heard heel bone before), rather than ankle. Exactly where this comes in in Kotsari I'm not really able to say for certain. The 'ari' bit seems to have some sense of energy/definiteness/agility, etc. I'm still working on some Pontians about this. I do try to encourage people learning the dance to keep very flat-footed to achieve the style; and to get a heavy pressure on one of the steps of the left foot – the first or fourth step depending where you start.

Strangely I've never taught Kotsari with another dance called Kots, or I would have come across the name problem before.

Kots is a totally different dance. Here you can see the reason for the name as there is a sequence of alternating heel touches. It is not a war dance (as Kotsari is) and is often only danced by women. (Different villages will say that they do it as a mixed dance.) It has arm swings – which is impossible with Kotsari where the arms are on the shoulders. Neither have the tremble of the shoulders as done in Seranitsa, etc. There are variations done in Kotsari but the arms don't come off the shoulders.

(There is also a Kotsari Triplo – it has more steps and some groups have it going to the left instead of the right.)

I saw a mention of Kurds in one of the emails. I have not seen the Kurds in Melbourne do Kotsari. I have had them join in and dance Tik and Seranitsa. Some of their musicians play the music at concerts and picnics. Presumably, the people who dance them are from the Black Sea and Kars regions as not everyone joins in.

Ron Houston


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