Dance of Osman Taka
The Dance of Osman Taka (Albanian: Vallja Came e Osman Takës), is a popular traditional dance of Cham Albanians, which has become widely known in Albania. The Dance is linked with Osman Taka, a Cham Albanian leader, who fought against Ottoman forces. This dance is an old Cham Albanian dance, but under this name its known only since the 19th century.
Osman Taka was one of the main contributors to the National Renaissance of Albania and a well-known dancer of his time. After him is named the Dance of Osman Taka. His early ages are not clear. He was born in Filiates in one of the most powerful and wealthy families of the town. In 1848, he started an armed revolt against the Ottoman Empire and became a protagonist in Albanian resistance against Ottoman forces. When the League of Prizren was formed he was named as the head of the local branch in Preveza. At the same time he was a well-known traditional dancer. After the Ottoman forces managed to seize the Preveza League, they arrested in 1886, Osman Taka and accused him for treason.[original research?]
Osman Taka was jailed in Yanina and was sentenced to death. When he was asked to give his final wish, he wanted to dance. The folk tradition says that his dance was so beautiful that the local gendarmes of the Ottoman army, did not executed him. After some days he was caught again and was killed in Konispol.
The dance follows a strict tempo with emphasis in the "attitude, style and grace" of the dancer. It is a 2/4 meter with steps "slow-quick-quick".[dubious ] The dance is a row dance, with a lead dancer performing skillfully executed steps. He then drops to his knees, arches his back and extends his chest upward, forming a bridge. The other dancers then step forward onto the lead dancer's stomach and dance on top of his stomach. The dancers hold each other from the hands, bend 90 degrees upwards at the elbows. It takes a sturdy hand, especially if you are supporting the first or last person of the line. This symbolizes the strength and centrality of the lead dancer as he forms a bridge with his body for the other men to cross over.
In Albania and Greece
The dance it is known in both Albania and Greece, as a part of the Epirote music in Greece and Cham music in Albania. In both countries the dance is primarily known as the Dance of Osman Taka, or Samantaka in Greece. This dance is supposed to have been the dance of the Souliotes. But, it is also known as 'Arvanitiko', 'Tsamiko', 'Himariotiko' and 'Klephtico' in Greece.