In this video, my teacher, Alessandra Belloni, demonstrates a ritual rhythm used in devotion to San Rocco in Calabria. This is a 6/8 rhythm, which is a time signature associated with trance and spirit contact in traditional religions from around the world, including African diasporic traditions.
Above: A mosaic from Pompeii which appears to depict the tammurriata being played and danced in Antiquity.
“The arms are held in front of the body with the elbows outward, and the movements that they make are basically two, inspired by agricultural activities. The first is a downwards gesture of sowing. The second is an upwards gesture that resembles the movements made when collecting fruit from trees. The steps of the tammurriata follow the rhythm of the drums and are characterized by mirrored movement of the feet, side-to-side, back and forth, or toe-to-heel of the two dancers. All in all, the dancers move in circles.” – Arianna Sacco