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Hajdú Folk Dance Ensemble:Keeping the Spirited Tradition of Hungary (In Hungarian)    
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Today’s A Journey through Aesthetic Realms will be presented in Hungarian, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mongolian, Persian,Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai.

Greetings happy viewers, welcome to A Journey through Aesthetic Realms on Supreme Master Television. Situated in Central Europe, the Republic of Hungary has been a major world cultural center for centuries. The creativity of Hungary is reflected by the renowned composers it has produced over the years such as Franz Liszt, Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály.

The highly spirited Hungarian traditional dances are deeply rooted in the nation’s rich folk music history and are yet further examples of the vibrancy of Hungary’s arts heritage. The widely celebrated Hajdú Folk Dance Ensemble, which has been performing around the globe since 1953, is based in the beautiful Hungarian city of Debrecen.

Since its founding the Ensemble has garnered 25 awards on national and international levels including the prestigious Hungarian state Csokonai Vitéz Mihály Community Award, and the European Folk Art Prize. Recently the Ensemble’s director Zsuzsa Tiszai and program organizer Bálint Rózsavölgyi kindly took time from their busy schedules to speak with our Supreme Master Television correspondent about their wonderful dance group. Let us now hear from these two talented individuals.

I have been dancing since I was about eight years old up to this day, but now I spend less time on the stage. There are a lot of young people, and I let them dance instead. In 1994, when we took over the Ensemble, this young man beside me was really young at that time, and he belonged to the first generation who then danced in the Ensemble’s adult group, and how wonderful it is that 16 years have passed, and he is still here and dancing. And using his professional knowledge, he is helping us organize programs.

I have been helping with organizing since 2002, 2003. For four years, I was also leading one of the junior groups, so I was involved in the professional work as well, and since then my main task is organizing performances as well as conducting foreign trips.

Since its establishment, thousands of dancers have been trained by the Hajdú Folk Dance Ensemble. Members wholeheartedly practice together 10 or more hours per week and typically meet after work or school.

The Ensemble was founded in 1953, so we have passed over half a century, and I think we are one of the few ensembles – and I think we can be proud of this – that didn’t have any break, we didn’t have a deep nadir but we were developing continuously with a steadily growing membership, a continuously growing repertoire and fields of operation.

So, there have been a lot of people, a lot of generations here all this time. And maybe the secret to us still being here and working beautifully is that these generations passed on to each other both their knowledge and also the traditions which have developed within the community. So we have traditions within the Ensemble that have been the same for the past 50 years and this gives enormous power for a community.

Ms. Tiszai now kindly introduces how the Ensemble is organized.

We have two kindergarten groups, we accept children from the age of three. We have a senior group of those who used to be active dancers before, and they reunited as a group. So they meet every week, they have regular rehearsals, and they even perform on stage. So they are the so-called older age group, and what is also very good in my opinion is that we have a HAJKEFE group, and let me translate that quickly. It’s the abbreviation of Hajdú Adult Beginner Group, and this is a group where practically anyone can join.

If I count everyone, there is around 400 of us. We have two kindergarten groups; we have junior, adult, senior and the HAJKEFE group.

Our group leaders come from our Ensemble also. So we don’t bring professionals from colleges and different places, but basically, right now we have over 10 group leaders working for the entire Ensemble, which is needed too for the 400 people. And without exception, all of them grew into this tradition and they grew up in the Hajdú Folk Dance Ensemble and they can pass this on.

We hold an audition each year for the children. Usually we visit elementary schools so that whoever would like to try can apply. Usually there is an audition period towards the end of August or the beginning of September, and also basically the children of those who used to dance, or the classmates in schools who hear and see how important and serious this hobby is that their classmate is doing, and they also feel like trying.

Each year the Ensemble stages some 100 performances, most of which are done free of charge. On one hand, of course there are programs which we organize ourselves, our own theater shows. Besides this, there are festivals, which are either by invitation or we apply to participate but these are very important within the profession of course, both the national and international ones also.

We often do a “dance house” or shows for disabled children and adults. Also, there are certain festivities where we have to, and we want to, participate purely because of our Hungarian nationalism, for example a March 15 celebration.

After this brief message, we’ll be back with more about the Hajdú Folk Dance Ensemble from Debrecen, Hungary. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

Welcome back to A Journey through Aesthetic Realms on Supreme Master Television featuring the Hajdú Folk Dance Ensemble from Hungary. Hungarian folk dances are festive group celebrations characterized by colorful traditional costumes, cheerful music, and energetic and joyous movements by the dancers. The Ensemble repertoire is derived from the work of the initial founders of the group and the knowledge imparted by elders living in a region that once was part of Hungary.

Since 1953, the first generations of the Ensemble usually had to learn, had to create these basics which could be built on further afterwards. But thank God, when Zsuzsi took over, on one hand they sourced from this tradition, on the other hand we visited numerous, numerous so-called informants, which in our terminology means that we went to villages in Transylvania (Romania) where those elderly people are still alive who learned the dances of their village from their own grandparents.

Actually they cannot dance anything else but only those dances that are typical of their region, that specific village. And in the early 1990s there were still plenty of villages where you could find such elderly people that you could talk to. They sung for us, we could record the way they were dancing, the way they dressed up on a Sunday to go to church.

Unfortunately dancing has frayed a lot since then. Even in villages, traditions are vanishing more and more, and dancing also, as it is not an easy art, and the music bands are also vanishing constantly, so there are less and less good dancers out there, but we still try to seek them out. And basically up to this day we still go… for example we take all of our children in the groups somewhere in Transylvania, for them to experience it.

So the culture that we convey to them during rehearsals, they must experience it in its origins, that community, that village, those people, those traditions. And I think that this will definitely be incorporated in their dance and they will excel more on stage even because of this. Through these groups going back to these villages, the youngsters there feel more inclined to learn the dances of their grandfathers. There is really an interaction, and I think this is important too.

To share this precious folk art with those abroad, the dance group conducts an international trip every year. Usually we organize a foreign trip for the Ensemble every year. The Hajdú Folk Dance Ensemble has been to almost every country in Europe already. And outside of Europe we have been to Egypt, Âu Lạc (Vietnam), South Korea, Japan, the United States of America, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Tunisia, and this year the Ensemble is preparing to go to Algeria.

The success of the Ensemble is rooted in its constructive philosophy and the members’ love for dance itself. We asked Bálint Rózsavölgyi about the message of Hungarian folk dance.

I think the message of the dance is unchanged, so its message is the same as it used to be, as it developed back in the old times in the villages. I think it means that this is belonging to a community. This is what it teaches, it gives you something extra that neither family, nor school can give. I think basically this is the message of dance. That we can do and create something together, and that we can create something in a process in which everyone feels good and feels that they are a constructive part of it, especially through an informal learning process that gives everyone an overall picture of their own history and traditions.

The secret is in what Bálint just explained, the community. And traditions for us not only exist in a way that we preserve our own traditions and the deepest traditions of Hungarian dance culture, but it is also reflected in the generations passing down their own traditions, from one to the other. And this is very, very good as we have had such customs established which we still uphold even today, so the community is not only within the rehearsals, that we learn a dance and then it’s over, but we also get together, we celebrate New Year and Easter together.

Mr. Rózsavölgyi has this parting thought for our viewers.

I think perhaps the most important is to learn to belong to a community, and this community shouldn’t be your school or university or family. Not because these are not important, but because you will not get that extra from these that might be missing. You may not know, may not feel that this is what you might be looking for, but most likely, or certainly, you will only be enhanced by this, your own personality, if you learn to be comfortable and have fun in such a community.

Our sincere thanks director Zsuzsa Tiszai and program organizer Bálint Rózsavölgyi for sharing with us the splendid story of the Hajdú Folk Dance Ensemble and its mission to preserve the beautiful Hungarian traditional dances. May the effervescent arts and culture of the gentle-hearted Hungarian people be known by others far and wide.

For more details on the Hajdú Folk Dance Ensemble, please visit

Caring viewers, thank you for your company today on A Journey through Aesthetic Realms. Up next is Vegetarianism: The Noble Way of Living, after Noteworthy News. May we forever live in joy and peace under the omnipresent blessing of our Creator.
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