Hungarian Dance

Not This Dance

Not This Dance

Well… no, it’s not the famous Brahms piece that we are going to talk about. Rather, I’d like to introduce you to some lovely traditional Hungarian clothing and forms of dance that were popular among the farmers a couple of hundred years ago.

Still to this day a number of Hungarian decides to join a local traditional dance group for fun.

When it comes to precise information I cannot overrule Wikipedia. The only thing I can say is that whatever I read and share with you here, seems valid and I have heard about it from friends and family already.

According to György Martin, a prominent folklore expert, Hungarian dances can be divided into two categories. The first refers to dances performed in the middle ages while the second relates to the 18th and 19th century.

Improvisation is often mentioned as being characteristic of Hungarian dance. “The peasant dance is not one which is set absolutely according to rule; the dancer constructs his steps according to his mood and ingenuity.”

Clothes

Clothing is a lot of fun, consisting of a 1000 under-skirt for girls and an insanely big shirt for guys.

Did you do any dancing? – you might ask me.

Well, dear reader, I did some in school as it was customary but it was already fading away when I was a kid. My father did a lot of dancing like this, but kids these days often don’t have any chance to practice (like in the pictures above).

One of the most popular moves is called the “csárdás” (also the name of a style). It is quite simple, stepping left, then right in a certain, fun way. “Csárda” in Hungarian means a type of restaurant that is tradition in every way, serving Hungarian food and decorated according to traditions.

Showtime

Of course I could write about all sorts of dances but most of the time, it’s the best to just show how it’s one. So here is a nice video:

It is important to notice that there is a certain shyness about man and women dancing together, always away from each other – as opposed to tango for instance or any other Latin-type dances.

Styles

Ugrós (Jumping dances): Old style dances dating back to the Middle Ages.

Karikázó: a circle dance performed by women only accompanied by singing of folksongs.

Csárdás: New style dances developed in the 18th and 19th centuries is the Hungarian name for the national dances, with Hungarian embroidered costumes and energetic music.

Verbunkos: a solo man’s dance evolved from the recruiting performances of the Austro-Hungarian army.

Legényes: is a men’s solo dance done by the ethnic Hungarian people living in the Kalotaszeg region of Transylvania. The dance is performed freestyle usually by one dancer at a time in front of the band. Women participate in the dance by standing in lines to the side and sing/shout verses while the men dance.

End

I believe this concludes our journey into the world of Hungarian dances. I’d like to conclude this post with some fun pictures about dancing.

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About the Author: Chris Kovacs

Technical Consultant, Traveller, Filmmaker & Photographer
Much like most people, I like to be all sorts of things.

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P.S.: some of articles are edited and co-written by a mysterious person called Tatjana. But I take all the credit.

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