Although hundreds of years old, these dances are currently done
by people of all ages in Hungarian tanchazak (dance houses) and have
wonderful music and songs. People often sing while dancing, or while
sitting on the sidelines.
Traditional Hungarian dancing enjoyed a revival
in the 70s and 80s because of the Hungarians nationalistic desire
to aggravate their Russian “guests” through cultural expression.
These dances are mostly couple dances, although
there are men’s
solo dances, women’s
circle dances, and foursome (two couples) dances. There is no choreography – the
man leads and the woman follows just like in ballroom dancing (the man
can do anything he wants and the woman can do anything HE wants). If
there are extra women is it not uncommon for two women to dance together.
Todd Wagner has been teaching Hungarian folkdances
for over 20 years and has been to Hungary more than 30 times. He
and his wife Sarah Tull
teach “Folkdances of Hungary and Transylvania” in Menlo Park.