Virtual Hungarian Theatre in the Diaspora

Terrific news!

The Foundation for Hungarian Theatres has initiated a new program that records and preserves the best of Hungarian Theatre. Encouraging access to these recordings, the project allows these productions to reach remote sites and locations where the public has been so far deprived of the magic of theatre.

theatre maskThe project has been put on track in 2017, and the selection is made by an Advisory Board formed by theatre managers and theatre professionals of note. The recordings are made in HD quality, and in accordance with the laws for intellectual property and copyright, and are conducted by theatre directors of the calibre of István Márton and Tamás Zilahy.

The Hungarian Embassy in Washington, D.C., has purchased the distribution rights of several recordings and is putting them at the disposal of the Hungarian communities across North-America. At the moment, five shows are becoming available to the Hungarian community centres, with English subtitles and in high resolution. We hope that the management teams of the Hungarian community centres will get in touch with the Hungarian Embassies and Counsulates, will organize the showing of the plays, and the community members will join for the virtual tour of one of Budapest’s leading theatres, enjoying a sample of their work!

We owe a great deal of gratitude to the Foundation, its creators, and we thank the Washington and Ottawa embassies for initiating this program that nourishes the souls and rejuvenates our shared treasure, our native language. This endeavour cannot occur often enough since most of us – taking summer holidays in “the old country” – encounter significantly reduced levels of theatre activity during our visits. These virtual theatre soirées answer a real need and will be a perfect complement to the efforts of most community centres to host as many theatre productions on their stages as possible.

“If one steps into a capital (city) and would like that nation to reveal itself to his eyes, all he has to do is step into one of its theatres. Actors are guardians of the mothertongue, and the nation lives through its language. Should the nation foster a widely cared for network of playhouses, Transylvania would not be neglected by its performing geniuses.”

Historian László Kőváry, About Szeklerland (1842)

We second this implicit motion here, on the distant shores of the Big Waters, as well. Thanks again!

Greetings from Budapest

The Petőfi Sándor and the Kőrösi Csoma Sándor Program of the year 2016-2017 is coming to an end. The students of the programs are returning home and new students will replace them in their role to support the Hungarian community living in diaspora around the world. Members of these two programs send their greeting with this shot flash-mob video…

Bokréta Winter Workshop

Between the 17-19th of February, the focus of North America’s Hungarian folkdance world was relocated to Île-Perrot, not far from Montréal. Over 100 dancers gathered here from all over North America to dance together, learn the dances of Szászcsávás and last but not least, to carouse.

Borkéta tábor

The Bokréta Ensemble celebrates this year its 50th anniversary. The members of the ensemble – besides Hungarian dancers – are mostly French Quebecers, so the fact that they sing perfectly in Hungarian is even more creditable. The group works on such a high level that by regular practices, performances, visits to Hungary and Transylvania they can participate in regional festivals overseas and learn new techniques locally, also.

The workshops were lead by two teachers from Hungary: Hortenzia Lőrincz and István Hahn-Kakas, besides them a populous group of artists has arrived from Szászcsávás: three members of the Gipsy band from the village of Csávás that was joined by Levente Fazakas, and Montréal folk musicians Levente Garda, Attila Krasznai and Sergiu Popa.

Most of participants arrived in the afternoon of 17th, and occupied their accomodation. The táncház (dance house) of the evening lasted until dawn.

The next day, daytime workshops were held, where participants could learn the Hungarian dances of Szászcsávás. But the peak of the weekend was just about to come now, namely the Csávás Ball. As a warm-up, the táncház for children has opened its doors at 7 PM, then the guests of the Ball arrived as well.

Csávás Ball was opened by the concert of the virtuousely playing musicians. They performed a spellbinding set of Hungarian, Rumanian and Gipsy songs to show the unbelievable cultural variegation of Küküllőmente region of Transylvania.

The music performance was followed by the breathtaking show of Bokréta Ensemble, they presented a flamboyant choreography from Kalocsa. The audience’s reply was an uneasing applause, and shortly almost everybody has hit the dancefloor in the táncház. It started with the common teaching of the basics of Hungarian dances from Szászcsávás, then we danced ’lead dances’ to which ones even absolute beginners could join. Being Carnaval (farsang) time, venturesome dancers were wearing different costumes, that the jury considered at the fancy dress competition. Teaching was followed by free dance and revelry until early morning.

The Csávás Ball was run with an absolute full house, almost 200 guests, in an amazing atmosphere. Hungary’s ambassador to Canada, Dr. Bálint Ódor and Dorottya Deák-Stifner cultural attaché marked the event by honouring us with their presence.

Last day of the camp was fulfilled with workshops, and at the evening a closing táncház awaited the unwearying participants. During these 3 enriching days we all have learned a lot, and the teachers from Hungary stayed after for a whole week to teach a brand new choreography to the legendary Bokréta Ensemble.

Photos about the event are posted here.
Dorka Kornélia Takácsy, KCSP, Montréal