Background on Informant:
My informant is originally from Romania, specifically the Transylvania region that is intermixed with Romanian and Hungarian roots. They came to the United States at 24 and have been here since. They are very knowledgable with the cultural context of Romania and Hungary, having grown up in Szekely tradition (a subgroup of Hungarian people living in Romania). They have graciously shared with me parts of their folklore and heritage.
“In our tradition, dance is a huge part of our culture. Our version is called ‘néptánc’ or folk dance in translation.
Where I grew up the most popular form of this dance was the csárdás, which I think is the national dance of Hungary, but we still practiced it in the Szekelyfold.
It’s known as a courting dance and while it begins slowly by the end it is super fast paced and you need the power to be able to keep up.
My mother enrolled me in an after school dance program, but it was normal for all of us, our parents wanted us to have strong ties to our past. We also wore traditional folk clothing which includes for me included, a vest, white button up, black trousers, and of course the long black boots (sometimes hats).
Some kids would go on to join dance troops, but I was never that passionate about dancing. We would perform at carnivals, recitals, and during the holidays for the people in the village.
I remember some the steps but most of I’ve forgotten, but it is still a tradition practiced today”.
After learning more information about Hungarian folk dancing from this interview I was fascinated by how much it remains an integral part of Hungarian culture. Even from my own experience, parents continue to enroll their kids in dance clubs that teach children these dances, as they continue the traditions of their childhoods. It is fascinating how the dance has remained the same over all these decades and centuries and how it is viewed as a performing art.
I like how dance allows children to grow up with the culture of their parents and grandparents and so forth and serves as a connection to the past and their national culture. In order to preserve this branch of Hungarian culture, these values and ideals have continued to be passed along generations, and will continue to be so as Hungary takes great pride in establishing their connection to heritage.
For visual reference:
For more information check out:
Kurti, Laszlo. “The Ungaresca and Heyduck Music and Dance Tradition of Renaissance Europe.” The Sixteenth Century Journal, vol. 14, no. 1, 1983, pp. 63–104. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/2540167.