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The State Ballet Institute, opened in September 1950, renamed to Hungarian Dance Academy on 1st July 1991 has been called the Hungarian Dance University since 1st February 2017
The institution was reorganised as part of higher education in 1983 and has operated a primary school (later a secondary school for eight grades) right from its establishment
As the school had a dormitory too, we could introduce a unique model in Hungarian arts higher education
Qualifications to be obtained were constantly rising to a higher level: from 1950, the institution functioned as a school of an intermediate level, from 1975 as one similar to those in higher education, from 1983 with a narrower profile in higher education, from 2006 as an academy of higher education with BA and MA programmes and finally, from 2017 as a university running BA and MA programmes.
The roots of higher education in arts in Hungary can be traced back to the second half of the 19th century
Independent institutions for training actors, musicians, and artists in fine and applied arts were firmly established by the turn of the century
Their successors are the University of lTheatre and Film Arts, the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, the Hungarian University of Fine Arts and the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design
With regard to dance, this process of development started only with a long delay, after the 2nd world war
There was no systematic professional dancer education in Hungary until the middle of the 20th century
To educate dancers for the Corps de Ballet, the Hungarian Royal Opera House maintained a ballet school from as early as 1884, but it had no fixed curriculum
It was ballet master Ferenc Nádasi who, in 1937, introduced a training programme built up for different grades with a system of requirements
In January 1950, the government supplemented the ballet school of the Opera House with the School of Dance Art
Out of these two was the State Ballet Institute established in September 1950.
Transformation of the training structure
For the nine-year-long professional ballet dancer programme students, a primary and secondary school was launched, accompanied by a dormitory
It became a secondary grammar school in 1954, (still functioning as such, named after Ferenc Nádasi)
The so-called ‘artist educating section’ with a two-year programme was started in the academic year of 1963/64
This provided an advanced theoretical backing for students who had already finished secondary school
This model laid the foundation for the concept of becoming a higher education institution
September 1971 saw the initiation of the specialisation in folk dances in secondary education
From 1956 until 1963, a project for training ballet teachers for three years was running, re-started in September 1974 as a dance educator specialisation in a three-year evening course.
Keeping the original name of State Ballet Institute, the school became part of higher education as of 1st September 1983
Its dancer and dance teacher specialisations were re-organised, complemented by programmes for choreographers and experts in dance theory
Re-organization primarily affected the nine-year ballet specialisation due to the problem of parallel ages.
The results are unequalled up to our times
In the professional ballet dancer specialisation, the first two years of academic training overlap with the last two grades of secondary education, enabling students to obtain a degree within one year after leaving secondary school
The same method was applied for the folk dance – theatrical dance specialisations, raised to the academic level in 1998: out of the six years of training, the last four counted as higher education
Following the intention to mark this higher education status and concerning the broad spectrum of training programmes, the name of State Ballet Institute was replaced by Hungarian Dance Academy on 1st July 1990.
As a result of a nationwide boom in arts education at the primary level, teacher-training programmes were started annually from 1996
Besides ballet, folk dances and ballroom dances, specialisations in children’s dance, modern dance, modern ballroom dance and commercial dance were added to the palette
In cooperation with off-site venues, several institutions or towns joined in as partners, including the Budapest Primary School Teacher Training College, the Hungarian University of Sport Science and the towns of Győr, Kecskemét, Nyíregyháza, Pécs, Sárospatak, Szombathely
All artist and dance teacher specialisations introduced the course credits.
The so-called Bologna process targeted the adaptation to the structure of higher education in Europe (BA, MA and PhD programmes) and has reached the Hungarian Dance Academy as well
In the professional dancer education , the ballet and folk dance – theatrical dance artist specialisations were replaced by a 180 credited dancer BA
The classical ballet begins at the age of 10, folk dance, modern dance and theatrical dance at 14
(The first modern dance specialisation BA started in 2007, theatrical dance in 2018).
Besides restructuring these original specialisations into BA programmes, 120 credited, four-term dance artist MAs were also introduced: for classical ballet and folk dance artists
This way, new opportunities emerged for professionals to obtain qualifications matching university degrees
The earlier choreographer specialisation was turned into a three-year BA in choreography.
However, introducing the Bologna system into teacher training has brought about much more significant changes in our institution, as an independent teacher training MA meant entirely new conditions
The earlier teacher training programme was split into a dancer and coach BA and a separate MA, resulting in a five-year course instead of the previous four-year one
At present, the 180 credited, three-year-long, full time or evening course dancer and coach training is available in the following specialisations: classical ballet, folk dance, modern dance, theatrical dance, modern ballroom dance and commercial dance
There is also a 60 credited (two-term) dance teacher specialisation based on the 120 credited (four-term) BA or the degrees obtained in the previous Dance Academy structure
Specialising options are classical ballet, folk dance, modern dance, modern ballroom dance, dance history and dance theory.
In 2016 at the government’s initiative, presented to the Parliament, a proposal was made to transform the Hungarian Dance Academy into a university
This change was justifiable, all the more so since MA programmes matching the former university standards had already been running for roughly ten years
Parliament has finally decided that as of 1st February 2017, the Hungarian Dance Academy will continue as the Hungarian Dance University.
The location of the institution
The headquarters of the institution and Ferenc Nádasi Secondary Grammar School had been the Drechsler Palace (in the 6th district of Budapest at Andrássy Road, No
25.) for long decades
After periods of dispersed venues, new ballet rooms were built in the 7th district in Kazinczy Street, adding three more new ballet rooms to the original five there in 1987
The project of establishing our present campus started in 2001
Then, the secondary school and the administrative units moved into Columbus Street No
87-89 in the 14th district
The brand new 12 ballet rooms gave home to the Institute of Professional Dance Education the following year
With this, the venue in Andrássy Road ceased
In the autumn of 2004, the dormitory (until 1990 at Gellért rakpart and then in Pillangó Street) also moved to the campus
The university got hold of the summer villa on its premises the same year
Reconstruction work for the library and health centre was finished in 201 1 there
In the same year, the reconstruction and extension of the theatre building also came to an end
As the last step, the rest of the educational sections from Kazinczy Street moved to the Institute of Choreography and Dance Teacher Training, which was rebuilt for them on the campus in 2018 (Amerikai Street, No
National and international connections
The Hungarian Dance University has diverse connections within and outside of Hungary.
There is practical cooperation with the theatres and professional companies of the capital, the dance departments of various theatres, and several modern and contemporary groups from all over
Secondary schools of dance education partner with us from many towns all over the country
The University is a member of the Seat of Rectors of Art Universities (MERSZ) and the Association of Hungarian Dance Artists
Our university has accepted foreign students for many decades
We keep in touch with several institutions of dance education worldwide; the most intense ties are with the academies in Vienna, Dresden, Moscow, Oulu, Beijing, Rotterdam, Saint Petersburg and Zagreb.
Our ballet masters teach ballet methodology regularly at universities abroad (Zagreb, Maribor), and many guest lecturers and masters visit us from other countries
Our students are warmly welcome and perform with convincing results at major international ballet competitions and festivals (Vienna, Lausanne, Lecce, Beijing, Saint Petersburg, Varna).
Each year we have large numbers of foreign students, primarily in the classical ballet specialisation but also in the Institute of Choreography and Dance Teacher Training
Their education can take various forms meeting their needs and qualities, ranging from a certificate of attendance to degrees of BA or MA.
The annual summer course organised since 1986 meets the requirements and is most popular with international students, but many of our own students also take part in it
Thinking about the future, a unique programme of day-nursery dance weeks for the lower classes of primary schools was compiled in 2016.
The leaders of the institution throughout times
State Ballet Institute (1950
Hungarian Dance Academy (1990
Hungarian Dance University (since 2017
Lőrinc, György director 1950
Hidas, Hedvig director 1961
Kun, Zsuzsa director 1972
Dózsa, Imre director 1979
Palovecz, János director-July 1
Gál, Jenő director-general 1992
Dózsa, Imre director-general 1998
Nagy, Zoltán Jnr
Bolvári-Takács, Gábor vice-rector with the rector’s authority 2008
Jakab-Zórándi, Mária May 15
Szakály, György vice-rector with the rector’s authority 2010
Bolvári-Takács, Gábor rector 2018
Biographies of leaders
Fodorné Molnár Márta (1959 Budapest -) DLA, dance artist, ballet master, awarded with Harangozó Price
Graduated from the State Ballet Institute in Zsuzsa Merényi’s class
Soloist of the Ballet Company of the Hungarian State Opera House between 1979-2005
Meanwhile (from 1997) ballet master at the Hungarian Dance Academy
Director of the Institute of Choreography and Dance Teacher Training between 2011-2021
Rector as of 2022.
Bolvári-Takács, Gábor (Sárospatak, 1967
March 15.) Dr
habil., PhD, historian, jurist, cultural manager
From 1993 expert-executive of the Hungarian Dance Academy, from 1998 senior research fellow, from 2007 academy-professor, from 2015 professor
Between 1993–98 secretary-general, between 2007–09 and 2017–18 vice-rector, in 2008–09 with the rector’s authority
Since 2018 rector, assigned until 2023
Parallelly: in 2000–08, managing director of Matáv (later Magyar Telekom) Symphonic Orchestra, between 2012–17, managing director of Honvéd Ensemble.
Dózsa, Imre (Budapest, 1941
November 9.) Dance artist, ballet master, Kossuth-Awarded Eminent Artist
Graduated from the State Ballet Institute in György Lőrinc’s class
From 1959 member of the Opera House, soloist, eternal member and master artist
Between 1983-and 84, director of ballet
From 1979 ballet master of the State Opera House and at the same time academy-professor, later head of a department at the Hungarian Dance Academy.
From 2007 onwards: professor, professor emeritus at present
Director 1979–83, director-general 1983–91 and 1998–2006, rector in 2006
Honoured with the title of rector emeritus in 2018
Gál, Jenő (Budapest, 1938
– Budapest, 2015
June 1.) Dance artist, ballet master, Harangozó-Awarded
Graduated from the State Opera House in Ferenc Nádasi’s class
Member of the Ballet Company of the Opera 1957–85
From 1966, ballet master of the State Opera House and at the same time of the Hungarian Dance Academy, later head of a department
Academy-professor from 1983, later professor emeritus
Director-general 1992–98, deputy director-general 2002–05.
Hidas, Hedvig (Budapest, 1915
– Budapest, 2011
Dance artist, ballet master, choreographer, Merited Artist
Studied at the Ballet School of the Opera House
Member of the Ballet Company of the Opera House 1932–39, honorary soloist
Ballet master of the Dance Art School in 1950, at the State Ballet Institute 1950–80, academy-professor from 1969, director 1961–72
Head of the Corps de Ballet at the Operetta Theatre, Budapest 1959-73
Jakab-Zórándi, Mária (Budapest, 1956
– Budapest, 2010
November 7.) DLA, folk dance artist, dance teacher, ballet master, Harangozó-Awarded
Graduated from the class of Katalin Györgyfalvay and Sándor Timár
Member of the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble 1975–82, soloist of the Budapest Dance Ensemble 1982–84
Teacher of the State Ballet Institute and the Hungarian Dance Academy from 1975, later head of department
From 2000 academy-professor, from 2008 professor and rector 2009–10 until her death.
Kun, Zsuzsa (Budapest, 1934
– Budapest, 2018
Dance artist, ballet master, Kossuth-Awarded Eminent Artist
Studied at the ballet school of the Opera House as a disciple of Ferenc Nádasi
From 1943 student, from 1949 member of the Ballet Company of the Opera House
Soloist from 1952, eternal member and master artist
Academy-professor from 1972 at the State Ballet Institute and the Hungarian Dance Academy, ballet master and professor emerita, director 1972–79
She was honoured with the title of rector emeritus in 2018.
Lőrinc, György (Nagyvárad/Oradea, 1917
– Budapest, 1996
July 21.) dance artist, ballet master, choreographer
Founding director of the Dance Art School in 1950 and in the State Ballet Institute 1950–61
Ballet master there 1950–82, academy-professor since 1975
Director of the Ballet Company of the Opera House 1961–77.
Nagy, Zoltán, Jnr
– Budapest, 2008
March 23.) Dance artist, ballet master, Kossuth-Awarded Eminent Artist
Graduated from the State Ballet Institute in the class of Katalin Sebestény
Soloist of the Ballet Company of the Opera House from 1985
Ballet master of the Hungarian Dance Academy from 2005 and academy-professor from 2006 until his death in 2008.
Palovecz, János (Nagykáta, 1939
August 20.) Teacher, higher education expert, chief librarian of the National Pedagogical Library and Museum, editor
Head of a research group, scientific secretary, deputy director at the Centre of Pedagogical Research in Higher Education (later the Institute of Education Research)
Department head at the Ministry of Culture 1981–88
Teacher of the State Ballet Institute and the Hungarian Dance Academy 1988–96, director of institute, deputy director-general 1988–91, director-general 1991–92
At the same time, associate professor at the Academy of Theatre and Film Arts from 1988 to 96.
Szakály, György (Nyíregyháza, 1955
December 15.) Dance artist, ballet master, Kossuth-Awarded Eminent Artist
Graduated from the State Ballet Institute in the class of Jenő Gál
Member and soloist of the Opera House since 1977, ballet director 1992–95, eternal member and master artist
Ballet master at the same time at the Hungarian Dance Academy 1993–95 and from 2003, later head of institute there, professor since 2008
Vice-rector (artistic director) 2008–11 and 2018-21; exerciser of rector’s authorities in 2010–11, rector 2011–18.