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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

August 15

– 1990

June 30.)

Hungarian Dance Academy (1990

July 1

– 2017

January 31.)

Hungarian Dance University (since 2017

February 1.)

Lőrinc, György director 1950

August 15

– 1961

June 30.

Hidas, Hedvig director 1961

July 1

– 1972

June 30.

Kun, Zsuzsa director 1972

July 1

– 1979

June 30.

Dózsa, Imre director 1979

August 15

– 1983

August 31.

director-general 1983

June 30.

Palovecz, János director-July 1

– 1992

June 30.

Gál, Jenő director-general 1992

July 1

– 1998

June 30.

Dózsa, Imre director-general 1998

July 1

– 2006

February 28.

rector 2006

March 1

– 2006

June 30.

Nagy, Zoltán Jnr

Rector 2006

July 1

– 2008

March 23


Bolvári-Takács, Gábor vice-rector with the rector’s authority 2008

March 23

– 2009

May 15.

Jakab-Zórándi, Mária May 15

– 2010

November 7


Szakály, György vice-rector with the rector’s authority 2010

November 7

– 2011

June 30.

rector 2011

July 1

– 2018

August 15.

Bolvári-Takács, Gábor rector 2018

August 16

– 2023

August 15.


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

May 3

– 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

December 6

– Budapest, 2011

January 17.)

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

September 12

– 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

December 9

– Budapest, 2018

December 24.)

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

March 17

– 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, 1966

February 18

– 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.