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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. 96.).


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.



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