The First Schools in Hungary Dr. Dienes Gedeon Art of Movement in Hungary 1912-1944
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1. The First Schools in Hungary In Hungary the new theatre dance, called art of movement (a translation of the German Bewegungskunst) or free dance (to distinguish it from ballet subject to strict technical rules) made its appearance in the tens of the 20th century in Hungarian bodies and brains. Nevertheless a few foreign representatives of what was to be called "modern dance" could be seen on the stages of Budapest and of some provincial towns as early as in the first decade of the century. These trends, however, did not strike root in Hungary right away but came to be "imported", represented and developed by three Hungarian school-creating personalities In 1912 Alice Madzsar opened a course called body culture (meaning a kind of physical education) for teaching the German Mensendieck-type female gymnastics, Dr. Valéria Dienes, also in 1912, brought home the idea of the Duncan-type free dance from Paris, and Olga Szentpál started to teach the Dalcroze-type rhythmic gymnastics in 1917 in Budapest. The common aim of these three schools was - generally speaking - to maintain the beauty of the healthy human body and to use it for imparting certain messages to theatre audiences. In other words, these trends were somewhat similar if not in purpose but for the means used (i.e. for reasonably handling the human body) - partly to gymnastics, partly to dance but were not identical with either of these. We shall now make a brief survey of the relevant activities of the above-mentioned three Hungarian persons
1.1. The Art-of-Movement Activities of Dr Valéria Dienes Valéria Geiger was born (at Szekszárd, 25 May 1879, dep. 8 June 1978) during the toll of the morning bell in the seventh month of her mother's pregnancy and was baptized on the spot by the midwife who was afraid the new-born babe would not stay alive (she lived to be 100). Her father, Gyula Geiger, was a journalist, her mother, Erzsébet Benczelits, a teacher. Valéria attended school in the Transdanubian towns of Szekszárd, Pápa and Győr where she obtained her diploma of primary-school teacher in 1897. She carried on her studies in the Secondary School of Bujovszky Street, Budapest, for her school-leaving certificate (matriculation). Between 1901 and 1905 she was a student of Péter Pázmány University, Budapest. Since the financial situation of the family deteriorated (her parents divorced etc.) Valéria had to earn her living all alone (as a crammer of children). In the meantime she also graduated in piano playing at Budapest Conservatory under Árpád Szendy At the university she studied Mathematics and Physics (as "teacher's subjects"), Philosophy and Aesthetics (as "university subjects"). Besides graduating in the former two disciplines, she earned her Ph.D. summa cum laude in Philosophy and Aesthetics under Prfessor Bernáth Alexander, resp. Zsolt Beothy. Her professor in Maths was Rados at the Technical University and Lóránd Eötvös in Physics. Owing to the unusual combination of the subjects studied she had to apply for special permission allowing her to go in for PhD in them. Her thesis was called Theories of Reality. At the ceremony of „conferring doctors' degrees upon the candidates (24 June 1905) Valéria Geiger was lined up next to Pál Dienes, also doctorandus, in alphabetic order. They exchanged wedding rings during the ceremony and got married in December of that year. Next year they went on a three-month honeymoon through Fiume (today Rieka) to Algers, then to Biskra where they were later joined by an old friend Ervin Szabó. During the university years a circle of friends of scientific and artistic interest had formed and lasted until the end of WW1. Among the members of this group we can find the poet Mihály Babits, an old friend of the family, the mathematician Lipót Fehér, the painter Aladár Körösfői-Kriesch (who thought Valéria had a "very interesting profile"), the painter Mária Undi from the artists' colony of Gödöllő, the physician József Madzsar, the social politician Ervin Szabó, the jurist-philosopher Ágost Pulszky, the radical politician Oszkár Jászi and his daughter Alice and others. They published their progressive political and philosophical ideas and cultural expectations in such periodicals as Huszadik Század, Nyugat, etc. Between 1908 and 1912 Valéria Dienes obtained a three-year fellowship to Paris, to carry on her studies at College de France under the French philosopher Henri Bergson. Besides attending the courses at the university, she unexpectedly experienced serious artistic impressions when seeing WEB: HTTP://WWW.ORKESZTIKA.HU, HTTP://WWW.MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU, E-MAIL: ALAPITVANY@MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU,
Isadora Duncan's dance in the Chatelet (on three occasions) who made a very deep impression on the young person. Subsequently Valéria discovered the Greek gymnastic courses of Raymond Duncan, Isadora's brother, and joined them in order to get acquainted with the Duncan-type dance. At Duncan's headquarters, the Théâtre de Pas de Loup, Raymond taught Greek gymnastics, his wife, Penelopé taught Greek songs by reading neumas. In the colony there was also a cobbler's workshop where everybody could make her own sandals, tailor and sew her own khytons which were meant to be used in the classes. You only had to pay for the raw material used and were taught the proceedings by the members of the colony When in 1912 Valéria Dienes returned to Budapest she showed and explained the movements of the Duncan-type natural dancing in a circle of her friends and, owing to lively interest, she started a private course. Nevertheless, being known as a philosopher, she did not want to engage in teaching dance and taught the exercises of Greek gymnastics to a friend of hers, Vera Bertalan, almost from class to class and in 1914 sent her to Paris to acquire further skills in the Duncan colony. The theory and practice of early Orchestics (a Greek term used by Valéria for her emerging system) started to develop during these courses in Budapest which could no longer remain clandestine. Soon Valéria Dienes decided to write an article about Duncan's Greek gymnastics and published the article in the Hungarian monthly Magyar Iparművészet (nos 7-8/1915) under the title of Art and Body Training. This was the first publication on "modern dance" in Hungary. Beside her activities and publications in philosophy and psychology (Bergson, Berkeley, Giddins, Binet etc. in Hungarian) Valéria Dienes became interested in the movement problems of the human body which she started to analyse with her mathematically and philosophically polished brain. The courses developed into a school where the evolving laws of movement could be checked in practice. Scientific interest soon turned into teaching practice and generated artistic compositions of orchestics. These were presented by pupils of her school (including Mária Mirkovszky) at the Budapest Theatre Urania on 1 April 1917. The performance began with exercises selected from the plastic and rhythmic chapters of the Orchestic system followed by ornamentical (formal), lyrical (emotional), mimical (expressive) and later by dramatic dances (i.e. with plots). In addition poetry (by Babits, Tagore etc.) was also interpreted in dance then called pantomime. In Hungary these were the first attempts of the representatives of what was called "free dance" at creating theatrical works in a non-balletic idiom. Let us quote the words of Aladár Schöpflin, critic of the monthly Nyugat: "...some decade and a half we saw the beginnings of Orchestics by Isadora Duncan on the stage of the Urania Theatre...and what was presented to the large and sympathizing audiences is a further developed phase of the Duncan dance... The actual dances, as performed by Mária Mirkovszky and György Markos, are full of grace and virgin beauty... The orcheastic exercises are evidently a good school of the beauty of body postures and movements: they display a potential promising evolution." (p.54) This was the first appearance of domestic free dance (predecessor of what is today referred to as modern) on the Hungarian stage. This performance (twice repeated within a month) was followed by many others until 1920 (when Valéria emigrated). In this first period (between 1912 and 1920) a very wide variety of music was used for dancing ranging from Bach to Bartók, incl. Beethoven, Chopin, Schubert, Schumann etc. The Hungarian composers included Franz Liszt, György Kósa, the latter acting as resident musician of the School of Orchestics whose compositions were used for accompanying dances or for creating choreographies: Ten Bagatelles, the Greek-inspired Pan and Chorée, Phaedra and a pantomime called The Story of the Princess Who Never Laughed. The Princess was the symbol of the Human Soul, the Clown was Mankind, being unable to make the Princess smile: the Prince of Death alone could achieve this. The School of Orchestics functioned successfully partly as a permanent checking ground for the movement theory evolving, partly as a home of artistics creations performed by the students in Budapest and as guests in Vienna and Belgrade. When in 1920 Valéria Dienes left Hungary the school was taken over by Mária Mirkovszky continuing to teach Orchestics. Valéria Dienes's activities in Budapest were interrupted partly by family problems, partly by political reasons. Her husband Paul had to go in hiding for having undertaken a commission by Oszkár Jászi at the university, and, while in hiding, he fell in love with the young daughter of the landlady. For reasons of safety the family moved over to the Buda side into Mária Mirkovszky's villa and had pawned their library of several thousand books to be able to pay the captain of the boat that was eventually to WEB: HTTP://WWW.ORKESZTIKA.HU, HTTP://WWW.MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU, E-MAIL: ALAPITVANY@MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU,
take Paul secretly to Vienna. Hit by these adversities thr pregnant Valéria lost her third child. At the same time the circle of progressive-minded friends also dissolved and, after having lost her home and her husband at the age of forty, Valéria Dienes found herself in Vienna with the 5-year old Gedeon and the 3-year old Zoltán. Here she made a living by teaching Orchestics at Montessori Children's Home. In 1921 the three-member family got an invitation from an "old" friend, Aia, to join again the Duncan colony in Nice and later in Paris. After three years of emigration, upon the invitation of Mrs László Domokos, director of New School, Valéria Dienes and the two boys returned to Budapest and - upon the request of her former pupils (incl. M. Mirkovszky) - she started a course of Orchestics again. This was how she could carry on her teaching and artistic activities, the theoretical and practical development of her movement system for another twenty years (until 18 March 1944). During this time she produced several hundreds of choreographies, most of them to her own script, staging them in co-operation with her permanent musical partner, Lajos Bárdos. In this second period of the School of Orchestics Valéria Dienes started to study the mystery plays of the Middle Ages yet did not want simply to imitate them. She wanted to resurrect this genre by synthetizing movement and voice. This is what she writes: "Orchestics offered the following possibility for reconstruction: the synthesis of wordless movement and of invisible voice with music turning into movement and movement into music in the minds of the spectators and audiences." (Valéria Dienes About Herself.p.76). "This is what I felt to be the natural style of a mystery play in compliance with the requirements of our age." About the succession of her creations she wrote: Waiting for Dawn was a lesson towards the Eight Beatitudes, and this was an introduction to Hungarian Fate (a mystery play of St. Emeric) which, in turn, was a preparation for The Fate of the Child. "Led by the composer Lajos Bárdos we created this sequence, one after the other, uniting the choir of voices with the choir of visions." These were the ideas inspiring her choreographies which eventually assumed very different forms. In a summing up we can assign them to the following groups: a/ Mystery plays of large format, the plots taken mostly from Hungarian history (e.g. The Mystery Play of St. Emeric, The Fate of the Child, Patrona Hungariae etc.); b/ parable plays taken from the Bible (e.g. The Eight Beatitudes, Ten Virgins, The Seed Shower etc. ; c/ fables (e.g. Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow-White etc. to self-composed verses); d/ poets' portraits (to poems by R. Tagore, M. Babits, S. Sík etc.); e/ character sketches, moving images (e.g. Towards Dawn, Blue Dream, A History of Ladies' Fashion, etc. ; f/ etudes displaying the features of the Orchestic system selected from the curriculum (mostly in the form of "Public classes"). After emigration the first production called Towards Dawn was shown in 1925 and was followed by the biblical parable play Eight Beatitudes in 1926 (in the Downtown Theatre). The former, a plotless Advent mystery play with a cast of 12 was performed to Medieval Greek melodies sung by Lajos Bárdos' Choir Cecilia and to Valéria's own poems. This symbolic dance play followed a fourstage ascending line from Imploration through Hope and Promise until Fullfillment. The parable Eight Beatitudes was introduced by a speech of Ottokár Prohászka, bishop of Székesfehérvár, followed by a prologue. Each scene, corresponding to a beatitude, consisted of three parts: an introductory poem by Valéria Dienes, a dance (solo, duo or group) and a movement choir to singing. In later performances (at Miskolc, Székesfehérvár etc.) the introductory poems were accompanied by living pictures. This production started the series of the author's works on religious themes which later continued by works on historical topics. An outstanding representative of one of Valéria Dienes's specific genres, the Poets' Portraits, was the Three Poetic Portraits of 1930 (Downtown Theatre) characterizing the authors by performing selected poems in dancing. The poems of Rabinranath Tagore were danced under the title of Wanderer on Endless Roads. The portrait of Mihály Babits was called Noone Has Seen Me Yet and Sándor Sík was represented by one of his titles I am Facing the Sun. The idea naturally was not just dancing to the poems but a reinterpretation in visual movements of emotions, thoughts, and atmosphere emanating from them.
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The series of historical dance dramas started with the large-scale dance play called The Mystery Play of St. Emeric which was performed - on the occasion of the International Festivities of Virgin Mary - in what was called the Festive Hall in 1930 (today bus garage) and again twice in the Municipal Theatre in 1931 (today Erkel Theatre). This production featured the adoption of Christianity by Hungarian people as reflected in the fate of St. Emeric, son of the first Hungarian king, Stephen I, and in the struggles fought with the heathens. It consisted of seven acts: I. The Mission: During a pagan ceremony Emeric realizes his mission. II. Camp of the Christians: Emeric's pledge. III. Secret place of pagan sacrifices: Emeric's miracle with the Cross. IV. Vision of Nikéfora's guardian angel in front of the Byzantine Palace. V. Wedding with Nikéfora. The scene: the Basilica of Székesfehérvár. VI. Steeling the cross, and Emeric's death at the clandestine place of pagan sacrifices. VII. The Earth in front among the clouds. In the 1930ies and 1930ies, Valéria Dienes continued creating large-scale historic movement dramas with hundreds of dancers, including such major creations as The Lady of Roses in 1932, The Fate of the Child in 1935 (both to her own scripts and to music by György Kerényi and Lajos Bárdos) as well as the mystery play Patrona Hungariae in thirteen scenes in 1938 (music again by L. Bárdos). The Lady of Roses was a two-part symbolic movement play in 12 orchemas on the charitable yet belligerent life of St. Elizabeth of the Árpád Dynasty. The roses symbolize charity. The odd-numbered prologues and interludes alternate with plots: II. Revolt of mystery, the struggle between good and evil), IV. The mission of the child (the first encounter of Elizabeth and her would-be husband, Louis), VI. The miracle of the roses. VIII. Separated (Elisabeth parting with Louis leaving on a crusade.) X. Expelled (Elizabeth chased away from her castle but comforted by Louis' appearance in heaven). XII. Returning to home (Elizabeth is glorified, enters eternity.) The three-act The Fate of the Child was performed with close to thousand dancers on a three-level stage erected in front of the Industrial Hall in the City Park. This movement drama shows the attitudes of society toward children during the period between Sparta and the appearance of Christianity. I. The Child in Antiquity: a./Sacrificing the unviable infants on the rocks of Taygetos. b./. Youngsters sent to war and mothers expected them back "with this or on this" (referring to the shield held or holding the body). II. The Triumph of the Child: Night at Bethlehem, the three Magi, the killing of infants, Jesus as a child. III.Fight for the Child. Epilogue: the divine friend of children, Jesus blessing them under the slogan: "Let the little children come to me". The four-part mystery play of Patrona Hungariae in 11 scenes is centred on King Stephen I recognising that the Virgin Mary had chosen Hungary for a historic mission and had thus become the patron saint of the country. I/1. The Mythical Stag (Hunor and Magor leads the Hungarians out of the peaks of the Caucasus). I/2. Settling in a New Home (the spirits of grass, of earth, of flowers welcome the ruler Árpád), I/3. Offer (King Stephen offers the country to Mary.) II/1. Mourning (after the invasion of the tartars). II/2. King Béla's pledge (Margit, would-be daughter of the king, offered. Withdrawal of the Tartars). II/3. Margit (her life is the price of the country's resurrection). III/1. The first midday toll (Defence of Christianity at Belgrade). III/2. Defeat at Mohács (Mary puts the country's flag to the foot of the Cross). III/3. Emperor Lipót again offers the country to Mary. IV/1. The third death (Mary holds the truncated country to her heart), IV/2. Resurrection (Trusting the Lady of the Hungarians, the youth is singing the song of resurrection). In addition to historic dramas Valéria Dienes choreographed fairy-plays for children to her own verses. Cinderella is a fairy play in 4 scenes to the author's own poems introduced by a prologue told by a narrator in front of the curtain. Snow-white is another four-part fairy play to music and verses. A similar fairy-play in 3 scenes, The Sleeping Beauty was shown in 1931 with a cast of 18 incl. 11 fairies. A description of 1939 shows how "flexible" the choreography was: "The production is not necessarily a dance play throughout...the textual parts may be regarded as roles told by the children on stage...The narrator only recites the descriptive parts, the interludes and prologues... The musical parts may be chosen individually if the director is well acquainted with music..." Hints for choosing music: "The entrées of the fairies are no longer than 16 beats, except for those of the Fairy Queen, the Fairy of Anger and the Fairy of Goodness". Later we read: "The entire set-up as well as the music may be arranged either in a Hungarian style or in the general fairy-tale style of imagination." The biblical parable plays, e.g. The Seed Shower (1933) or the Ten Virgins (1934) were accompanied by poems recited by speaking choirs and for Gregorian tunes. WEB: HTTP://WWW.ORKESZTIKA.HU, HTTP://WWW.MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU, E-MAIL: ALAPITVANY@MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU,
A History of Ladies' Fashion (1931) was a show of dresses from different ages, incl. Egyptian, Greek, Roman fashion, later Rococo, Empire, Biedermeier and turn-of-the-century dresses. The accompaniment consisted or texts and tunes, like the hymn of Osiris, Babits' Classical Dreams, Greek melodies, medieval tunes of troubadours from the 13th century etc. Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue accompanied the Blue Dreams of a law student with subjects appearing in the form of captions on papers held and moved by dancing girls each trying to catch the attention of the young student to her subject, a pleasant way of learning though dangerous before exams. In the 1940ies the pupils and graduates of the Orchestic Institute formed the Hungarian Artistic Dance Group organized and led by István Molnár back from abroad. Within one year he produced several dances incl. such major choreographies as the five-part Pastoral Symphony (Beethoven), The Death and the Maiden (Saint Saens) danced with Kornélia Geguss, the Dervish Dance, a frenetic solo (Beethoven), the slowly swinging legato Dream (Liszt) as well as the dancing interpretation of several poems. In the early months of 1944 the Orchestic Institute invited young graduates from all art-ofmovement schools to take part in private competitions in the Institute's premises showing their creations to the profession. Three occasions could be organized but on the day following the third (March 18), Budapest was occupied and joint work as well as the functioning of the Orchestic Institute had to be discontinued. (For details, see Chapter 7).
Valéria Dienes's Choreologic Activities Valéria Dienes tackled the field of human movements with a brain polished on mathematics and philosophy trying to analyse the rules and laws governing them and with an assiduous work of several decades she established a system and called it Orchestics (an all-round scientific presentation thereof could only be published in 1996 in Hungarian under the title "Orchestics - Movement system"). This system reveals describes and explains the laws of natural movements and postures of the human body. The analysis of human movements in space, of their performance in time, and of the energy used reveal the physical character of movements. These three analytical approaches result in three disciplines, namely space study (plastics or stereotics), time study (rhythmics) and effort study (dynamics). The physical movements of the human body are usually governed by some internal motive or purpose which means that they carry content or meaning. This field is the subject of semantic study (symbolics). One part of this system was published in 2000 in Hungarian under the title The Profile Chapter of Plastics (Stereotics). The discipline of plastics (or stereotics) deals with the body as a theoretical skeleton (phantom) consisting of lines (called body units) and of pivotal points whose possible scope of moving, limited by anatomy and by the environment, constitute the motosphere. Relative kinetics will study movements within the motosphere while absolute kinetics analyses the possible elements of the body's displacement or locomotion (step as the unit of walking, leap as the unit of running and skip as the unit of jumping), their elements and their combinations. The analysis of every human movement starts from the profile plane (forward and backward directions), which secures equilibriun, then examines the frontal plane (right and left)and the trihedral (use of space). Rhythmics deals with the division of time (beat) and with its modelling (rhythm) relying on Greek prosody, analysing the movement equivalences of its two-mora and three-mora (sema) units with due regard to co-ordinating front-stressed music and end-stressed movement Dynamics is the discipline of effort used, the input-output theory of Orchestics, The energy loaded and the energy consumed by the forms of locomotion are shown by waves of different lengths and amplitudes. Beside the three physical criteria the movements of living and conscious human beings have a semantic content which is the subject-matter of symbolics. This is the study of links between body and spirit. Here it is important to distinguish movements induced from the outside which only have a cause but have no purpose and movements induced from the inside which have a purpose governed by its motive. A movement carrying content uses an "inter-conscious code", i.e. a system of symbols. WEB: HTTP://WWW.ORKESZTIKA.HU, HTTP://WWW.MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU, E-MAIL: ALAPITVANY@MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU,
When thoughts and emotions are projected to the surface of the body the movement performs its social function, forwarding messages from one mind to another one. The study of message-carrying movement leads us to evologic, i.e. to the logic of evolution whose fundamental laws are as follows: a/ time synthesis (the melting of the past and the future into the present), b/ emergence (French devenir, based on Bergson's creative evolution), c/ the absence of identicality (dissimilarity) and d/ irreversibility (the fixedness of the direction). The conditions of implementing movements are studied in biomorphy on the basis of the natural system of human movements. The conditions are as follows: symmetry which ensures static and dynamic equilibrium; a/ holistics which deals with the body as a whole and with its natural proportions; b/ ergonomy is meant to ensure an economical use of energy; c/ ecology examines the interaction between body and environment; d/ biometry which analyses the leeway between the geometrical and chronometrical exactness of movements and the natural performance of live movements; e/ psychosomatics which examines movements from the angle of the relation and interaction of matter and spirit.
Valéria Dienes 's teaching activities Teaching activities were performed throughout the existence of the School of Orchestics. Theory and practice of early Orchestics were born and developed as from 1912 until about 1917 when the curriculum included classes of plastic movement (stereotics), rhythmics and mimics. While devising movement theory, Valéria Dienes invariably checked every new idea against practical movement of human bodies, in other words, the development of the theory was constantly governed and checked by concrete practice in teaching. A teacher training course (called theoretical class) was started in 1929 with a curriculum of 12 hours a week for four years or one with 24 hours a week for two years consisting of practical and theoretical subjects most of which were taught by Valéria Dienes The theoretical subjects were Orchestic system, Psychology and Ethics, Pedagogy, Basic terms used in Philosophy, Physics, Geometry, and Methodology. Functional anatomy and Biology were taught be Dr Lujza Haspel, History and Theory of Art and Aesthetics by the painter Cézár Kunwald, History of Costumes by Ida Zechmeister while History of Movement (incl.dance) and Arts were the subjects of Gedeon Dienes. The practical subjects in amateur classes taught by Valéria Dienes for some fifteen years and later by Kornélia Geguss were Plastic movement, Rhythmics, Metrics, Semantics, Prosody, Dynamics, Interpretation of Music and Text, Composition, Mmovement Choir, Musical Accompaniment of Movement, Pedagogy and Teaching Practice. The theoretical subjects were Theory of Music, History of Arts and of Dance, Functional Anatomy. Optional subjects were Acrobatics, Ballet (taught by Károly Zsedényi and Marcella Nádasi), and Yoga (taught by Selva Raja Yesudian). These studies were followed by the course of Teaching Art of Movement within the National Teacher-Training Course for Dance and Art of Movement. Here the curriculum included the Method of another school, Acting, Oral Drill, etc. Among the several hundreds of pupils of the School, resp. Institute of Orcherstics the following students have since become eminent professionals either as teachers of the School or as heads of their own independent schools. In the first period (1912-1919): Vera Bertalan, Lily Hermann, György Markos, Mária Mirkovszky, Ilus Révész. In the second (1923-1929): Vilma Kisházi Karnik, Klára Klár, Margit Riedl, Alice Turnai, Ilona Viraágh. In the third (1930-1944): Olga Beöthy, Dr Gedeon Dienes (and his followers are Márk Fenyves), Kornélia Geguss, Lujza Halmy, Erzsébet Hirschberg, Edit-Mária Jármai, Csilla Ottlik, Erzsébet Perczel, Magda Rózsa, Ilona Véghelyi and many others.
1.2. Alice Madzsar's body training and art-of-movement activities Alice Madzsar (born Alice Jászi, at Nagykároly, 25 May 1977, dep. Bp. 24 Aug. 1935) was led by her interest in body training in the early tens to Germany where she obtained a diploma in Bess WEB: HTTP://WWW.ORKESZTIKA.HU, HTTP://WWW.MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU, E-MAIL: ALAPITVANY@MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU,
Mensendieck's courses for ladies' gymnastics. When back in Budapest in 1912, she opened her school where, beside gymnastics, she taught "movement characterology", i.e. the expression of a character in movement. Her method relied on a combination of gymnastic exercises and pantomime movements. 1In 1921 Alice Madzsar started a Mensendieck-type teacher-training curriculum of two years including subjects like different kinds of Gymnastics, Characterology, Anatomy, Health Science (taught by József Madzsar), later History of Arts, and Aesthetics. In the early twenties Alice Madzsar's interest turned toward arts, particularly towards theatrical arts but before getting engaged in theatrical creation she summed up the results of her bodytraining activities of a decade and a half in a Hungarian book called New Ways of Female Body Culture (A női testkultúra új útjai) (Bp. 1926) The principle governing Alice Madzsar's body culture was the unity of beauty and health. She regarded the implementation of this principle almost as a duty. In her book she writes as follows: "The beauty of the Venus of Milo is not a gift of heaven but the most successful flower of growing and tending beauty". Consequently beauty is not a simple endowment but is the result of a conscious and consistent development of the body, i.e. an aim that can be achieved. The imperfect features of the human body have to be corrected by means of female gymnastics (including pregnency gym), by leading a healthy life, by breathing exercises, skin care and by correctly educating our children. In the chapter called Body Culture in Art she stresses the importance of the body as an instrument: "First you have to construct the instrument and then you can play on it". Concerning dance: "It is high time for dance to learn how to stand on its own feet. It has not come of age yet for it exists under the tutelage of music ...It is often nothing more than a mere illustration thereof(p.49). If it wishes to achieve independence, it has to start from scratch...in order to become capable of talking for itself in a perfect way without alien mediation (p.50). She evolved and implemented her artistic ideas with the help of pupils and assistants of her art-of-movement school between 1925 and 1935. She had partners like the dancers Magda Róna, Ágnes Kövesházi, the poet Ödön Palasovszky, the composers József Kozma and István Szelényi. Alice Madzsar's best known works are the Fetters, a seven-part social dance poem (1930, m. by Kozma), Ayrus' Daughter created in collaboration with Ödön Palasovszky (and often performed after 1930 to textual accompaniment) and the anti-war pantomime Contemporary Suite (1933, m. by Szelényi) composed together with Magda Róna which - owing to it's revolutionary message - was banned by the authorities. The health of Alice Madzsar who had fought for female beauty and health all her life, got undermined by the vexation of the authorities to an extent that she departed at the age of 58 in 1935. The "health-and-beauty" activities of Alice Madzsar can be divided into two major periods: the period of introducing and developing modern female gymnastics and the period of devising and alloying modern theatrical forms of expression in dance. In the former (1912-1925, years of preparation) the governing principle was the health of the female body, in the latter (1925-1935, years of presentation) Alice Madzsar used the expressive power of the moving body for formulating messages in dance. The common altruistic feature of both periods was to help others, to improve the physical, spiritual and social modus vivendi of the people.
The Health of the Body In her book published in 1926 Alice Madzsar sums up the results of the first period: her own method evolved on the basis of B. Mensendieck's female gymnastics (now referred to as hygienic body culture), "predecessor" of medical or sports gymnastics. In Chapter 1 she formulates her fundamental idea as follows: "To be healthy is an obligation to ourselves and to the future generation. This, however, involves the duty of being beautiful. These two statement mean fundamentally the same. A physically and spiritually healthy human being cannot be ugly, and with improving health, beauty also increases." Her argumentation runs as follows: "The harmful impact of culture - mainly of technical culture - leaves heavy traces on the human body which are evident and visible in every social class and on every body." This means that our environment is constantly changing and our bodies slowly follow WEB: HTTP://WWW.ORKESZTIKA.HU, HTTP://WWW.MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU, E-MAIL: ALAPITVANY@MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU,
the changes. Viewed from this angle, "our bodies are veritable stores of imperfections". And it is up to us to correct them. When we stood up on two legs, the body (including the spine, the blood circulation etc.) turned from vertical to horizontal. This is what every newborn babe will repeat during its natural development over the first year which must not be jeopardised or forced. Alice Madzsar emphasises that whatever happens to a child during the first months of his or her life will have a decisive impact on his or her whole life." The following chapters deal with the relation of fashion to health, with the relation of fashion to beauty. The absolute idol of beauty has changed over the ages (from the nudism of antiquity until the fully dressed bodies of the past centuries, from the fullness of curves until the slenderness of lines). Today, however, a woman - being engaged in jobs - is turning from a dependent member of the family into a partner of equal rank, becoming even in spirit "a real partner in life and partner in work." In connection with productivity the author emphasises the serious significance of intensive body culture for the development of erotics. "Body culture promotes the fertile liberation of erotics" which women badly need "because of their long social, spiritual and sexual oppression in the past". The chapter on the relation between body culture and art relies on the idea of "first constructing the instrument and then playing on it". In other words, our bodies have to be rendered capable and suitable for expressing thoughts and feelings on an artistic level. "The development of body and soul is closely interlinked and our life is an uninterrupted concatenation of their interaction..." All physical changes of the body “leave their traces on the soul though it is also true that whatever happens in the soul will have a great impact on the body." The basic task of body culture is to maintain health and capacity to work... yet female body culture has to ensure - in addition to the above - the suitability of the female body for a smoothest possible performance of the biological function of proliferation. Among the conditions of healthy life style great importance should be attributed to correct nourishment and bathing, to the state of the windpipe (trachea) and to skin care, to gymnastics in pregnancy, to infant and children's gym. In the last chapter we find practical hints as to the kind of p.e. and gymnastic exercises to be performed in order to achieve the above aims. The most important ones are relaxation, exercises of the extremities, of the spine and the hips. All these are meant to prevent diseases. Judit Kármán, one of the eminent disciples of Alice Madzsar, has summed up the most essential conditions of hygienic (or medical) gymnastics as follows: graduality (no exaggerations, no forcing); individual treatment (exercises adapted to the individual); start the movement from the centre of the trunk; conscious kinaesthesia (movement aesthetics); predominant isometry (the proportionate use of the muscles: strengthening the loose ones, stretching the contractions) The three-fold structure of all exercises: warming up, purposeful moving, loosening.
Art of the body Alice Madzsar started her choreographic activities in the twenties. Young artists sympathising with the workers' movement (incl. the painter Sándor Bortnyik, the poet Ödön Palasovszky, the composers József Kozma and István Szelényi, etc.) in the sphere of attraction of the charismatic Alice devised new modern theatrical methods for expressing ideas, for winning over and persuading audiences. The poet Palasovszky joined Alice Madzsar's world of ideas with the greatest enthusiasm, a world wishing to raise the physical and spiritual culture of the community. His Manifesto (For the culture, for the art of millions) composed together with Iván Hevesi in 1922, was a call for culture that includes the creative interaction of body culture, of speech and of vision for a social layer (to wit, the working class) that could not share it. The three factors mentioned here evidently met on the stage and gave birth to the Green Donkey Stage (1925-26), to the New Earth Stage (1926-27), the Extraordinary Stage and the Prism Dance Stage, later Workshop. This was the framework within which the artistic activities of Alice Madzsar and her partners evolved. WEB: HTTP://WWW.ORKESZTIKA.HU, HTTP://WWW.MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU, E-MAIL: ALAPITVANY@MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU,
In the theatrical creations of Alice Madzsar and partners verbal theatre was strictly interwoven with expression by movement (though it was not yet understood by all "why actors dance and why dancers talk"). On the one hand, Ödön Palasovszky, spokesman and van-guard poet of the working-class movement, inspired the messages, on the other hand, outstanding figures of modern dance (both as choreographers and performers) like Ágnes Kövesházi and Magda Róna represented and implemented the Madzsar-type trend in the endeavours for advanced reforms in those days. Palasovszky used pantomime and speech choirs to join dance while Kövesházi conceived the thoughts in movement and Róna with her transparent, fragile stature designed the joint message in dance. One of the first manifestations of the "physico-educational" and "theatro-artistic" orientation of the Madzsar School was Ágnes Kövesházi's Breathing Dance performed at the first Zig-zag Night. It consisted of practically nothing but movements derived from breathing, almost without the displacement of the body. Another production of hers was her Zig-zag Dance with interesting movement parallels to the recital of Ödön Palasovszky's poem. The first production of major format by Palasovszky was Cocteau's satire Les marries de la Tour Eiffel in the programme of the Green Donkey Theatre in the constructivist stage of Sándor Bortnyik. Dezső Kosztolányi, then critic of the monthly Nyugat wrote: "The Green Donkey brayed correctly". In addition to Alice Madzsar, Ágnes Kövesházi, Magda Róna and Ödön Palasovszky constitute the artistic trio which gave birth to the "literary stage" on new principles in the late twenties. Ödön Palasovszky summed up best the artistic message of the Madzsar School in a later report. Here are his words: "The first step (in 1928) was the pantomime stage called Prism which we initiated as the continuation of our avantgarde theatres. The second step was the performance of Ernest Toller's Luddite drama called Machine Breakers which I directed with masses of workers of the union 100% but we did not get further than the dress rehearsal because the production came to be banned." Let us remember that Ned Ludd, an English worker, in the late years of the 18th century was the first to destroy his power-loom to protest against the dominance of machines.(This is why machine breakers are called Luddites.) Alice Madzsar and Magda Róna's movement drama, the New Prometheus of 1929 told of the "pains of creation" (m. by József Kozma). The title role was danced by Magda Róna: Prometheus steels the fire for humans created by himself but these abandon him. "The creator is transcended by what he has created". The same May programme contained several choreographies of very different topics: the introductory exercises of children were followed by Kövesházi's shadow-play, the Six-armed Goddess (two pupils behind and those praying kneeling in front) and Buddha's Fire Sermon (with Palasovszky reciting the accompanying text). The Green Donkey Pantomime was danced to text and in moving wings of Bortnyik, Labour was performed by the male group of six body trainers, and Princess Borsószem was danced to music by Kozma. The three performances of Alice Madzsar's seven-part movement drama called Fetters (to music by Kozma in 1930-31) was a significant step of heavy impact in revolutionary art. Part one (In the Prison of Ourselves) told about the tragedy of loneliness. The second (Idol) showed the futile struggle we fight against the idols erected by ourselves. The third part (Walls) performed by the male group dealt with the eternal fight against the stifling deaf walls of dominating lies and conventions. The fourth scene (In the Power of Machines) was a vision of how man loses humaneness and becomes a soulless ingredient in a machine rushing and rattling non-stop. The fifth part (One Another's Slaves) showed the fate of man and woman chained to each other. The next scene (Human Fetters) showed a multitude of people sweating under the burden of the shackles. Yet the great turning point is due to come. The last scene (When Ideas Become Deeds) is an apotheosis of a dreamed world in which the voluntarily undertaken bondages become fertile human relations. ("This is the dance poetry of freedom" as Palasovszky called it.) Beside the revolutionary character of the subject-matter the novelty in form was that every object figuring in the plot (idol, wall, machine) was formed by human bodies or by their moving. The second half of the programme was relaxing: The Kiss of the Princess was a puppetshow to text by Ernő Szép and to Kozma's music and was followed by Kövesházi's choreography Ticktack Clock Dance to Palasovszky's speech choir and so on. WEB: HTTP://WWW.ORKESZTIKA.HU, HTTP://WWW.MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU, E-MAIL: ALAPITVANY@MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU,
In the summer of 1929 the Madzsar School took part in Margit Bethlen's Tales organized by the three teacher-training schools with a choreography Two Angels by Alice Madzsar in which the three symbolic principals were Life, Death, and Soul. Palasovszky called his creation "Point-blank theatre". As an ardent follower of the idea of Gesammtkunstwerk he endeavoured "to achieve a synthesis of life and art". And this is what can be gathered from his further works. A joint creation of Alice Madzsar and Palasovszky was the chorus drama Ayrus' Daughter, called total or synthetic because text, movement and music functioned jointly in it (1931). The message of the authors, - the immortality of beauty - was danced by Magda Róna heading the 30-member artistic group, i.e. the community calling for beauty. The figure of the "Other Ayrus" (the Ayrus stepping out of Father Ayrus and melting back into it, i.e. the subversive Ayrus) was impersonated by Palasovszky himself in the spirit of the slogan "what is beautiful can never really die". The drama was one of the peaks of Hungarian revolutionary theatre art. Magda Róna worked both as choreographer and as dancer in the early thirties: her "ideological" one-act pantomime with textual accompaniment called the Babylonian Fair to Szelényi's music was shown in the New Theatre: "a dance around the golden golem where everything is on sale". The statue of golem was impersonated by Andor Tiszay. Another choreography of Magda Róna to scripts of Béla Balázs was a shadow-play: The Fisherman and the Silver of the Moon where the merry young fisherman was danced by the choreographer herself. The boldest play was perhaps the Contemporary Suite, Alice Madzsar and Magda Róna's choreography to Szelényi's music composed in 1933 but never fully performed in public because, owing to its revolutionary message, it was invariably banned by the police as early as during rehearsals. Part one (Cross-Roads of Fate) showed the ups and downs of life, the daily strain and rush which boost instincts to destructions. (Later the end of this part was shown under the title of Destruction, in public at Szolnok). In part two (Fear) suspicion and mistrust dominated and led to freely improvized dramatic scenes until the appearance of the monster of war in gas mask, i.e. to war paralysing everything. In part three (Energies) the destructive elements were replaced by constructive forces, and the movements pointed towards defeating the awes of War in a streaming, breathing, pulsating pace. Beside the Fetters this was probably Alice Madzsar's most sincere creation who was always professing progressive ideas. The best known pupils of the Madzsar School were (in alphabetic order): László Csányi, Iza Gottschlig, Kata Kálmán Mrs Iván Hevesi, Ágnes Kövesházi, Magda Róna, Ödön Palasovszky, Lucy Libermann Mrs Pál Pátzai.
1.3. Life and Work of Olga Szentpál (Based on a study of Zsuzsa Merény) Olga Szentpál (born in Budapest, 15 Dec. 1895, dep. Budapest, 31 Oct. 1968) graduated from secondary school in 1913 when, probably inspired by the Budapest guest performance of the Hellerau School of Émile Jaques Dalcroze in 1912, she decided to study there. She obtained her diploma called Elementarprüfung für Rhytmische Gymnastik on 23 August 1917 from the Neue Schule für angewandten Rhytmus in Hellerau. Somewhat earlier Olga Szentpál qualified for an artist's diploma at the Budapest Academy of Music in piano playing. Olga Szentpál started a course of the "Dalcroze-type rhythmic gymnastics" in the autumn of 1917 at the Academy of Music, Budapest, where she came to be appointed professor in September 1919 by Árpád Szendy. Since the post-war circumstances were not favourable for starting a private school, Olga Szentpál together with the musicologue and critic Ernő Freund started a Dalcroze course in a rented flat. She opened her own school in 1919. WEB: HTTP://WWW.ORKESZTIKA.HU, HTTP://WWW.MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU, E-MAIL: ALAPITVANY@MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU,
Olga Szentpál first appeared on the stage with her fifty pupils in 1920 in a Dalcroze programme which consisted of simple exercises, rhythmic etudes. This was the beginning of the choreographic activities. In the home of her aunt, Mrs Károly Kernstock (the famous painter's wife) she had met Máriusz Rabinovszky (born in the same year and on the same day as herself) who had just finished his studies in History of Fine Arts in Germany. They got married in 1919. Their marriage which was at the same time creative co-operation lasted until 1953 when Máriusz Rabinovszky died. This cooperation was to have a decisive impact of Olga Szentpál's choreological and choreographical activities. Olga Szentpál taught training in rhythmic movement at the Academy of Theatrical Arts between 1924-35 and between 1945-52. This was how she came into contact with famous directors (e.g. Sándor Hevesi, Antal Németh etc.) who asked her on several occasions to co-orddinate the movements of actors and to compose dances for their plays. In 1927 with the support of her father she had a school building erected in the garden of no. 3 Park Lane (Városligeti fasor). Most of her pupils were daughters of bourgeois intellectual families - a few boys exceptionally. Professional disputes prompted Olga Szentpál to formulate the fundamental principles of her system of dance art which she published in her Hungarian Book of Art of Movement in 1928. After the birth of her second daughter Olga Szentpál abandoned the stage (in 1926) but continued to compose dances for the Szentpál Dance Group organized in 1925.Her most productive choreographic period lasted between 1930-42. (A few post-war works of hers indicate her interest in new and different directions.). The Szentpál Dance Group produced dances on rented stages, studio performances to friendly professionals in the premises of the school and to the circle of the Friends of the periodical Nyugat, gave performances in the provinces organized by Aurora Society, performed in Italy in 1929, on the Dalmatian coast and took part in the Munich Dance Congress in 1930. Beginning from the birth of the People's Front in 1937 Olga Szentpál took part in the antifascist cultural movement in Vajda János Society, the Independent Stage, in the initiatives of the Szeged youth, in the Club of Working Women, in the Residence of the Vasas (Iron Workers') Union. Her home was one of the favourite meeting places of progressive intellectuals... The Szentpál family maintained friendly ties with such artists as Judit Beck, Sándor Bortnyik, Gyula Hincz, Ferenc Martyn. Among the composers we can find Iván Engel, Ottó Gombosi, Klára Máté. Among their frequent guests we find the reciter Oszkár Ascher, the actors Tamás Major, Ferenc Hont, Gábor Tolnai, the poet Miklós Radnóti, and many others. Some of these friends took an active part in the work of the school: Álmos Jaschik, and Sándor Bortnyik undertook stage work, Sándor Jemnitz was a severe critic of the choreographies who wrote objective reports on every creation in the daily Népszava; Lilly Veszprémi supported the work of the Dance Group with her musical contributions. Before the extension of the war, György Lörinc, a leading teacher of the school, had the opportunity to acquaint himself with Labanotation at Dartington Hall in the class of Sigurd Leeder. Back in Budapest in 1940 he taught it to Olga and Mária Szentpál who, in turn, passed on the system of notation to the teachers of the other Budapest schools. Before the liberation of the whole country Olga Szentpál (who during the months of the German occupation had been in hiding with illegal papers) set to work with the remaining members of her dance group: they took part in the events of the MNDSZ (Democratic Association of Hungarian Women) and MKP (Hungarian Communist Party) organized by the Workers Cultural Federation. In 1947 she liquidated her school. She was one of the founders and became a leading member of the Dancers' Association created in 1948. Beside her multivarious activities at the College of Theatre Art she was commissioned to set up a Department for dance direction and then she compiled the movement training programme at the Opera Department of the Academy of Music as well as the programme of teaching historical social dances in the State Ballet Institute. In this period, instead of choreographing, Olga Szentpál was engaged in scientific analytical studies and when pensioned, in 1957, she devoted her time to scholarship alone. Her last pedagogical work, sort of completing the sphere of her activities, was a course in Dalcroze method at Miskolc. For her many-sided services to the Art of Dancing Olga Szentpál was awarded the title of Merited Artist in 1957.
Olga Szentpál's teaching activities The Budapest performance of the Dalcroze School in 1912 had a great success in professional circles. Olga Szentpál remembers it as follows: It was new „to see the intimate link between music and movement... The exercises promoting the recognition of beats, rhythms, tunes were new to us: so were the experience of metrical and rhythmical double voices, the dynamic contrast and gradual transition, weight and weightlessness...” In the first few years of her pedagogical activities she only undertook the teaching of the Dalcroze method. This method only used simple daily movements like stepping, running, skipping, lifting and dropping the arms etc. but the choreographically minded Olga Szentpál was not satisfied with the one-sided movements of the "rhytmiciennes" but was driven toward more colourful, flexible dance perspectives. She, too, stepped on the road inspired by the ideas of Duncan and Laban, that is "back to the source". Based on weighing the movement possibilities of the human body she started to build up her movement system which was first formulated in 1928. After the Dalcroze courses a school offering a wider dance training started to develop in 1923/24, called lay training for children and adults. Complete pedagogical activities develop only in the new school building erected in 1927. This single-storey house with a large dance hall was the first building designed for teaching dance in the Hungarian capital. According to contemporary documents the subjects in the school included the following: Musical Games promoting imagination (for children ages 4-6 and 6-11), Gymnastic Method engaging the whole body, developing muscles without exhausting for ages 11-15, Hygienico-aesthetic Method developing pleasant moving, the Harmonious Combination of Healthy Body Cculture and of Artistic Education for young girls (artistic training privately),Hhygienico-aesthetic Body Training (correcting proportions and improving conditions) for adult ladies. Further subjects: Ballet (in 1935-42), Tap-dance (in 1936-37). The artists were trained in the Szentpál Dance Group including the most talented pupils of the school who looked upon dancing to be their professional career. The teacher training course (two years and a half) was started in 1927 with 18 months of studies in the first two years and six in the third (25 hours a week). The wide-scale curriculum included teaching e.g. hygienic body technique, Dalcroze: rhythmical children's games, mass teaching for laymen, artist training, stage management of dances. Young people of 16-17 years of age having attended secondary school could be admitted. The subjects of her teacher training course were: Body Technique (modern), Gymnastics, Rhythmics, Dalcroze Exercises, Mimics, Stylistic Practices, Composition, Szentpál-System, General Discipline of Art of Movement, Improvization on Piano, Psychology, History of Culture, Oral Drill. The curriculum of the last teacher training course (starting in 1942) contains also Dance Notation. In addition to M. Rabinovszky (teaching Philosophy, Psychology, History of Culture, Pedagogy, Mimics), other well-known professionals contributed to teaching like Zsuzsa Kemény, Mrs Gy. Ortutay (Art of Movement), the dancers Anna Misley and Lya Karina, then Maercella Nádasi (Ballet), György Lőrinc (Ballet, Art of Movement). At the annual final examinations children excelled with their naturalness. The display of the material taught contained in etudes were followed by major dance games. These relied on folktales where the evil was punished and the brave were rewarded. The second part was devoted to adult groups. Talented pupils could show their choreographies. Between 1931 and 1942 Olga Szentpál organized four-week summer courses for those 14 at Lepence, a picturesque resort in the Danube Bend. She also taught Art of Movement elsewhere, i.e. at the Academy of Music, Academy of Theatre Art, in the State Ballet Institute, in the Institute for Folk Culture etc. At the official discussion on Art of Movement held in 1951 Olga Szentpál analysed the activities of those teaching this type of art (inc. herself) and admitted that her interest had earlier shifted to studying ballet and folk dance. The first among her post-war initiatives was to organize a Dance Management Department in the College for Theatre Art. When the Ministry suggested to set up a Department for Folkdance Choreography, folkdance experts like István Molnár, Miklós Rábai, Sándor WEB: HTTP://WWW.ORKESZTIKA.HU, HTTP://WWW.MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU, E-MAIL: ALAPITVANY@MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU,
Bencsik were invited. Olga Szentpál's idea was to learn, to analyse and explore the original material (incl. music and ethnography) but, for lack of common experience, no uniform teaching conception could develop among the professional teachers. Between 1947-49 Olga Szentpál managed to set up a dance department at the College of Physical Education. She compiled the curriculum with the help of Margit Duka and Sára Berczik. After these two years the dance training was replaced by artistic gymnastics and Olga Szentpál - owing to her multiple responsibilities at the Dance Management Department of the College for Theatre and Cinema Art, - left the College for Physical Education. Her work in the State Ballet Institute was fore successful. She compiled the selected description and illustrations of historical social dances grouping them according to ages for the first four semesters with due regard to the important stylistic aspects of the gestures. Olga Szentpál was pensioned in 1957, when she was 62, before she could complete the collected subject-matter. Among her best known disciples were: Éva Arató, Lilla Bauer, Lola Botka, Dolly Farkas, Mária Juhász, Zsuzsa Kemény Mrs Ortutay, Mária Ligeti, György Lörinc, Zsuzsa Merényi, László Sümeghy, Mária and Mónika Szentpál.
Olga Szentpál's Choreographic Activities In compliance with the "New dance" trend Olga Szentpál composed chamber dances for her group as well as solos performed by herself. This was how M. Rabinovszky formulated the necessity of dancing in groups: "...today we have to lay greater stress on the community...on the collective principle because we have to counteract the entirely individualistic conceptions in matters of art." All compositions used high-standard music (Bach, Bartók, Skriabin, Jemnitz and Grechaninov for children's dances). The dances were composed for empty space, a stage with nothing but a folding screen, a box covered with a black cloth. The costumes were as simple as possible: a blouse bound in the back or an armless smooth velvet vest letting free the waistline and a long bell-shaped lamé or georgette skirt. Costumes with signs were only used in dances with plots. The puritan character of the décors (designed by Álmos Jaschik, Sándor Bortnyik, later by György Szlovák) was not due to lack of funds but to the general principle according to which the movements of the human body are suitable for expressing any kind of phenomenon without accessories. Olga Szentpál's first attempt at composing a dance play was Oberon and Titania to music by Mendelssohn, first shown in the National Theatre at a charity performance, then in the Opera in 1920. Her later compositions of large format to Bartók's music were a dance for children in 1922, then "Lamentation" in 1923 and Allegro barbaro in 1924. In the latter the six dancers set cross-legged in a semicircle beating the rhythm with their fists on their knees while Lilla Bauer ecstatically danced in the middle to the repeated rhythm. The music was played by György Kósa. The Dance of the Elements (Earth, Water, Air, and Fire) was a suite about the relation between man and nature. Six dancing girls showed the characteristic movements of the underwater fauna and flora in The Depth of the Sea to music by S. Jemnitz. The first play to which Olga Szentpál contributed was Sulamit produced in the Blaha Lujza Theatre in 1925. The vintage dance, the dance of the doves, the decorative choir of the mourning women were performed by the pupils of Olga Szentpál and Mária Mirkovszky. According to critics the dances explained and emphasised the plot. Between 1927-37 Olga Szentpál worked for theatre directors, Hungarian followers of new modern trends (ideas of Reinhardt, Grémier, Piscator, Mayerhold, Tairov). She was requested to compose movement accompaniment adapted to the text. In this sense she co-operated with Sándor Hevesi in The Tragedy of Man and Faust in 1927, with Ferenc Hont in 1933, with Miklós Bánffy in 1934 performed at the Open-air Festival of Szeged, etc. Olga Szentpál's most fertile and many-sided creative period began in 1930. The Fair Maiden Julia was the first attempt at staging a Szekler folk ballad to music by Bartók. It was performed by students of the College of Theatre Art with Tana Augner in the title role. Another production was the WEB: HTTP://WWW.ORKESZTIKA.HU, HTTP://WWW.MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU, E-MAIL: ALAPITVANY@MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU,
May Dance to folk songs collected by Bartók which was later also performed by the pupils of her school. By using folkdance elements she preceded the ballet stage of the Opera. Turning toward biblical subjects in 1931 she composed the dance suite David (m. Musorgsky) in four scenes: a/ a powerful Sling Dance, b/ a dance to the psalm in front of the Ark of the Covenant, c/ Betshabe and her group and d/ David's heroic solo. The Modern Theatre Union organized by Andor Pünkösti and Pál Tábori in the season of 1932/33 wished to present contemporary subjects in dancing, verses, singing and music. One of Szentpál's most expressive works called Metropolitan Symphony was born on this occasion and shown in the Chamber Theatre in 1932. The first scene was The Beggars' Dance with a black folding on each side of the stage and a row of boxes in the middle: walking behind them moved a frieze-like procession of the typical figures of metropolitan poverty - the old woman with trembling hands, the starving girl, the rebel, the Gypsy fortune-teller, the flatterer and the deranged young woman. Walking behind the boxes they looked like standing on a slow conveyor belt, but in their subsequent short expressive solos each turned towards the audiences and vanished. In the second scene: Dance of Sports to music by Fucik the sports - horse riding, skating, swimming, rowing, tennis - were ironically imitated in dancing. Forming contrasts to the dance of the beggars, these were healthy, athletic, well-off youngsters. In the third scene called Cross Sections the author criticized the hackneyed subject of the pretty typist and her boss, the plethora of posters, the cult of chorus girl. The words linking the scenes of the grotesque dance play Baby in the Bar (text Béla Balázs, m. Wilhelm Gross) were recited by Oszkár Ascher. The symbolic story of 1932 runs as follows: "The secretive Tragic Mother appears among the guests and leaves a parcel on a table. It turns out to contain a baby. The Mixer gives her drinks. Growing after every gulp she becomes a child whose frenzied high spirit carries away the indifferent guests and the sober Mixer. The baby turns the nightclub upside down, knocks down the men who soon want to get rid of the ecstasy which is stronger than they are. But the baby outreaches them. (The guests were danced by girls masked as men.) In the same year we could see Kinephony based on the dramatic conflict of the ingredients of music: Rhythm, Expression, Harmony and Cacophony, a dancer each. Though Rhythm triumphs in the struggle it is swallowed by the crowd, and both movement and sound resume their even waves, pulsating in space as in the beginning. Another interesting production was the humorous Dance of Hands. Six dancers standing behind a platform "performed" a dance with their hands to Gieseking's witty rhythms for four minutes. This dance always had a great success. Another humorous choreography to music by Gieseking was the A Training Lesson Disclosed, revealing the daily work as frailties of the members of a dance group. The dance was composed collectively to the great enjoyment of both the dancers and the public. At a pantomime and dance night directed by Márton Keleti in 1935 the one-act dance Mechanical Man was performed by actors and dancers impersonating figures of modern society: the Creditor, the Violinist, the Diplomat and the Ultra-rich. They all want to conquer the heart of the girl but she is won over by the poor Inventor who, by devising through Love a mechanical man brings back the run-away girl. The Hungarian Dirge is a 13-minute funeral dance ritual from the 16-17th century. A long table with a white cloth and candles can be seen in the middle of the stage. A friend of the dead boy lights the candles, the mourning women are sitting around the table. The funeral dance of the mother is followed by a candle dance and an impressive dance of revival. Then the lad wearing the dress of the dead boy with his face (painted white as in a pantomime) dances the boy's life and death using folk dance motifs. According to Palasovszky "the monotony of the musical motifs ... was enhanced by the laconic and concentrated dance motifs to ecstatic heights where rhythm and rite united". The dance legend Mary Maidens was shown at the "Szeged Night" organized by the János Vajda Society for Cultural Education. The music was selected from István Volly's folk music collection of tunes of the Great Hungarian Plain. It was danced by two girls and by two women impersonating Life and Death. The girls go on a pilgrimage to the Szeged picture of the Black Mary to find out their future. While praying Life appears to one of them, Death to the other. The choreography consisted of simple of combinations of the Hungarian female dance this time without stylization. Olga Szentpál's last major, four-part dance play was the Expulsion from Paradise in 1942 which could only be shown in the studio of the school. The 25-minute dance was inspired by Byzantine iconography. The style of dancing differed from the author's former works by using "contrasting" movements. This meant to move the shoulder line opposite the hips, in broken lines, the feet upwards WEB: HTTP://WWW.ORKESZTIKA.HU, HTTP://WWW.MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU, E-MAIL: ALAPITVANY@MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU,
accompanied by loose and broken-lined arms displaying oriental character. These soft movements with varying dynamics characterized the Serpent and Eve while Adam moved with full energy and the three Archangels in a heroic style. The starting point is the correct assessment of the possibilities allowed by movement and space, and the necessities deriving from music. In other words, the deepest possible exploration of the time variants, the space variants and the dynamic variants in the spirit of the subject-matter. This is followed by a selection of the most suitable solutions. It is invariably the basic idea that will define the style required for starting and closing a dance because the internal structure, the line of evolution of a choreography are defined by the beginning and by the end.
Olga Szentpál's contributions to dance theory The author made contributions in three fields: 1. Movement system, 2. Method of collecting and analysing folkdances, 3. Research into social dances.(Dances of earlier ages and Hungarian ballroom dances of the 19th century.)
1. Systematics 1. Szentpál's teaching and choreographic practices in the 20-ies raised the demand for conscious moving, and this demand stimulated her to built up a system. The problems could only be solved by scientific research checked by practice. She received great help from her husband, Máriusz Rabinovszky, art historian armed with vast cultural knowledge and search practice. The exact and itemized formulation of the movement system is due to him. Certain research tasks and joint thinking were shared by Zsuzsa Kemény, Mrs Ortutay, by György Lőrinc, by Mária Szentpál and other students. The system was finally formulated for the first time in 1927, and published in 1928 under the title of Dance, A Book of Art of Movement in Hungarian, and was later developed further. It consists of two main chapters: Morphology and Functionology. Morphology (Chapter I) dealt with the smallest unit of moving resp. of posture, to wit with phase whose elements are start, evolution and arrival. The smallest expressive unit of artistic movement is the motif which may be introductory, auxiliary, transitional, and concluding motif. Funtionology (Chapter II) analyses the physical and psychical qualities required by the artistic movement. In the latter stress is laid on the innervation of sudden and continuous movements leading to one of the key problem of teaching movement. Time, space and force are analysed as defining dance movement. Szentpál's system also underlies movement analysis which was formulated by Mária Szentpál for learning dance notation in a textbook called The Basic Notions of Movement Analyses in Hungarian.
2. Method of collecting and analysing folkdances In 1948-49 Szentpál collected Székler dances in villages like Hidas, Kety, Kisdorog, etc. and recorded Hungarian folk tunes in others. In 1851 she worked at Kisterenye and Galgamácsa, in 1942 again at Sióagárd. Relying on the categories of her systematics, she also undertook to establish the links between form and content. Her research was published in 1960 in Acta Ethnographica where only the relationships and stratification of the dances could only be found out on the basis of their structural and formal features
3. Research into social dances Szentpál was the first in Hungary to reconstruct and stage dances of Italian masters of the Renaissance. These were shown in her Studio in 1936 and later in the Downtown Theatre. Commissioned by the State Ballet Institute she resumed the research of social dances in 1950-51 because there were no Hungarian social dances in the curriculum. Thanks to her research the Hungarian string dance and the Hungarian round came to be included. This commission led her to WEB: HTTP://WWW.ORKESZTIKA.HU, HTTP://WWW.MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU, E-MAIL: ALAPITVANY@MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU,
study the czardash (published in 1954). Her further research consisted in the morphological analysis of the French Arbeau's gagliarde (published in 1963/64).
2. The Art-of-Movement Community in Hungary
2. 1. Co-operation In the late tens and early twenties of the 20th century the new theatre dance elicited the interest of Hungarian society, particularly of the middle class, in the aesthetic and health advantages of what was called art of movement. This can be ascribed to four different factors. 1. The students of the above-described three schools started their independent courses, even created schools. Good examples are the courses, schools, and stage activities of Mária Mirkovszky and Margit Riedl from the Dienes School, of Lilla Bauer from the Szentpál School, of Ágnes Kövesházi from the Madzsar School, and several others. Some of them went abroad to teach and dance, like Lili Véghelyi (Brazil), Magda Rózsa (touring Germany), Lola Botka and Lilla Bauer (with the Jooss Ballet) and so on. 2. Beside the above three schools other persons who had studied abroad also brought home their experiences and started courses in different styles, like Lili Kállai, Sára Berczik etc. 3. More and more foreign modern dancers visited Hungary. In some years ten to fifteen foreign dancers gave concerts in Budapest and beyond. 4. A growing number of dancers in other dance forms (like ballet, jazz) joined the new dance trend modifying their styles in this direction both in teaching and on the stage. During the early decades of the 20th century the three schools mentioned above had raised the technical qualification of their pupils to a height enabling them to produce performances at a high artistic standard. The training of the human body in this direction and the success of the performances earned great popularity for the new theatre dance, a trend that could not be assigned to any existing category. It is interesting to note that it was the National (later Hungarian) College of Physical Education (established in 1925) that noticed these schools and performances of art of movement as "rivals" in body training and questioned the "professionalism of the training" going on in them. The Ministry of Interior Affairs decreed in 1925 that the heads of the art-of-movement schools could not go on teaching unless their leaders acquire the diploma of the College of P.E. leaving a grace period of five year to do so. The decree was meant to protect he P.E. diplomas and to limit the operation of the art-of-movement schools attended mostly by children of progressive intellectuals. The College looked upon these schools as "rivalizing firms" and declared itself "concerned" about the professional standard of teaching. In these days the difference between art of movement, on the one hand, and physical education, or dance, on the other, was not clear to everybody. The art-of-movement schools having operated separately soon joined to start a press campaign of protest and set up an organ for representing and protecting their interests. This was the Society for Movement Culture uniting the heads of the schools to fight for the right of teaching and of training teachers. A general assembly held in May 1928 and attended by 37 members founded the union and elected the following presidency: count Géza Lipót Zichy as president, Dr. Valéria Dienes, Alice Madzsar and Olga Szentpál as vice-presidents, György Pálfy as secretary general. Later dr. Valéria Dienes became co-president. The president elected was not an expert but was ready to use his serious social weight and influence to fight for the interests of the art-of-movement people. In a memorandum to the Ministry for Education the Society explained that neither the P.E. teachers nor the dance masters could teach art of movement or compose choreographic works, and that these activities were part and parcel of the art-of-movement school leaders with a past of some ten to fifteen years of practice and artistic achievement. As a result of lengthy discussion and disputes the authorities were eventually inclined to admit that the representatives of the new dance trend were capable of creating artistic productions relying on their past. A Night of Tales staging stories written by countess Margit Bethlen was organized in June of 1929 by the Society of Movement Culture in order to prove the high artistic standard of the major artWEB: HTTP://WWW.ORKESZTIKA.HU, HTTP://WWW.MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU, E-MAIL: ALAPITVANY@MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU,
of-movement schools of Budapest. The programme included the following dance plays: United Souls by Olga Szentpál, Two Angels by Alice Madzsar and the White Princess by Valéria Dienes. These were introduced by a prologue The Enchanted Garden and followed by an epilogue The Story of the Sad City (another two tales) performed by the dance groups of the three schools. The production was staged in the park and the wide garden staircase of count Jenő Karátsony's palace (today /2005/ a modern many-storied building of Matáv). Both the high-society audiences and the contemporary press and experts were duly impressed by the spectacular achievement of the dancers and by the firework-like scenery. So much so that film director István Lázár decided to shoot a film of the three tales in the Pilis Hills in the same year. The film was premiered under the Hungarian title Love Lives Forever on 30 April 1930 in the UFA Cinema. As far as we know this was the only art-of-movement film professionally produced in Hungary between the two WWs. (Today it cannot be found in the Archives.) Both the performance and the film had a favourable effect on the attitude of the authorities. They seemed to have been persuaded, at least for a certain time, to treat the relevant problems with sympathy and to understand the controversial issues raised by the appearance of a new artistic profession called art of movement. The Society of Movement Culture achieved to have the detrimental decree modified: According to a new Decree of the same year (1929) - about the modification of the organization of the Hungarian National Course for Training Dance Masters - the leaders of the three schools were each accorded a "diploma qualifying them for public teaching" dated on 17 September 1929, allowing them to carry on their art-of-movement activities had started some one and a half years earlier. As far as teacher training was concerned, a two-year course in one of these schools was followed by a "Dance Master Training Year" (referred to as "State Course") qualifying for the diploma. Here the instruction manager was György Pálfy, general secretary of the Society and teacher of several important subjects (like basic terms in philosophy and aesthetics). During the almost two decades while the State Course functioned the curriculum underwent a few changes for professional and political reasons and was discontinued in 1949. It should be noted that all endeavours to transfer the teacher training from the Ministry of the Interior to the Ministry of Education were unsuccessful, and so were all attempts to achieve independence for the training. The three major schools held joint performances also in later years, like the dance play Csongor and Tünde on Margaret Island and others, like Jederman etc. Led by the idea of letting the pupils of the different schools get better acquainted with one another, the Orchestic Institute started a series of private performances in February 1944 in its own premises where choreographies of the pupils of other schools, those of Szentpál, Kállai, Berczik could be shown and discussed. These joint artistic activities had to be discontinued on the eve of the German occupation of Budapest (19 March 1944).
2. 2. The Rescuing Generation It is common knowledge that the practising of art of movement and of most other dance genres, incl. jazz, were officially banned in 1949 as a "survival of capitalism". As far as dance is concerned, ballet and folk dance were the only forms of dance recognised by the communist government. Several followers of art of movement were compelled to "change" profession or discontinue practical work (teaching, making dances etc.). There were some who switched to folkdance, to ballet or got engaged in theoretical work. There were, however, others who - in some clever practical way - preserved their knowledge and practised their art throughout the forty years of prohibition. As examples we shall follow three bold representatives, like Mária Mikrovszky, Lili Kállai and Sára Berczik on their winding way but this, of course, does not mean that other followers of the art of movement did not act in the same or similar way. Mária Mirkovszky (1896-1987) was a disciple and later teacher in the Dienes School and scored great success on several occasions in the performances of the School of Orchestics. Between 1920 and 1923 she - while Valéria Dienes was in emigration - took care of the school by teaching and holding performances. In 1924 she went on a study tour to Paris and, when back in Budapest, she opened her own school and co-operated with other art-of-movement schools. In 1925, for instance, she WEB: HTTP://WWW.ORKESZTIKA.HU, HTTP://WWW.MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU, E-MAIL: ALAPITVANY@MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU,
co-operated with Olga Szentpál in teaching the dances of the opera Sulamit. She maintained her school until the late forties and then, after the banning of the art-of-movement form of dance, she gave private lessons to her pupils. She was one of the few who did not "change profession" but went on teaching art of movement in her private flat under the name of artistic training or some other name in addition to ballet or gymnastics. One of the "clandestine" schools was the "ballet collective" on Jókai Square where Mária Mirkovszky and Magda Rózsa started to teach real orchestics again in the seventies and restored old choreographies. They held a graduation performance in 1983 and even gave TV interviews. The fact that orchestics survived during the period of prohibition should be ascribed largely to her activity. Mirkovszky's best known disciple is Mária Tatai, Erzsébet Heltai, Ágnes Osztrogonácz, Erzsébet Tamás. Lili Kállai (Lilly Klein 1900-996), having graduated as a pianist from the Music Academy of Budapest, got acquainted with the Dalcroze method and opened a course in 1920. She went abroad on further study tours (learning from Valeria Kratina, Rosalia Chladek etc.) and opened her own school in 1922 which operated until 1950. Lili Kállai arranged several dance nights in the Pest Redoute and in the Academy of Music dancing together with her pupils. Thanks to her many-sided technique and slender figure she had great success in Mozart's Gavotte, in Pierrot's dance in Schumann's six-part Carnival, in the eastern Temple Dance (music by Lajos Ákos) and a Devil's Dance to Chopin. The charming Midinette of Paris (Beethoven) was always a sure success. Together with her pupils she frequently danced the six-part Davidbündler (Schumann) and the trio Danse des Mirlitons (Tchaikovsky). This repertoire was shown by her dance group organized in 1928 in Budapest and at Pécs, and her teacher training group excelled in their graduation performance in 1929 in which Elza Brandeisz earned particular credit for her "classically beautiful dancing". Kállai's artist training group gave a successful performance in 1930 with Mucy Balázsfalvy, another leading solo dancer in the Kállai group. Dances of major format were the dance drama called The Origin of Colours (1930, m. Liszt) and the pantomime Bridge Inaugurated, interpreting a ballad by J. Arany to m. by Endre Székely. In the former the colours of nature changed from daybreak to sunset. The Sun's yellow rays filled the stage giving life to nature, which turned into green. The red sunset was followed by black. In the Bridge Inaugurated the characters moved on the upper level and the veiled group underneath imitated the movement of the waves. It is worth mentioning Debussy's Boite á Joujoux composed for both children and adults and the nine-voice Foot Rhythms staged with a growing number of dancers accompanied with stamping, hand-clapping, banging with bamboo and wood sticks (shown in the thirties). After the war Lili Kállai was among the first to resume educational and artistic work in the art-of-movement style and to take initiatives along this line together with Elza Brandeisz but they soon had to realize that the official authorities again started to disapprove of modern trends in dance. This time they considered them as "remnants of capitalism" which should not be tolerated. Lili Kállai was among those who went on fighting longest for preserving the art of movement practices against the prohibition . Lili Kállai's best known disciples were Mucy Balázsfalvy, Sára Berczik, Elza Brandeisz, Mária Feuer, Ágnes Gelencsér (Mrs Körtvélyes), Henriette Hauser (dr. Abád), Marianne Sas, Zsuzsa Szekeres (Mrs Szakasits), and Jolán Szende. Sára Berczik (Miskolc, 1906 - Bp. 1999) was the pupil of Karola Perczel at Debrecen and of Emilia Nirschy in Budapest until 1921 when she went abroad to study with Ellen Tels, Valeria Kratina and Grete Wiesenthal. Having graduated as a pianist and singer from the Budapest Academy of Music she opened her art-of-movement school in Budapest (1932-1949) teaching and composing dances for her pupils. To illustrate the harmonious coexistence of music and dance let us quote the graduation performance of her school in 1941. After the first part called The World of Children she showed how
music forms (e.g. canon, rondo), musical genres (lyrical, comical), musical styles (e.g. spinning, swinging) and rhythmical improvisation are reflected in dance. In the post-war years her dance group took part in several estrade performances of the National Theatre and she composed all dances for the Midsummer Night's Dream. In addition she taught short genre pictures, type sketches for the solo performances of her disciples. A few examples: Floating Autumn Leaves (m. Kodály), Sensation (m. Ibert) presenting a news-boy, and Animism, a prehistoric religious mood, for Susanna Egri (Zsuzsa Egri) in 1946, the Gothic Choral (m. Bach), the Gnome (m. Musorsky), the Devil's Laughter (m. Paganini) for Ágnes Szöllősi and many others. Between 1948 and 1951 she and her group were engaged at the Music Hall of the Capital where she carried on her choreographic work and then worked at the Comedy Theatre until 1954. In 1949 artistic gymnastics was included into the curriculum of the College for Physical Education and Sára Berczik was appointed to teach and develop this new dance genre (in fact partly her line of art of movement) named rhythmical sports gymnastics (RSG) in 1953 and qualified as an independent branch of sport in 1958. As leading trainer of the national team of female gymnasts she taught artistic gymnastics until 1978 and became the artistic director of the Buda Dance Club. She was also a founding member of the Hungarian Society for Movement Culture re-established in 1993 and became an important teacher of methodology in the courses of training art-of-movement teachers. Some of her best-known disciples are Éva E. Kovács, Zsuzsa Egri, Klára Hajós, Ágnes Szöllősi, Judit Vidor (Mrs Kármán), Márk Fenyves, István Pálosi etc.
2. 3. The Banning and Rebirth of Modern Dance (Relying on research by Márk Fenyves) Art of movement in Hungary was - more than once exposed to situations threatening survival: first in the twenties, owing to its wide popularity, and menacing the interests of the College of Physical Education recently set up. In the thirties, the theatrical activities of Alice Madzsar's school were declared "politically "undesirable", and the school had to be closed. Later the work in several schools was made impossible by the anti-Jewish laws. In the late forties unprecedented decrees were issued almost dooming art of movement to extinction for political and ideological reasons. Schools in general relied on income from pupils and there was no state support: The possibility of going on teaching had to be applied from year to year in the Ministry of the Interior. (This may sound somewhat strange since in our days the supervision of teaching is the responsibility of the Authorities of Education and Culture but in those days the dance schools were subject to the regulations of the Ministry of the Interior supervising public behaviour and assembly.) In addition, the educational structure was also organized in an unusual way: The so-called "State Training Course" had originally been created for training dance masters (which meant teachers of social dances) and later the teaching of art of movement and of ballet was also assigned to this course. The State was no partner for raising the training of dance to higher levels. *** After WWII practically everybody immediately set to work in teaching, in artistic activities and in the administration of the unions (except for dr. Valéria Dienes who did not reopen her school but devoted her time to summing up the theory and history of her movement system with a view to having it published).Many had the feeling that the time had come for the art-of-movement people to realize their dreams of many years. According to documents and reminiscences part of the profession was emberaced by a younger generation. In the new situation it was difficult to tell what formal framework would better suit further activities: would a society do or would a trade union had a better chance as a more contemporary form? One of the objectives was to introduce art-of-movement into public education and to establish an Art of Movement Academy for training artists and teachers in higher education. In the first post-war years enquiries were made about the possibility of joining an existing institutions of higher education like the College of Physical Education, that of Dramatic Arts or the Music Academy. As a first step the Art-of-movement Department of the Teachers' Trade Union was formed on 22 May 1945 with 32 members (running up to 92 by August). The Department with such a wide representation discussed the following issues: a/ Let the schools develop a uniform common system and teach it; b/ Teachers of art of movement would best be WEB: HTTP://WWW.ORKESZTIKA.HU, HTTP://WWW.MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU, E-MAIL: ALAPITVANY@MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU,
taught at the Institute of Physical Education; c/ art of movement should also be taught in primary schools; d/ if the Arts Council declines any approach, let the art-of-movement people join the Music Council or the Council of Actors: e/ healing gymnastics should be transferred to the medical line... etc. As far as teacher trainig is concerned, all that could be achieved was that Decree no.1561500/1945. of the Ministry of the Interior (of 30 October 1945) re-established the National Art-ofmovement Teacher Training Course with a curriculum of three years. This institution issued also diplomas to those whose training had been interrupted by the war and who were ready to finish. The elections of August 1947 were followed by a series of events leading to a turning point, namely to the issue of teaching and practicing art of movement or of liquidating it. The events of the subsequent years: November 1947: The meeting of the trade unions suggested to introduce art of movement as well as folk dance into public education. As to teacher training, it was proposed to co-operate with the Society of Dancers and to transfer art of movement from the Ministry of the Interior to the Ministry of Culture. 1947: Olga Szentpál discontinued her school. March 10, 1948: György Pálfy, acting vice-president of the Society of Movement Culture resigned since he felt there was a trend to move towards folk dance and physical education instead of trying to achieve independence for art of movement. 1948: At a meeting of the Hungarian Workers' Party on the problems of dance the Society of Dancers was recognized as "top organ" in the field of dance art. December 6, 1948: The National Art-of-Movement Teacher Training Course was terminated by Decree no. 637440/1948 BM of the Minister of the Interior. 1949: As a result of negotiations with the Society of Dancers, the supervision of the State Training Course (abolished by that time) was transferred to the Ministry of Religion and Public Education (Dept. of Arts). Besides, a department on dance management, led by Olga Szentpál, was organized in the College of Dramatic Arts and training took a turn toward folk dance April 25, 1949: The General Assembly of the Society for Movement Culture unanimously decided to liquidate the Society. December 7, 1949: A "College of Dance Art" with a department for primary dance training and one for training dance teachers on an intermediate level was created by Decree 8399/1949 (256) of the Minister for Popular Education. This decree makes no mention of training art-of-movement teachers or choreographers. September 1950: The State Ballet Institute was created by uniting the College of Dance Art and the Ballet School of the Opera. After the dissolution of the Art of Movement Society, the Art-of-Movement Department of the Teachers' Trade Union remained the last resort where Lili Kállay fought the battles with the Society of Dancers which had the upperhand. This ended by being dissolved after fierce debates and expression of self-criticism. 1950-51: Debates on the professional value of art of movement went on in the Society of Dancers: Some of the members looked upon art of movement as bourgeois formalism, as a characteristic trend of imperialism. They called for ideological "re-education". These debates prompted many art-of-movement dancers and teachers to abandon the profession and eventually led to the banning of this form of art. Several professionals changed to other fields, like health care, healing gymnastics, sports activities and so on. The theatrical side of the art of movement disappeared but the theoretical considerations, its spirit and practices went on living. In the 60-ies and 70-ies the interest of experts again turned toward art of movement. Some important publications of Valéria Dienes, Zsuzsa Merényi and others came to be published in these years. Dienes wrote about the theory of the art of movement and the articles of L. Merényi dealt with some aspects of its history. In the mid-70-ies Iván Vitányi's television interview with Valéria Dienes gave an impetus to the revival of art of movement and the Mirkovszky line of the Dienes School reappeared and revived. Mirkovszky's pupil, Mária Tatai was the first to stage an art-of-movement production called Antique Festival (1987) and founded the Society of Contemporary Orchestics (1994) for teaching and WEB: HTTP://WWW.ORKESZTIKA.HU, HTTP://WWW.MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU, E-MAIL: ALAPITVANY@MOZDULATMUVESZET.HU,
artistic activities. Upon the initiative of dance historian Gedeon Dienes the Orchestics Foundation (Orkesztika Alapítvány) was founded in 1991 to give a framework to new tendencies in traditional modern dance. Another company - the Hungarian Art of Movement Company - 1 More Movement Theatre - was founded in 1995 by Márk Fenyves and István Pálosi whose first work Desire Variations, relying on Hungarian modern-dance traditions, was premiered in 1998 and was followed by other productions like Without Wings, Ritual, etc. as well as by reconstructions like Expecting Dawn (by V. Dienes from 1925) and Etudes (by S. Berczik from the 40-ies). The above educational and artistic activities are part and parcel of the many-sided contemporary Hungarian dance life reflecting the impacts of several modern western trends and embracing characteristic national features.
History of Hungarian art of movement -dr. Dienes Gedeon (2001)
Published on Dec 31, 2000
History of Hungarian art of movement -dr. Dienes Gedeon (2001)