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Csárdás! The Tango of East -- Budapest Ensemble - Budapest Táncegyüttes Tour - Csárdás Bio

 Csárdás Bio


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Csárdás! The Tango of the East




The Tango of the East

Two hundred years ago, a new dance fashion took Central Europe by storm - the 'Csárdás' [char-dasch]. In the midst of the innumerable gentle court dances for the nobility (the waltz, the quadrilles and polkas), came a dance by the people, based on thousand year old traditions, accompanied by the fiery music of famous gypsy virtuoso musicians.

The exciting Csárdás became symbol of the revolution against foreign oppression and was feared by the establishment. Never was there a dance which was so majestic and graceful, then so robust and dynamic.

Csárdás! - The Tango of the East, featuring Zoln Zsuráfszki's BUDAPEST ENSEMBLE, s an extravaganza of authentic dance, music and song, celebrating one of the most exciting folkloric developments from Central Europe. The Csárdás is a free spirited dance which starts out slow - sometimes with a men’s solo dance - gradually increasing to an exhilarating speed. The dance form’s popularity climaxed two hundred years ago, however it is still popular today in Central Europe.

Csárdás! - The Tango of the East is a journey through ancient folk tunes and dances which were used as building blocks by the “folk” to reinvent their exciting dance culture. You will marvel at the wonderful variants of the popular Csárdás which may be identified as the national dance of the Hungarians, but greatly influenced other national cultures as well.

Csárdás! - The Tango of the East knows no boundaries: it is danced alone or with one or more partners; it may be danced in a circle or in a line or in three or foursome; it includes every possible turn for the men and women. It is adored by the Hungarians and Slovaks, and lovingly adapted by all the Nations of Central Europe including Romanians, Poles, Croatians and, of course, the Gypsies.

Immensely entertaining, a performance of Csárdás! - The Tango of the East is enlightening as we appreciate how a dance fashion could play such an important role in the development of a traditional art which was treasured, passed down and polished through generations.

The beautiful and engaging music of Csárdás! - The Tango of the East features an exciting Hungarian Gypsy virtuoso violinist whose exquisite music mesmerizes everyone who ever hears it. Although to many the 'roaming gypsy' violinist epitomizes the Central European folk culture, it is a simplistic image. The melodic songs, rooted in thousand year old traditions and presented in their authentic form, inspired great composers like Brahms, Liszt and Shubert, who were fascinated by this new and vigorous music and used it as sources for their compositions. The musical world adores these works and even today they continue to be favorite concert pieces and are sure to inspire American audiences.

The Csárdás, as a fad, may have subsided but it is marvelous how it survived in Central European folk cultures. There are unique and very different manifestations of this dance in a multitude of ethnic cultures, and even within the folklore of one nation, regional differences - which are rooted in uneven cultural development - make the two hundred year old dance and musical form exciting, fresh and amazingly versatile.

Experience the wide range of emotions and visual spectacle of Csárdás! - The Tango of the East as this phenomenon is introduced to American audiences for the very first time.

The BUDAPEST ENSEMBLE is one of the oldest, yet freshest folk ensembles from Central Europe. The Ensemble has performed on every Continent with critical acclaim while presenting Hungarian and other Central European folk cultures. Their previous visits to the North American continent were enjoyed by audiences from Coast to Coast. The current philosophy of the BUDAPEST ENSEMBLE is to present folklore in its most authentic form possible, yet include adaptations to suit the performance requirements of the stage and tailor the presentations to contemporary audiences.

The Artistic Director and solo dancer of the BUDAPEST ENSEMBLE is Zoltán Zsuráfszki, who is the leader of his generation in presenting folkdance on stage. He was fortunate to receive his education during a special period when the Hungarian folklore revival movement was at its highest energy.

He is a graduate of the Hungarian State Ballet Institute, but he has also conducted innumerable field trips to collect fresh material and learn and dance with the last living informants of Hungarian dance. He also made field trips to neighboring countries and learned the dances of the Romanians, Slovaks, Croatians, Poles [Gorals] and Germans. His tour to North America with his earlier Kodály Ensemble was enthusiastically received at all their performances.

Zsuráfszki, as a performer of Hungarian dance, is unsurpassed. He can covey the energy, excitement and authenticity of folkdance to a level which has never been seen before. He is equally respected by audiences on the world stages as by his informants in the distance villages of Transylvania. Zsuráfszki’s ability to convey, with insurmountable energy, the very spirit of folkdance, is unique and extremely rare. He is also an excellent teacher and choreographer who demands the same high standards from the members of his Ensemble as from himself.

The members of the BUDAPEST ENSEMBLE are selected from the best young folkdancers from throughout Central Europe, and they are specially trained by Zsuráfszki until they are ready to tour with the group. All members of the BUDAPEST ENSEMBLE are dedicated to the same ideal of preservation and performance of authentic folkdance at the highest level.

The Musical Arranger of the Csárdás!-The Tango of the East is László Kelemen, who is one of the rare breed of musicians who has complete understanding and knowledge of both classical music as well as authentic folk music. Although he is a composer and prolific arranger of folk music, he is also the Director for the House of Hungarian Heritage which is the most important institution in Hungary committed to the preservation of Hungarian folk culture.

Kelemen is an active musician, an author, a dynamic researcher and producer of authentic folk music recordings. He coordinated n the recent past the largest collection of Hungarian folk music since the early part of this century.