Friday, 30 December 2016

ARTICLE: #FlashbackFriday Dancing Times bbodance rebrand and launch parties

This summer I wrote a short and sweet industry article for the Dancing Times about bbodance (formerly The British Ballet Organization), and their recent rebrand and summer launch parties.

Take a peek below!

Maya Pindar

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

CASE STUDY: Eszter Szalma & Hungarian Social Dance

This September my boyfriend and I joined my best friend Eszter and her partner Tamas to see them get married- Hungarian style. Eszter and I met at University of Roehampton, where we studied together and later travelled to the US to train at Goucher College as Dance Majors. So being one of Eszter's bridesmaids, visiting her hometown- and of course getting involved in Hungarian dance was amazing!

Photo credit: Arpad Molnar

A bit about Eszter...

Eszter is from the small town of Algyő in southern Hungary. She loves gardening, baking and above all, dancing. With her twin brother Adam, Eszter learnt Hungarian folk dance from the age of six. The classes focused on rhythm, musicality and community using traditional games, singing and creative tasks. From here, Eszter moved to ballroom, latin and ballet in her teenage years. Moving to London in her late teens, Eszter pursued formal dance training, which she found at West Thames College and University of Roehampton.

Photo credit: Zoltán Csenki

Hungarian dance...

Nowadays Hungarian community dance is usually only seen at weddings and special occasions when families come together to celebrate. However, for the generations that preceded Eszter and Tamas's generation, social dance was an important part of Hungarian culture. Social dances and balls were a place for communities to come together and for new romances to ignite. Eszter describes most Hungarian dance forms as typically including clicking fingers, slapping knees and singing. Additionally, Csárdás, a traditional folk dance that is often seen at weddings is characterised by a side-step. In rural areas of Hungary, gypsy influences are still visible in these dances- look out for shoulder shaking, clicking and fast rocking hips.

Photo credit: Arpad Molnar

Some Hungarian wedding reception customs...

  • Breaking bread - the bride and groom break a large ribbon of bread, who ever breaks the largest part will "wear the trousers" in the marriage

  • The red dress - half way through the night the bride changes into a red dress, to symbolise her new life

  • Throwing the bouquet - the bride throws her bouquet of flowers over her head. Like in English weddings, the lucky bridesmaid to catch the bride's bouqet will be the next to get married

  • Throwing the garter - after retrieving the garter from the bride's leg, the groom throws the garter over his shoulder and the lucky man to catch it will be the next to get married

  • The bride dance - also known as the money dance, the father of the bride or the best man will announce that the bride is for sale! Guests will then drop money into a hat or a bucket, to pay for the privilege to dance with the bride for a few minutes. The money will help the couple pay for their honeymoon and their new life together.

Photo credit: Arpad Molnar

So, what was the main aim of Eszter's wedding.... To dance till dawn!

Many of the guests told us that Hungarian wedding parties will often continue well into the morning. To give the guests an energy boost, a midnight breakfast is served at around 2am. Beef goulash, chicken paprikás and stuffed cabbage are some of the dishes that you might see at a Hungarian wedding,

Eszter and Tamas organised a folk band for the wedding, so after another shot of Pálinka (traditional fruit brandy, also known as Firewater in the UK) the dance floor is full again. The men kneel to slap the floor, encouraging Eszter to dance faster and sing louder. The women snap their fingers and bounce to the band. 

At 5am the sun is starting to rise, but the wedding reception is still in full swing. 

Photo credit: Zoltán Csenki