Hungarian Folk Arts Event


Sunday, March 16, 2014
1:30 pm - 3:30 pm


As part of our Folk Arts Series and in partnership with Balassi Institute – Hungarian Cultural Center, New York, come celebrate Hungarian National Day on Sunday, March 16, 2014 from 1:30-3:30pm at Pelham Art Center.  Listen to Fényes Band play authentic music from Hungarian villages and towns and watch traditional Hungarian dancers!  Learn the traditional Hungarian art form of egg decoration in a hands-on art-making workshop. This colorful, culture-rich event is free and open to the public. Join us to learn more about the Folk Arts of Hungary!

Hungarian National Day is celebrated annually on March 15th to recognize the Revolution of 1848, which led to the independence of the Hungarian Kingdom from the Austrian Empire.  Festivities typically include music and dance. We continue this tradition on March 16 with Fényes Band playing Hungarian music from the Kalotaszeg, Mezoseg and Kukulloment areas of Transylvania, Romania, the Sarkoz area of Hungary, and the Magyarbod area of Slovakia. Improvisation is often mentioned as being characteristic of Hungarian dance. The peasant dance is not one which is set absolutely according to rule; the dancers Michelle Sólyom, Andrea Kalán, Zoltán Sólyom, and István Kosbor will construct their steps according to their mood and ingenuity.

At Pelham Art Center, we will also include an egg decorating workshop led by Ildiko Nagy. There are several decorating techniques including “etching” the eggs, applying metal horseshoes to the delicate eggs, or painting colorful motifs on the eggs using paintbrushes. However, the most widely known, down-to-earth natural technique is wax resist dying. This egg decorating technique is well-known from the Carpathian basin as far as the Urals. Wax is applied to the surface according to a pattern to prevent dye from coloring the egg. After coloration, the wax is removed and the pattern is revealed. The technique can be used to create monochrome and multicolored eggs. Wax resist dying technique will be presented at our interactive workshop.

More about Fényes Band

Fényes Band formed in 2012 and consists of friends who met through the Hungarian/Transylvanian folk dance and music communities of New York, New Jersey and Boston. Fényes Band is currently the only band playing Hungarian folk music in New York City.  They learn mostly from field recordings, and also from some of the greatest players of this music, who still keep the traditions of the Carpathian Basin.

Members are Claire Bright – violin, Janos Perge – violin, George Kalan – kontra, and Katalin Harsaczki – vocals.

More about Traditional Folk Dancing

According to György Martin, a prominent folklore expert, Hungarian dances can be divided into two categories. The first refers to dances performed in the Middle Ages while the second relates to the 18th and 19th century.

The most important stylistic feature of the dance within the Carpathians is the unusually large amount of personal improvisation. Observers have never failed to notice the individual nature of the Hungarian dance during the previous two centuries. This dancing is individual to such an extent that it is often difficult for scholars to establish the communal laws regulating individual creativity and improvising. Folk dance research has shown that this individuality is not merely poetic license, but genuine features.

Some typical Hungarian dances:

Ugrós (Jumping dances): Old style dances dating back to the Middle Ages. Solo or couple dances accompanied by old style music, shepherd and other solo man’s dances from Transylvania, and marching dances along with remnants of medieval weapon dances belong in this group.

Karikázó: a circle dance performed by women only accompanied by singing of folksongs.

Csárdás: New style dances developed in the 18th and 19th centuries is the Hungarian name for the national dances, with Hungarian embroidered costumes and energetic music. From the men’s intricate bootslapping dances to the ancient women’s circle dances, Csárdás demonstrates the infectious exuberance of the Hungarian folk dancing still celebrated in the villages.

Verbunkos: a solo man’s dance evolved from the recruiting performances of the Austro-Hungarian army.

Legényes: is a men’s solo dance done by the ethnic Hungarian people living in the Kalotaszeg region of Transylvania. Although usually danced by young men, it can be also danced by older men. The dance is performed freestyle usually by one dancer at a time in front of the band. Women participate in the dance by standing in lines to the side and sing/shout verses while the men dance. Each lad does a number of points (dance phrases) typically 4 to 8 without repetition. Each point consists of 4 parts, each lasting 4 counts. The first part is usually the same for everyone (there are only a few variations).

The dance-house (or Táncház) movement, which emerged in the early 1970s, has helped to reinvent the institution of the village dance in urban areas and to disseminate the practice of authentic folk dancing with live musical accompaniment. There are now dance enthusiasts in places as widespread as Argentina, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States, all of whom appreciate Hungarian dancing because of its technical and improvisational complexity.

More about egg decorating

There are a lot of interesting folk customs still alive all over Hungary. Many of them are connected with religious holidays, while others have older origins, from early, sometimes prehistoric years.  Painting and decorating Easter eggs also has  a long history. The first remains of decorated eggs were found in the Carpathian Basin, in Hungary in an Avar grave, which is about 1500 years old.

The special role of eggs – namely that they seem dead but a living creature comes out of them after a period of time – might have led to the idea to attach symbolic meanings to them. The symbols of Easter eggs are all in connection with the universe, birth, fertility, revival, health, fortune, richness and of course love.


Pelham Art Center   155 Fifth Avenue   Pelham, NY 10803   914-738-2525   [email protected]

Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 10–5pm; Saturday, 10–4pm

Directions: Located 5 blocks from the Hutchinson Parkway exit 12 and 2 blocks from the Metro North Pelham stop


These events and programs are made possible, in part, by the ArtsWestchester with funds from Westchester County Government. Pelham Art Center also receives funding from: New York State Council on the Arts, A State Agency; Westchester Jewish Community Services; hibu; Nurses Network of America; Town of Pelham; New Rochelle Campership Fund; Bistro Rollin; Robin’s Art+Giving; Nycon; Junior League of Pelham, Prospect Hill Lunchtime Enrichment; Mark Link Insurance; Broadway Electric, Owen Berkowitz; Members; and Annual Fund Donors.

Event Location and Ticket Information

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Pelham Art Center
155 Fifth Ave
Pelham, NY
Handicap Accessible? Yes

Date: Sunday, March 16, 2014
Times: 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Ticket pricing:
Free event
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Presenter: Pelham Art Center
Presenter Phone: 914-738-2525

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