Forgatós in Canada

by Diana Lynch, photos by Katalin Séfel

After a two-year hiatus, the 44th Western Canadian Hungarian Folk Festival was held in Vancouver, British Columbia from October 6 -10, 2022 and was a huge success! The festival was totally jam-packed with performances, participatory workshops, and evening “táncház”-es.

Kicking off the weekend was a special performance by the Togetherness Dance Ensemble (Összetartozás Táncegyüttes), entitled Where Will this Train Take Us? This ensemble featured performers from Hungarian folk-dance groups from across Canada, in a first of its kind presentation of the history of Hungary, from the 1848 Hungarian Freedom Fight, through the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the 1920 Treaty of Trianon, to the 1956 Revolution, and into modern day Hungary. With choreography by Ignac Kadar and Anett Nagypál and a live musical score by the Zagyva Banda, this was a one-of-a-kind event. Three hundred fifty people attended this show.

During the following days there was an amazing assortment of adult and kids dance workshops, and singing workshops. The adult workshops were taught by Zoltan Gémesi, the artistic director of the Pozsony Szőttes Kamara Ensemble and Anna Sarolta Endrődi, teaching at an art school. The kids’ workshops were taught by Ignac Kadar, artistic director of the Ajka-Padragkut dance group and Lili Fudák-Kaszai, instructor and artistic director of the Angyalföldi Vardrózsa Dance Ensemble of Budapest.  At night, there were both kids’ ”táncház”-es followed by the adult “táncház”-es with music provided by both Zagyva Banda from Hungary and Forras Banda from our area. 

There were two special performances during the event. The first was the WCHFF Gala show, attended by 200 people. Forgatos was honored and well-received as the first non-Canadian group to be invited to perform in this Gala, along with dance groups from across Canada. We performed a Mezőség suite, choreographed by Tibor Horvárth. His choreography contained elements specific to a variety of villages, including Magyarszovát, Palatka, Mezőkeszü, and Visa. We also performed two “négyes”-es, one from Magyarszovát and one from Palatka. It was such pleasure to be invited to this festival and perform in front of an appreciative audience that understood the hard work that went into our dance performance. The second performance was one put on by Zagyva, also attended by 200 people. Both shows were amazing!

All in all, this festival was an epic gathering of Hungarian folk dancers and musician which showcased the rich Hungarian culture! Truly, it was a magical event!

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