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Review: Hungarian State Folk Dance Ensemble



Visually sumptuous, emotionally and intellectually engaging, this troupe of dancers, musicians and singers displayed the exhilarating fabric of Hungarian Rhapsody: Gypsy Romance through music, movement, traditional clothing and creative staging.

This fast-paced program showed the variety and dynamics of folk expressions from across centuries and distinctive groups. Yet unique as these rhythms and patterns are to people of Central Europe, there are recognizable comparisons with Celtic, Mediterranean and Far Eastern folk traditions, particularly for the instruments that are integral to the stories of the dances.

Violin, bass, clarinet and flute were joined by the less recognizable concert cimbalom (hammered dulcimer) and percussive cello. Of special note was the musical interlude showcasing Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies played in a traditional Gypsy band style.

The printed program rightfully calls attention to the "acrobatics of the men's dances, the lyricism of the women's movements, and the virtuosity of couples' dances." One goes home feeling "the tumultuous rhythms."


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