Participant in the Millennium Miracle – the VII.

I joined the Béla Bartók Dance Ensemble in 1970, before that I was a competition gymnast. I came to them when we witnessed fundamental changes in the entire folk dance movement. The Bartók Ensemble was considered to be the central workshop for the teaching and learning of radical transformation and a completely new approach to folk dance. This new method is connected to the name of Sándor Timár, “Mesti”, and when Béla Halmos and Ferenc Sebő joined the movement, the joint work was completed. The excellence of this group was also supported by such excellences as the poet Sándor Csoóri, the poet László Nagy and the film director Ferenc Kósa. As a result of the research, improvisation came to the fore, Sándor’s partner in this was Martin György. Old film excerpts were silabulated, viewed a hundred times, and met with informants. The dance house movement was also based on this new folklorist method and spread throughout the country. Young people came to the events from the street, where they were taught the grammar of Hungarian folk dance. This “mother tongue” was also calculated in the Bartók Ensemble, and the work itself was built on this.

Our own work is very busy, so in this environment the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble was not well mentioned, although it was the number one professional ensemble in the country. Of course, the name of Miklós Rábai was considered a standard, I knew him well from Hungarian Television, the programs of the band were also shown by the only channel at that time.

Filmmaker (Sándor Timár and Böske) Photo: János Eifert

We later got in closer contact with the ensemble when they asked three choreographers, Ferenc Novák, Antal Kricskovics and Sándor Timár, to compile a three-part, full-length program. The performance was staged in April 1980 at the Operetta Theater Folk dance suite is associated with. We are happy to recall this “guest play,” and it turned out to be very useful later on, as the band was able to learn about the style of other choreographers, and we gained more in-depth information about the company’s work and ability.

This small episode also contributed to Sándor being invited in 1981 to replace the deceased Dezső Létai, the artistic director of the ensemble. He thought a lot about the answer, in his opinion it would have been luckier if they thought about it earlier – immediately after the death of Miklós Rábai. He still lived as an honor, but a fundamental problem accompanied him for years: Sándor was a non-partisan. Remember, in January 1981, this was still an important consideration. “If I need knowledge, I like it, but don’t impose conditions on me. ” – was the poet of ars. He met Sándor Csoóri several times, and the then Minister of Culture, Imre Pozsgay, professed the same principles as the former, and the latter – perceiving the political changes – was no longer very interested in Sándor’s orientation.

Sándor Timár considered the invitation to be a real professional challenge, although the ensemble was completely left out of the improvisational new spirit outlined above. Pozsgay also relied on Alexander because he felt that the country’s first professional ensemble needed to understand the word of the times.

The choreography of Kalotaszeg is being prepared Photo: Péter Korniss

The “entry” was not smooth in many ways. I also arrived with Sándor in 1981, but even then the new leader was able to meet many of the students of the State Ballet Institute among the members of the ensemble. They were already raised in the new spirit – Zoltán Zsuráfszky, Zoltán Farkas, Miklós Végső, Ildikó Németh and Mária Zorándi – and they were very much looking forward to their former teacher. They formed the base and also contracted several of the Bartók Ensemble. The other half of the ensemble, on the other hand, was a “Rábai dancer,” and most of them were past the end of their artistic careers. The method represented by the new leader seemed alien to them and they were afraid of change. At the same time, they knew they had no choice, and only they could lose if they didn’t adapt. Sándor was able to handle this conflict situation with great patience, and his age and experience all helped to resolve more difficult situations. Rather, he showed impatience on the part of his former disciples, who envisioned a more radical change, and also expressed their views. The new leader thus had to create and channel the result of four vectors – his distinctive concept, his working method, the rejection core staff and the impatience of the young people. I must note, both groups were made up of excellent dancers; there were no problems with knowledge, with attitude. Another source of problems was the traditional unity of the dance troupe, choir and gypsy band. For example, we are used to a “peasant band”, we have performed in the best folk music ensembles in the country, and world-famous ensembles such as the Musician have grown out of them. The performance of the authentic dances with the aforementioned band and choral painting was very foreign.

The invitation to the first American tour arrived very soon, the first all-night show, the Wedding – with the not at all united company – even then. There were changes, for example, when Sándor contracted a band of traditional folk musicians. In retrospect, it was a real novelty to stage an authentic Hungarian folk music production in such circumstances. Otherwise, the band’s success numbers, such as Ecseri is wedding, remained in the repertoire throughout, I performed on the Buda Park Stage on Margaret Island myself, and we also renewed the piece on an anniversary in Rábai – and with the dance troupe that had already been replaced at that time. New works like Confessions of folk dance, a Tánckaláka and that I left my beautiful country however, they reflected Sándor’s concept, and the audience’s success did not lag behind.

Over time, much was resolved, the oldest generation gradually changed, and as my husband continued to teach at the ballet institute, he filled the status of the departed with his most talented students, bringing excellent artists from the countryside as well. In 1985, the members of the choir formed the basis of the National Choir, which was formed during the stay.

We were very often invited to perform abroad. I was able to take part in three three-month-old American performances, and we were also welcome in major cities in Europe and the Far East. The continuous coexistence also had an excellent effect on the habituation of the company. The holiday of March 15 has always “fallen” into long American tours. Wherever we went, the Hungarians welcomed us and pampered the guests. I think others also remember the old tradition, the so-called show funeral. We always included something unusual in our last performance abroad, for which Sándor was very angry. It was memorable in Moscow when the boys were sent back to spin, and the blow to Satu Mare was performed by the girls. I note we practiced a lot in front of him so he didn’t look like an improviser. The audience raged, Sándor alone sitting in the auditorium with a grim face, sliding lower and lower in his chair. At other times, at the dance in Kalocsa – in a more intense movement – my slippers flew among the audience. The audience watched with interest where the footwear landed, and I snatched the dance on the stage in half-slippers.

I was an observer of myself – and as an active participant as a dancer, assistant and wife – I was able to solve this process, but it caused a lot of headaches. My husband only took the lead if he could work with me. The Bartók Ensemble was a united community of friends and families, with many dancers, very young, we got there together and grew up together. This friendship continues to this day. Moving from this “nest heat” to a mixed ensemble also meant a radical change for me. At the same time, as the wife of an artistic director, I was aware that I was always restrained, humble, so I quickly made friends too.

Wedding (Bride: Timár Böske) Photo: Péter Korniss

What made it difficult for me was that I often had to divorce my children — four of my five children were born at this time — for extended periods of time. The gyed and gyes provided a lot of help to the expectant mothers at this time, but Sándor, the artist, the creator expected me to stand by him. The family came together for me, I owe the most to my mother and brothers, but we could also count on a number of outside helpers. I also used to mention to my husband that I had made a lot of sacrifices on the altar of his art.

We left the band in 1996, and although Sándor was still full of creativity, he retired. In my husband’s concept, he also wanted to express everything on stage with the dance, the pure source. On the other hand, the company has developed a more theatrical approach, operating with frame stories, dramaturgical elements, sets and various effects. “Move on”- the innovation was driven, and Sándor’s old disciples became partners for this, so they parted ways. His departure, in retrospect, was in our favor. Back in the band, in 1993, I created the predecessor of the Star-Eye Dance Pedagogy Workshop called Rainbow. The recording was announced in the theater hall on Corvin Square, and then the age limit was set for five-year-olds, and television and radio helped a lot in the recruitment. Eventually, we started the movement with half a hundred children, but by the end of the season, the number had tripled. This could no longer be operated within the ensemble, so we already led his work with Sándor under the name Csillagszemű Children’s Dance Ensemble. When Sándor got rid of the ensemble, he also set out to teach the youth with great vigor. In the year before the epidemic, we were already able to deal with eight hundred young people. The most talented of them, as well as many members of the ensemble, were able to continue working in the Timár Chamber Dance Ensemble. For Sándor, this meant complete continuity in the creative work. The Timár method soon became popular at home and abroad, and Sándor took an active part in education until the age of eighty-five.

He perfectly fulfilled the task entrusted to him by Imre Pozsgay. “My person and work later confirmed my positive expectations The former protégé said in an interview. – It has never been disputed to me that he is the real intellectual strength of the Hungarian folk ensemble. ”

Indeed, Sándor Timár stood in a critical period, an art era is mentioned by name, and with his pioneering role he also helped the lives of his descendants.

Cover image: Portrait of Sándor Timár, 90 years old (Photo: Mátyás Timár)

Source: Magyar Nemzet by

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