Our heroes

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“You will recognize these classical melodies any time, and you will remember all the nice memories. If you hear the name of Iván Fischer or that the Budapest Festival Orchestra, that of Berci Vári, you will know who they are because you have personally met them, and this does not happen to everyone, this will remain a memory forever. This is what makes you special, and this is very important because you have worked for this.”
Andrea Csenteri, choreographer

Borsod Primary School

242 primary school students come from the villages of Abod, Balajt, Damak, Edelény, Ládbesenyő and Szendrőlád to attend the Borsod Primary School in Edelény, where we are making great strides in teaching them the joys of writing, reading and arithmetic, and helping them overcome their problems.
We have 13 forms, 8 of which board.

What is our school like? According to my colleagues and our students, it’s great.  We expect our students to be industrious, fair, humane, helpful, honest and persistent, and our results in these areas are showing ever more promise. I deliberately neglected to mention excellent academic results and competitive success, even though we have our fair share of both.
Our students and adults alike have the space to make mistakes and have the right to be wrong, as long as they learn from it.
We add colour to school with extracurricular activities like hikes, camps, visits to theatres and cinemas, and sporting events, because without these, everyday school work would be mechanical and uninspiring. In the autumn and the winter, we open the school on Sundays as well for those of our students who want to do sports or train.
Of course we still have our share of conflicts to resolve, what with disobedient students and biased parents, but we see it as a great accomplishment that we are arriving at the same conclusions about the school and education ever more frequently.
You can say and write anything. If you would like to get to know us better, come and visit any of our school events and see for yourselves the truth in the words above.

Head teacher: Bertalan Turóczi

Dancing On The Square contact: Erzsébet Slezsák

Deák Diák Primary School

Our school basis its public profile around singing and folk dancing. Our folk dancers regularly perform at various folk dancing galas. István Szengyel, artistic director of the Deák Diák folk dancers, sets their programme of rehearsals himself. In 2014, Szengyel received the award for Teacher of the Year. Students from the Budapest Singing School attend church services on weekends and take part in afternoon vespers once a week.

Head Teacher: Tamás Farczádi Bencze
Dancing On The Square contact – Dorottya Vidra
“I made sure everyone attended the rehearsals and that the room had the necessary equipment. For the first few rehearsals I stayed from start to finish, until the dance teacher, Zsolt Dénes, and the group got used to one another. We are really happy to be able to take part again this year. Our students can’t wait to find out about the new music and choreography.”

Students’ opinions:
• I was so happy when I learned, last year, that I could be part of Dancing On The Square. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is very beautiful music. Uncle Zsolt practised with us a lot, until we could do the whole dance.
• I liked how they recorded our dancing in the school yard, it meant we also got to see it on TV. The rehearsals were hard but worth it in the end.
• I hope this year’s performance is going to be just as great as last year’s. We were at the press conference, and at first we got a bit scared from the photographers and all the people there, but fortunately Auntie Zsóka and Auntie Dóra, our teachers who came with us, calmed us down and even the first performance was good.

Dr László Szepesi Vocational and Boarding School for Agriculture and Forestry

Our school, the Dr László Szepesi Vocational and Boarding School for Agriculture and Forestry, is a member institution of the Central Hungarian Vocational Training Centre. We can be found in the town of Piliscsaba, halfway between Budapest and Esztergom, in the beautiful foothills of the Pilis. Our school has been operating for over 60 years and offers vocational and technical training in agriculture and transportation; our specialisms include training for agricultural machinists, forestry and game management, florists and forestry workers. We currently have 274 students over 13 classes.
Forestry and mechanical training takes place in the garden and workshops of the school, using the school’s own equipment. To enable practical learning we have a machinery workshop, a forestry machine workshop, a repair and maintenance workshop, a welding station, a workshop for basic metalwork training, a metal cutting workshop and a forge.

Being part of the Erasmus + programme allows our students to take part in professional training in EU countries, where they gain experience and get the chance to practice the English or German they have learnt in our school. We provide students who live far away with dormitory rooms. The dormitories, in the attic of one of the school buildings, can house 80 people. There’s a choice of 2-, 4-, 6- and 8-bed rooms, each with en-suite bathrooms. The lives of our boarders are made more colourful by the library, the theatre, the sports hall and the outdoor sports facilities. We pride ourselves on the good relationship we have with the local municipality and with the other schools and institutions in the town.

Head Teacher and Dancing On The Square contact: Tünde Börzsönyi and György Repka

Dr. János Berze Nagy Primary School

Bogád lies 7 km east of Pécs, in the foothills of the Mecsek mountains. The area in and around Bogád has been inhabited since at least the Roman times. Later the Avars settled here. Remains of an ancient Roman settlement have been unearthed in the village, and the Roman road across Pannonia also crossed through here. In 1331, Walloon settlers populated the village. The first written record of Bogád dates from 1058, when it was part of the Bishop of Pécs’s estate. Destruction brought upon by the Turks in the 1680s depopulated the village for a while, before it was resettled by southern Slavic refugees. At the time of the 1702 census, 4 Hungarian and 3 Croatian families lived here. By 1786 it had become a purely Hungarian village with 79 houses. Today, Bogád has a population of 1,110.
Our institution was founded in 1957 when the old rectory was turned into a school, a small school to be more precise; 150 children now attend our school where they receive a German-centric education. Our students live in Bogád, Nagykozár and Romonya, but a few of them come on school buses from as far away as Berkesd, Pécs and Pereked.

Head Teacher: László Füke (since 2010), chemistry teacher

Dancing On The Square contact: Réka Horváth, physical education teacher. Just like last year, several teachers will be accompanying the children.
“During last year’s 3-hour-long trip, a party mood quickly developed on the coach. It was great that parents and relatives could also go with the children to Budapest. This way they also got the chance to do some sightseeing in the capital. The rehearsals took place amidst a great atmosphere and the children could get to know each other during practice. They were already proudly wearing their official gift shirts to the dress rehearsal. The children became not only dancers and listeners, but also spectators to this wonderful classical concert. It was a world-class, wonderful musical experience – real art for everyone. The children were very happy about the hoots and whistles they received after the performance, and also that they could take home a Festival Orchestra cardboard chair each as a memory. When we started our trip back afterwards they were tired, but oh so happy.” – Réka Horváth

Ferenc Rákóczi II Primary, Secondary and Vocational School

Our school is located in Nógrád county, in the city of Szécsény. Szécsény is a beautiful small town with pretty and unique buildings – the Forgách palace and the crooked Fire Tower, or the Catholic church where Rákóczi himself used to pray, speak for themselves. Our institution was named after him.
Our school has a friendly, family atmosphere. We offer interesting extracurricular study groups to introduce students to the likes of lace-making, arts and crafts, basketball, floorball, football, modern dance, swimming, choral singing, recorder playing, and board games such as draughts, Nine Men’s Morris, chess, mancala, reversi and ‘Don’t step on the Grass!’.
The school provides a variety of both outdoor and indoor activities, such as theatre, opera, zoo visits, horse riding school, scavenger hunts, scientific presentations, intra-school competitions, student-teacher games, paper collection and ‘Haunted School’. We try to take every opportunity to create as many different activity programmes as possible, so we were delighted when, in the 2014-15 school year, the Budapest Festival Orchestra got in contact with us and arranged for our students to dance in Heroes’ Square.

Head Teacher: Gergely Pancsovai

Dancing On The Square contact: Mrs Judit Juscsák (née Kovács)

“I love this opportunity because it teaches children that, by putting in a lot of work and going through all the rehearsals, in the end they will be able to show the fruits of their labours at a fantastic event.
Dancing On The Square, and the road to it, was an incredible experience for the kids. When Bertalan Vári visited the school in person it helped greatly in preventing kids from dropping out. This year, many of those same children were the first to apply and they can hardly wait for the dance in June. The day in Budapest was crowded but really eventful. After the rehearsal they gave interviews for the official video and to a radio station, they met the sponsors backstage and the performance in front of all the cameras gave them a fantastic, cathartic feeling. They were so excited, but also a little preoccupied as they struggled to grasp what they were about to be a part of. The whole event, the well-organised and not-overly-serious classical concert, was their favourite topic for days on end; they just kept on talking about it.” – Mrs Judit Juscsák (née Kovács), deputy Head Teacher

“Dancing On The Square, and the road to it, was an incredible experience for the kids. When Bertalan Vári visited the school in person it helped greatly in preventing kids from dropping out. This year, many of those same children were the first to apply and they can hardly wait for the dance in June. The day in Budapest was crowded but very eventful. After the rehearsal they gave interviews for the official video and to a radio station, they met the sponsors backstage and the performance in front of all the cameras gave them a fantastic, cathartic feeling. They were so excited, but also a little preoccupied as they struggled to grasp what they were about to be a part of. The whole event, the well-organised and not-overly-serious classical concert, was their favourite topic for days on end; they just kept on talking about it. They thanked me for pushing them and for the enthusiasm of their dance teacher, Gábor Nagy, who danced with them tirelessly throughout all the rehearsals.

Ágnes Király (7th form): “Thank you for this superb day, we had a really good time. The rehearsal was a little tiring at first, but other than that everything was great. It felt brilliant to stand in front of a lot of people who liked it all, and we were happy that we knew all the moves and that now we’re over it! The rehearsals were very tiring at first, and I didn’t enjoy them too much. It was hard to stay focused for 2 hours, but eventually that, too, got better and it was good to work with the dance instructor. I’ll miss the classes but it was well worth the effort!”

Regina Turbucz (7th form): “I liked it a lot, the amount of practice we had to do paid off in the end. The rehearsals were a little tiring, but so worth it. I hope there will be another dance we can perform in.”

Gábor Klauzál Primary School, Hódmezővásárhely

The Gábor Klauzál Primary School in Hódmezővásárhely is located over three buildings, one which is in Székkutas, a village 20 km from Hódmezővásárhely. The school district includes the farms around the city, plus Susán and Újváros at the outskirts of Hódmezővásárhely. One of our distinctive features is that every day we pick up children from their farms with a school bus. Those children then stay at school the whole day. We currently have 560 students sitting at our desks, a heterogeneous mixture of children from underprivileged backgrounds, children with learning difficulties and children considered talented. The keys to integrated education lie in creating an accepting atmosphere and developing a supportive, child-centred attitude towards teaching. Our basic educational values are trust, tolerance, empathy, consistency, awareness, co-operation and being child-centred. We have developed the colourful and varied educational tool-kit of our institution with all of that in mind.
We believe that the more opportunities we give our children to spend their free time in a useful way, the better their chances of choosing an activity in which they are successful, talented and, last but certainly not least, something with which they are happy.

Head Teacher and Dancing On The Square contact: Mrs István Juhász-Nagy

About Dancing On The Square – “We are delighted to be able to be a part of the Dancing On The Square project. As a legacy of last year’s programme, two of our students have decided to pursue dancing as the focus of their secondary studies.” – Mrs István Juhász-Nagy, head teacher

Gandhi Secondary and Boarding School

The Gandhi Secondary and Boarding School in Pécs is the first ethnic Roma high school in Hungary, and indeed in Europe. It was founded by the Gandhi Foundation in 1994. It was launched with the vital goal of “creating, in the medium term, a substantial number of Roma intellectuals with connections to their people, who would then be able to reconstruct devastated Gypsy communities.” In order to achieve this goal, the Gandhi Foundation – led by teacher Béla Bogdán, then chief government adviser – was already working hard in 1992 to make it possible for the high school to begin to operate and teach mostly Boyash children.
The first potential site was in Kaposvár, but it was in Pécs that the six form high school eventually opened in February 1994. The school’s first head teacher was János Bogdán, a teacher of Hungarian history and philosophy, who also played a decisive role in the school’s founding.
Tuition began with 56 children from towns in the area, who started their studies in a preparatory, i.e. 0th, form. The main goal of the first semester was to lessen the gap in knowledge between the students.
To ensure more reliable funding, the Gandhi Foundation became a public endowment in 1995.
János Bogdán passed away in January 1999; his death was a terrible loss not just for the school but for the whole of Romani public life. Mr. Bogdán’s partner, Erika Csovcsics, took over as head teacher. That was the year the school’s modern sports hall opened and the first batch of students graduated.
The modern school building was finished in 2002, and on the school’s 10th anniversary János Bogdán’s big dream came true; with German support, a modern library and recreational centre opened inside the boarding school building, to the delight of the students.
Since 2002 the secondary school has also offered adult education in the form of correspondence or evening courses.
In the school year 2003-04, we were one of the first to adopt the János Arany Boarding School Programme for children with multiple disadvantages. The school – as an ethnic school – puts a great emphasis on teaching Gypsy languages (Boyash and Romani), as well as Gypsy/Roma culture. It is important that the children see the beauty of ethnic languages and that they become a part of their identity, alongside Gypsy/Roma culture. Through classes in Romani ethnography, students become familiar with Gypsy traditions and culture, they learn about their history, the Indian Homeland, their migration, ethnography, linguistics, folk art and poetry, among other things. These classes are compulsory for all full-time students, and adults can also choose to take these courses.
Our school is fitted out with modern educational equipment and applies alternative educational methods. We prefer cooperative and project-based work, and consider it important to develop team spirit. In addition to gym classes, the sports hall allows us to organise extracurricular trainings and various school events. In their free time, our students take an active part in the bustling cultural life of Pécs.
Most of our new students come to us with serious social disadvantages. We strive to make sure that does not hinder their studies. We are constantly looking for changes in our students’ circumstances, and as far as possible we help the families financially with their children’s tuition.
The school has been operating for 20 years; the first class graduated in 2000. Almost half of our students have gone on to further education. They’ve taken many distinct paths, but most have an emphasis on health care, law enforcement, social work and Romani studies. Since 2000, almost 400 full-time students have graduated, and over 300 adults have received their school-leaving certificates.
Head Teacher: Ildikó Déri
Dancing On The Square contact: Henrik Sárkány

Gustave Eiffel French Nursery, Primary and Secondary School, Budapest

Our school that has been operating in Budapest for 54 years and currently had over 700 students between the ages of 3 and 18. Our students come from 35 nationalities, including many Hungarians.
We are part of a chain of International French secondary schools which has 494 institutions in 135 countries across the world, with a total of 330,000 enrolled students. Education is based on the French curriculum, which is a creativity-building and skills development-focused educational system based on thinking and independent work.
We also teach supplementary Hungarian grammar, literature and history to Hungarian students, all of which is accredited by the Ministry of Education. This way they can return to the Hungarian educational system at any time, or later choose to continue their studies in Hungarian higher education.
The prestige of our institution stems from our clearly communicated goals, based on such common values as:
– Stability: we have an exceptional language teaching record, which we achieve through a competence-based differentiated method
– Ambition: we want to bring up young people to be responsible citizens, who respect their own and other people’s cultures and are open towards their host country and its education. 
– Commitment: we make it possible for the students to choose courses and specialisations that suit their talents and knowledge.
Our strong points include an impeccable exam record (100% success rate in school-leaving exams), proactive support for new students to help them acclimatise and education that takes into account individual needs. 
We are also highly focused on language teaching, primarily English which our students learn from the first form onwards. When our students take their final exams they are fluent not only in French, but also English. Additionally, from 7th grade they start to learn Latin, German and Spanish.
Because of the global perspective that cultural diversity affords, thanks to an educational system that stresses thinking and independent work, and as a result of an exceptionally-high language proficiency, our students’ prospects for further and higher education are excellent both in Hungarian and foreign universities.

The collaboration between the Budapest French School and the Budapest Festival Orchestra has been going on for years now, and it has taken countless forms, such as inviting students to the orchestra’s rehearsals, or the orchestra’s members introducing their instruments in the school, as well as our students’ active participation at numerous events put on by the orchestra. And it’s not just a case of the two institutions getting closer to each other, this also produces indisputable pedagogical benefits. Our last collaboration was the Dancing on the Square project on 3 June 2016 in Heroes’ Square, where 11 of our students performed.
Here are a few of our students’ opinions:

Salomon: “Dancing together with the other young people helped me understand better how important dance and music is in education, to become even better and more open.”
Sara: “This adventure, filled with positive messages and encounters, made me want to share.”
Sofie: “In the beginning I didn’t really get the point of the event, but step-by-step, over the course of the first meetings and rehearsals I got to understand that this project is unique, human focused and ambitious. I was really happy to share these moments with young people I wouldn’t normally have met.”
Ming-An: It was just fantastic to perform together with professional dancers in front of a real orchestra. Thank you to all who made this possible!
Olivier Chiquet (English teacher and Budapest Festival Orchestra contact person) had this to say about the Dancing on the Square project:
“The Budapest Gustave Eiffel French School would like to thank the Budapest Festival Orchestra for what happened on 3 June 2016. It was an honour and a great pleasure for our students to participate in the Dancing on the Square project in Heroes’ Square.
We had smiling, dynamic, sensitive and emotional moments!
Our utmost respect goes to the 500 young dancers, to the extraordinarily talented and humane Iván Fischer, and to every member of the Budapest Festival Orchestra. The enthusiastic ovations of the 6000-strong audience were well deserved.
We are delighted that, with Iván Fischer and his orchestra in attendance, our institution received the Partner School Of The Year award.”

György Bessenyei Secondary and Boarding School

The institution adopted György Bessenyei’s name in the school year 1922-23. As the 1933 school bulletin wrote: “Our school has been called György Bessenyei since 1922-23. He was one of the most famous figures in Hungarian cultural history, who fought valiantly against relaxation and apathy in the war of national pride and self-confidence. Bessenyei teaches us to have the courage and will to see clearly, and respect our culture’s strengths and values. Let every Hungarian be a part of the nation-preserving treasures of culture. Let us learn to make the necessary sacrifices in their name.”
The Bessenyei Wall was built to commemorate the school’s 95th anniversary. The mural places the mentality and the circumstances of the school’s founding into the limelight, and based on that it presents us with the road that led to today’s successes.  The grandiose events of the 100th anniversary proved to those present, as well as to the outside world, the community-building and -shaping strength of the school that was celebrating its centenary. The inauguration of the former teachers’ and students’ memorial column was an important and emotional gesture.
The institution’s regional weight and the opportunities it affords have also grown. In 2012 it gained accreditation as an Exceptional Talent Point, and a year later it became a DExam language and an ECDL exam centre. Thanks to an EU grant, work has begun on the Dr. József Béres Laboratory. The lab will provide an opportunity to deepen scientific knowledge and develop such competences not only for secondary school students, but also for twelve different primary schools.
We currently have a total of 81 teachers, 33 technical employees and 1,000 full-time students split over 30 forms. 160 students are taking our adult education courses, and we have 224 boarding students.
Head teacher: Gábor Bíró

Dancing On The Square contact: Veronika Kiss

György Dózsa Primary School, Apátfalva

About the school: Apátfalva lies in Csongrád county, next to Makó, on the banks of the Maros. Our school is the largest institution in the village, where more than 190 children study with 23 teachers. It is a small school spanning years 1-8, 8 forms in total. It belongs to the Makó School District of the Klebelsberg Institution Maintenance Centre. Nearly 40% of our students come from underprivileged backgrounds, with Roma children in the majority. One of our most important values is in providing daily art education, giving our students more arts and crafts classes which, due to their analytic, visual and creative nature, help nurture learning in other subjects. The sense of achievement is inspirational and has a positive effect on students’ personal development. In addition, we also offer music education. Apátfalva is a paradise of folk traditions, and we consider it important to preserve and pass these on to upcoming generations. We use books from the ‘Bíbic könyvek’ (which deal with Apátfalva’s local history – translator’s note) series to help with teaching literature, history, singing, natural science and geography. We put an emphasis on physical education classes and sports, and have created excellent conditions for playing team and individual sports. In the 2003-2004 school year we joined a programme designed to help narrow the gaps and manage the talents of disadvantaged children. We are trying to overcome the students’ deficiencies in upbringing and literacy with personalised development sessions and novel teaching methods. Our institution is inclusive; we consider it hugely important to teach and develop children who grow up in particular circumstances. We pay special attention to acclimatisation; our work groups, together with the nursery school, organise quality programmes to make school life more attractive and colourful, such as: Golden Bridge and Silver Bridge programmes, School Calls, Swallow Camp, historical playhouse, experimental afternoons and project days.

Head Teacher: Lajos Mátó
Dancing On The Square contact: Andrea Csenteri

About Dancing On The Square – From now on, you will recognise these classical melodies any time, anywhere, and they’ll bring to your mind all that has happened. If you hear the name of Iván Fischer or the Festival Orchestra or Berci Vári, you will know who they are because you’ve met them personally, and that’s not something that is given to everyone, it is a memory you’ll take with you for the rest of your life. This is what has made you different, and this is very important, because it was you who worked for it. – Andrea Csenteri, choreographer

Hétvezér Baptist Primary School, Nursery and Primary Art School

About the school: Hétvezér Baptist Primary School, Nursery and Primary Art School has been operating since 1st September 2014. Our school did not previously offer an art education, although we did host two art schools to provide our students with a broader educational spectrum.
Tiszaszalka is located in the Bereg region of Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county, close to the Ukrainian border. There’s just one nursery and one school in the town. Since 2007 the school has been operating as an association in which 7 local municipalities (Lónya, Mátyus, Tiszaadony, Tiszavid, Barabás, Vámosatya and Tiszaszalka) agree upon how to run the schools. This was when primary education stopped completely in Vámosatya, and 5th to 8th form education disappeared from Tiszaadony and Lónya. School buses take the children from these villages to the central school in Tiszaszalka.
The villagers care about the institutions, since every Christmas we give a performance in every town and we also commemorate every holiday in our school with performances open to all. Thanks to Hungarian Baptist Aid we also try and help out socially. Every December, children receive a shoe box of presents, and every year we make donations of clothing and food packages to every family. We also have a Dutch project where every summer 30-40 volunteers arrive for two weeks to help families in need with painting, repair work, cleaning, and also with donating clothes, furniture and other things. Our region badly needs these, since a scarcity of job vacancies combined with a poorly-educated population mean the unemployment rate is extremely high.
Not only do our school’s staff fulfil their required workloads, but they are also part parent, part health care specialist; if required they help families with administrative work and if needed they even wash and iron the student’s clothes or make sure the children have breakfast (so they have a chance to eat). This is what our school is like, but we love it a lot!

Head Teacher and Dancing On The Square contact: Kornélia Csató. Kornélia has worked in the school for 30 years, and this has been her first and only workplace. She knows the region’s situation and problems inside-out, and approaches everything with a mind set on helping and support. Her job is difficult, since she has to coordinate, plan and supervise the everyday activities of 5 nurseries and four schools in a an area of 100 square km. A great many families and colleagues have benefited from her empathy and social sensitivity.

“We are happy to be taking part in this initiative, because we see it as a wonderful opportunity for our students to be part of a high-profile event. As a bonus, they also get to visit the capital city, which for many of them has only been a big dream. The only reason these kids have ever sat on a bus is because that’s what takes them to school. The furthest most of them have ever been is to Vásárosnamény, 12 km from Tiszaszalka. That a ‘real’ professional was going to teach them ‘real’ choreography so that they could dance with a lot of other children was a very attractive prospect for the students. We believe that music makes life more beautiful and enriches our emotions, which are sure to influence our personalities in a positive way. We are anxiously awaiting this wonderful opportunity and are grateful beyond words to be a part of it!”

István Széchenyi Catholic Vocational School of Economics

About the school: Our school, in Ózd, celebrated its 70th anniversary this year; we have a long tradition of vocational secondary education. The school’s development has been marked by many changes, but the institution has always strived to enrich its values and has ended up as a vocational school which has won deserved praise from professionals. Parents and children in the region are happy to choose us.
In vocational education (logistics administration, finance and accountancy, administrative secretary and office assistant work) we pay special attention to talent and ability, to eliminating social disadvantages and helping with learning difficulties. To facilitate that, our streamed (group-) sessions, preparation for national study competitions, organised hobby groups, study groups and catch-up sessions are indispensable.
As far as skills, capacities and proficiencies go, we pay special attention to developing co-operative techniques, conflict management, failure tolerance, independent research and lifelong learning.
Whenever we say a last farewell to our students, we’re reminded of Lajos Kassák’s line: “Anyone who’s been with us will never truly be able to leave.” The proof of this can be seen in the former students of ours who are now our colleagues, and the numbers of them who enrol their own children in our school. They often come back to visit and discuss life’s ups and down.

Head Teacher and Dancing On The Square contact: Dr. Éva Benkő (née Fehér)

“We are open to any initiative that helps with education and goes beyond the school’s walls. We’re sure this is going to be an incredible experience because working together in big groups, the joy of movement and dancing, ‘seeing the world’, getting to know the capital from a different perspective, the Festival Orchestra being close by, getting together and dancing with several hundred other children from different towns all promise to make it so.” – Dr. Éva Benkő (née Fehér)

Madách Musical and Dance School

“Your way to the stage.”
Gyula Sárközi is a former dancer and ballet master at the Hungarian State Opera, a former teacher and associate professor at the Hungarian Dance Academy, and the artistic director of the Madách Theatre’s dancers. He founded the EuroPAS Award-winning Madách Musical and Dance School in 2001. Over four hundred students, from kindergarten age to 22 year-olds, attend the school which offers a complex curriculum over several departments. Students make regular appearances in a variety of theatrical productions.
History of the school
The need for such a school as this was recognised long before 2001; the institution’s roots can be traced back all the way to the 1980s.
The Madách Theatre presented Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats in 1983, reforming Hungarian musical acting almost overnight. After that unique success, the theatre founded its own dance group in 1989. However, by the 2000s the question had arisen of what to do with those active dancers who had worked faithfully for the theatre for decades and who also had the necessary specialist expertise in this genre. It also became increasingly clear that Hungary lacked a professional framework for musical dance education.
The 1997 performance of Lionel Bart’s musical Oliver! at the Madách Theatre was another important step. Choreographer László Seregi had trouble finding replacements for the children’s dance group for the performance. The group had originally been put together, at great effort, by recruiting folk-dancing children.
These were the major events and reasons behind the founding of the Madách Musical Dance School in 2001. Thanks to Piroska Réti, an important figure in the amateur dance movement, the school started out in a tenement house on Jókai square. In 2003 the school relocated to Erzsébet Királyné Street in Budapest’s 14th district, and in 2007, with the help of the local municipality, it moved to its current location (1149 Budapest, Angol utca 75.). The school has officially been a Primary Art school since 2005. It then launched its National Qualifications Register (NQR) accredited education for theatre dancers in 2007, and its parallel in art education in 2011. Mrs. Zsuzsanna Sárközi (née Detvay) was the school’s first director; Gyula Baráth followed her in an acting role before Dr Irén Kis was appointed director. The current director is Gábor Sziráky, who has been filling the role since 30 August 2012. The artistic director is Gyula Sárközi.
Professional objectives and education profile
The school’s primary objective is to develop musical dance education and its institutional framework. From day one, the school has focused on creating a caring, liberating and rewarding atmosphere that encourages individual development and regular theatre appearances. Supporting disadvantaged children, whose circumstances may make it difficult to capitalise on their talent, is an important part of their activities.
The Madách Musical Dance School offers several education programmes. It offers a preparatory gymnastics course for kindergarten children (ages 3-6), singing from age 6 and dance fitness training for women.
Within the framework of the school’s system, certificates are available for the following courses: elementary dance classes for students aged 6-22, art education which can lead to a secondary school certificate as a theatre dancer (4 + 1 years), and an NQR-recognised ‘dance theatre’ course for those who already have a secondary school graduation certificate. From the age of 14, students can also receive music education.
The school’s parallel (vocational) school and NQR-accredited dance theatre training provides a certificate equivalent to those issued by provincial art schools (Győr Dance School, Pécs Art School). According to the type and level of training, students can attend classes on classical ballet, folk, modern, step- and musical dance, contact, lifting techniques, acting, the history and theory of dance, music, and solfège.
Besides graded performances at the end of every term, students also get to perform in the school’s productions which take place in professional theatres, such as: A Beetle’s Tale, Peter Pan, The Nutcracker and Gulliver’s Travels. They play in venues such as Müpa Budapest, the Hungarian National Dance Theatre, the Thália Theatre and the RaM Colosseum. Students also appear regularly in Madách Theatre performances, including: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar and Mary Poppins. They have also played in the Hungarian Festival Ballet’s Human Hymn, The Ten Commandments: The Musical, and The Tragedy Of Man, all of which were choreographed by Iván Markó. They took part in the 20th, 25th & 30th anniversary performances of Cats, although their greatest honour came in 2009 when they performed at the Hungarian State Opera House’s gala evening to commemorate László Seregi’s 80th birthday. Their students have danced on the television programme Megasztár, and at concerts by performers the likes of Andrea Malek or Ferenc Caramel Molnár.
Among others, the Madách Musical Dance School has received the EuroPAS and MOL Talent Care Awards, and at the 2009 and 2010 ESDU World Dance Masters competitions they won three championship titles in the musical and choreography categories.
Having operated successfully for 15 years, 2015 marked the beginning of a new chapter in the life of the Madách Musical Dance School when it opened its new Madách Musical Dance Studio in Budakeszi.
Founder of the institution: Gyula Sárközi
Dancing On The Square contact: Fruzsina Fehér

Nagykun Reformed Primary School, Karcag

The Reformation played a hugely important role in Karcag’s history. Religious reformation brought with it the establishment of Reformed education. The oldest and most illustrious of the city’s school buildings was built by the Reformed church in 1813-18. As history would have it, it became property of the church again in 1996. This marked the return to Karcag of Reformed education and our school, which is fresh in spirit, scientifically modern, and looks appropriate for the 21st century with its new and renovated buildings.

Our education is up-to-date. We pay great attention to versatile personal development. To develop talent, we see it as vital that we manage curricula, differentiate and provide personalised sessions for students. We consider it important to form communities in which, beyond various recreational and school programmes, music, singing and dancing also play a major role.

Head Teacher: Mrs Ilona Földvári (née Simon), consultant, educational management expert, recipient of many educational and professional awards. But what is more important is that she has been governing the school for the last 20 years with faith, perseverance and constantly renewed professionalism.

Dancing On The Square contact: Mrs Péter Ferenczi, teacher. Form tutor to the second-year children who are participating in the Dancing On The Square project. She has been a teacher at the school since 2002, mostly teaching 1st and 2nd year children. She is enthusiastic when organising preparatory workshops or school concerts, and she leads the church choir.

The team: Class 2. b. An enthusiastic and colourful community. 24 children, 24 personalities. What they have in common is that they are open and willing to accept one another. Children’s lives are busy outside of school, too. Many of them do various sports, dance, or play music. When we heard about the Dancing On The Square project from one of the parents, our decision was immediate and unanimous. We hope to experience something that will make us able to feel the music and bring us closer to art, artists and each other.

Premontrean Vocational School, Zsámbék

This school was established for those whose families find themselves in financial difficulties and cannot afford to enrol their children in a Budapest or other, more distant, secondary school.
We want to give everybody the chance for a secondary education. We would like there to be no neglected children and young people in and around Zsámbék.
While we do not expect our students to be practising Christians, theology is still mandatory to make them at least aware of how a Christian sees the world and why they live according to God’s orders.

Our students’ performance varies widely based on their origins and family backgrounds, so we set differentiated standards for all. The more talented can acquire vocational certificates. The weaker students, however, study in a specialised way in which we give their own progress the value and respect it deserves.
Head Teacher and Dancing On The Square contact: Katalin Juhász

Real Pearl Primary Art School

Our institution is a primary art school for six villages in the district of Berettyóújfalu, with around 550 students every year. The majority (70%) of our students come from underprivileged circumstances, and over 300, mostly Roma children, have multiple disadvantages. Real Pearl’s profile is about education through arts and crafts. Our craft workshop is internationally-recognised; it brings in over 500 prizes a year from Hungarian and international fine arts competitions. Our educational methods have sparked interest in Hungary and beyond. It should also be noted that the foundation which runs the school is developing an model for integration through a complex and coordinated intervention plan for education. Based on the results, this up-coming model looks promising.

Head Teacher and Dancing On The Square contact: Nóra L. Ritók, founder of Real Pearl, head teacher, leading professional in our labours to create equal opportunities

“We expect the performance to be an experience that reinforces our students’ belief that acceptance can be achieved; that they, too, can play a worthy and important role in a production with a far greater message, one which addresses society.” Nóra L. Ritók

SOS Children’s Villages Hungary, Kecskemét

About the institution:
The SOS Children’s Village in Kecskemét opened on 15th September 1990. The SOS Children’s Villages Programme, Kecskemét, consists in several institutional layers, including networks of foster parents and foster homes, and external housing. These layers are then managed by a single regional director. Institutional services are available on a voluntary basis (temporary child-care), or with a guardianship authority declaration (home-provision and after-care services).
The foster parent network of Kecskemét’s SOS Children’s Villages Programme provides temporary or permanent housing and care for children aged 0-18, for young adults receiving after-care up to the age of 24, and for young people pursuing higher education until the age of 25, with 185 places currently available. Our volunteer foster parents currently provide 5 available places for temporary care as a basic service for children in need, aged 0-18, who have been raised in a family.. Our foster home network provides homes and after-care in three locations. In the foster home on Vízmű utca we primarily house children and young people who have been put there temporarily and are aged between 3-18. In the Gát utca foster home we temporarily or permanently house children aged 12-18 and young adults receiving after-care.

Director of the institution: Gergely Kiss, regional director
Dancing On The Square contact: László Bugya, village leader

“The Budapest Festival Orchestra’s excellent musicians, organisers, director and, last but not least, Iván Fischer, literally brought the miracle of music to every SOS Children’s Village, to Kőszeg, Battonya and Kecskemét through their unique community education programme. Foster parents in the villages are going to be enrolling as many children as possible to study music since, as some members of the orchestra put it, they found the young audience to be incredibly open and receptive. Participating in the BFO’s Dancing on the Square project is the next step in this collaboration. We are eagerly waiting for the dance lessons to begin.” – Valéria Garai

St. Anthony of Padua Primary, Secondary and Primary Art School

Our school’s name is St. Anthony of Padua Primary, Secondary and Primary Art School.
We have been operating as a Catholic school in Piliscsaba since 1995. Our school was initially maintained by the Congregatio Jesu, although three years ago the Diocese of Székesfehérvár took over. The art school was founded by the local council in 1995 as an independent institution and was absorbed into our school complex in 2004. Students interested in art can take classes in classical music, folk music and dancing, and ceramics.
Our musical students, teachers and dance groups regularly perform at a variety of town events, including at Christmas celebrations, greeting the elderly, on national holidays, as a part of the community centre’s programmes and at ecclesiastic events. Together with the Piliscsaba Art Foundation, we are currently organising a series of concerts.
Our school puts an emphasis on art, including music classes. At least in part this is thanks to those students who attend the primary or secondary school as well as the art school – more than 250 youngsters out of a total of 550. The school’s board places great emphasis on artistic education, because we know that teaching art and music has a positive influence on our students’ performance in other subjects, improves their ability to fit into a community and helps with their personal development.

Head teacher: Dr. András Ujházy

Dancing On The Square contacts: Anna Nobilis and Balázs Petényi Kassai

“The name of the Dancing on the Square project carries with it its own motivation. We believe it helps our students to hone their folk dancing skills in a different medium, and the common language of dancing means the children can receive the kind of experiences that would be impossible in our micro-world: they can be a part of a grand production, take an excursion into other art forms together with children from other places, they can bond, form friendships and forge closer links within their own community. Our goal, in taking part in the production, is to open our dancers’ minds to different genres from those they are used to, to give space for talent to bloom and for other skills to be discovered.” – Mrs Erika Németh (née Bakonyi), folk dancing teacher

St. George Greek Catholic Nursery and Primary School

Our school is child-centred with a homely atmosphere.
Our priority is to bring up young people to be mentally and physically healthy, able to study, accept the norms of social interaction, learn to adapt to the rules of accepted behaviour, tolerant, sensitive to problems, respectful and loving towards their families, and who love their homeland, their immediate surroundings and their school..
At our school, we pay special attention to:
Developing the basic skills of students aged 6-14, especially with regard to communication in their mother tongue and foreign languages, and strengthening a healthy sense of patriotism.
Bringing students up in the spirit of Christianity, helping them experience their personal faith better and with more maturity, and developing their inner-resolution towards a Christian life.
A good foundation in IT.
Developing a sense of responsibility and mindfulness towards protecting the environment.
Deepening the theoretical and practical rules of a healthy lifestyle, physical education and sports.
High-level talent management.
Minimising social disadvantages.

Last year, it was a great honour for our school to be selected for the Dancing On The Square project.
The little performing army of students arrived at the prestigious event from all around the country. From February to June, professional dancing teachers led rehearsals in which they taught us the challenging and spectacular choreography. After we were done with the preparations, we presented in Heroes’ Square in Budapest on 18 June. The performance was even shown on television. After the event, several passers-by congratulated us. It was an unforgettable experience.
It turned out the programme’s last sentence was true: “See you next year!”
We’ll be there.
Zsófia Molnár
Year 7 student
from Kisvárda

St. John Greek Catholic Secondary and Vocational School

The town of Edelény is located at one of the most fortunate places in Borsod, in the wide Bódva river valley, 25 km from Miskolc. The region has almost 11 thousand inhabitants.

About the school: Since the school year 2011-2012 our school has been maintained by the Apostolic Exarchate of Miskolc. Organisationally and professionally, the institution fulfils its public educational duties as an independent institutional unit. It is a secondary and a vocational school. The institution provides 2 technician’s courses for young people who have finished secondary school. Adults can also enrol in a digital secondary school programme, which functions as an evening course. The school has 260 ethnically heterogeneous students who come from a variety of family backgrounds and have various skills. A full renovation of the school was completed in September 2011.
Head teacher: Mrs Flaskó Attila, music and Hungarian literature & language teacher
Dancing On The Square contact: Kitti Tóth, environmental sciences teacher
“It’s incredible to see the way that months of hard work come together to create a wonderful performance. We got to experience that in June 2015. Lots of people came to the event in Heroes’ Square. When we arrived we had a rehearsal together with many other school kids who had came from other towns. We also had two hours of down time when we arrived in the square, which was good after the tiring rehearsal. In the late afternoon we gathered together and stood in front of the stage on the square, and after the conductor’s introduction the performance began. It was wonderful how it all came together. For me, it was unforgettable.” – Barbara Csóti, student
“I felt great, I loved the dancing and the whole thing was an unforgettable experience. I’m happy to have been a part of it.” – Laura Illés, student

Szentlőrinc Primary School

Our school in Bükkösd teaches German as a minority language. (Students in all grades learn German as a minority language.) The school’s educational spirit is inspired by the acceptance of multiculturalism.
The Bükkösd school was the first school in Hungary to adopt and successfully realise the Comenius 2000 quality assurance programme.
The school plays a decisive role in the public education and cultural life of its district. Children, and the towns, eagerly await the many events the school puts on each year. The school considers it important to preserve and care for these traditions. The 4H Club has been operating in the school since 1994. Its members engage in tradition-preserving workshops and gaming afternoons, and its income is used to support the winners of its competitions.
Director of the institution:Mrs Károly Meisl
Dancing On The Square contact: Andrea Szegő

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