What is Budapest really like?

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Many of the children participating in our regional meeting in Salgótarján asked us, “so what is Budapest really like?” Before we could even respond, somebody else would yell out, “I sure would like to live there!” Most of the children participating in our Dancing on the Square project come from disadvantaged parts of the country, and many had never visited the capital before – all the more reason for them to look forward to their joint performance with the Budapest Festival Orchestra.

Similarly, at our event in Nógrád, we met many young people open to the world, curious, willing to help and interested. They bombarded us with questions, and we did our best to respond to each one, but eventually it came time for us to be the ones to ask them.

Dancer and choreographer Benjámin Losonczi, who was leading the rehearsal, asked the children what emotions Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 – the music they will dance to this year – evokes in them. Their answers ranged from glory and friendship to victory, but most of them mentioned freedom. Of course, there were no wrong answers – on the contrary: they were so right! Conductor Iván Fischer said of the piece: “Wagner described Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 as ‘the apotheosis of dance’”. In its day, the piece was considered the music of freedom especially because of the continuously gushing encouragement of its final movement. It makes me happy that this is the piece the children will be dancing to this year!”

Before the dance rehearsal, the team of the Foundation for Democratic Youth – real pros – once again helped break the ice between the children, all of whom were visibly happy to be together. They worked and played together seamlessly, mixing with and getting to know members of other teams. They collaborated on solving tasks at hand together, and their smiles never dimmed.

The dance is coming together quite promisingly, and the teams had a bit of time to practice even the more complicated moves which will come towards the end of the performance.

Please enjoy Fanni Benkő-Molnár’s photos: