When a dance class became something else

It was rather daunting to be in a room full of older people, who looked like they knew exactly what they were in for. The Csango Dance House is an amazing venue bustling with different dance classes throughout the week. We made an attempt at this form of folk dancing and I think we can now proudly say we wouldn’t embarrass ourselves at a Csango Dance party. Csango people are living mostly in Romania and, like every ethnographic group, they have their own identity signs, like a language –which came from Hungarian -, mores, and their own folk dance.

Csango music was brought into Budapest 25 years ago by Kerényi Róbert and his friends, a group of passionate musicians. It was not the first time Csango music was introduced to Budapest, but somehow only they had succeeded.

Gradually they found that more people were attending these Csango dance classes and it became a huge party, the dancing was never confined to the dance classes. During the dance parties a music band plays live on the dance floor, adding to the exciting atmosphere. There are 4 bands that play at Csango Dance House and they play a variety of folk music, from Moldavia to Gyimes. These are both Csango regions, but they differ greatly in their dance cultures.

During the dance class we found ourselves fumbling around with two left feet, struggling to be in time with the music. We stood in a huge circle, hands held, shuffling our feet and trying our best to be in sync. This form of dancing, which involves dancing in a circle and then dancing with our partners, requires team work and that every dancer knew exactly which step was coming next, just so that the dance would continue seamlessly. We tried our best not to burden our partners; dancers who looked like our Dads, or even our Granddads!

We noticed that there were people with different levels of experience in Csango dance in our class and we asked our dance teacher how they manage to ensure that everyone leaves learning something new. She mentioned that it is at time difficult to satisfy everyone, but we know we definitely left the class learning something new.

According to our dance teacher, the huge dance party after the dance class is usually an extremely crowded affair. On average, there would be close to 100 people, varying on the popularity of the band playing. She also added that there can be up to 250 people at the party if there is a bigger event like a ball. The best part is that Csango dance house also has a dance party for children in kindergarten, even though the huge party welcomes everyone.

There’s no place to unleash your inner dancer at a Csango dance party, where you can put the skills you’ve learnt in class to good use! It could be daunting at first, but it’s definitely worth a shot.

Kovács Villő, Lee Marie, Ramos Sara


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