43rd National Táncház Festival & Fair • 5–7 April 2024
Starting page: 40
Conversation with Sebő Ferenc one of the founders of the Hungarian Heritage House (HHH) – A good description of the background of this institution and discussion of the institutions that preceded it. The precursor institutions all had similar goals to the HHH, but the various political and cultural movements over the years naturally influenced their work, structures, and usage of folk material. The Institute of Folk Culture – the Népművészeti Intézet - was established in 1951 with the goal of directing the amateur folk movements. Despite political-philosophical views of the time, an enormous amount of field collection work was able to be accomplished in the early 1950s. 1956 naturally ‘brought change in the ideological winds’ and the institution was renamed Institute of People’s Recreation/Education, the „Népművelési Intézet”, where folk arts didn’t get the same emphasis as before, however a „folk dance department” was established, the task of which was to serve the folk dance movement, and field collection work was able to continue here. In 1964 the dance department was closed and their archives sent over to the Hungarian Academy of Science. In the beginning of the 1970s when the dance house movement took the „folk dances and music down from the stage” and began using them for [urban] recreational purposes, a new phase of tradition preservation began. Everyone was surprised by its popularity. Sebő negotiated with four governments before they were finally able to establish the present HHH, which could supply „appropriate government funding to secure tradition preservation in every form”. Specifically, at the time (20 years ago) that meant an institution which would embrace and support the Hungarian State Folk Dance Ensemble and the revival movement (the dance house movement) with archives, research and recreational work toward preserving Hungarian folk traditions. By Csinta Samu.