At the end of April, the Budapest Festival Orchestra gathered five hundred children in five towns to dance, as they prepare for the Dancing on the Square project on 3 June. For many of the disadvantaged children who are participating, this will be their first time in Budapest.
“Rhythm bridges everything, I believe in its power. It will guide these children so that their skin colour, religion or origins don’t matter. All those questions are going to be a very low priority among these kids.” (László Bogdán, mayor of Cserdi, Dancing on the Square project ambassador)
The Festival Orchestra organised regional meetings in Cserdi, Baranya county; Hódmezővásárhely, Csongrád county; Ózd, Borsod county; Téglás, Hajdú-Bihar county; and Zsámbék in Pest county. There gathered the underprivileged children who are going to be dancing in Heroes’ Square on 3 June, to the orchestra’s live performance of Stravinsky’s Jeu de Cartes.
In what is going to be a major challenge for the children, who have been rehearsing every week since January, the regional meetings enabled them to get to know each other and to go over the dance moves with the project’s lead choreographer, Harangozó Award-winner Bertalan Vári.
The aim of the Dancing on the Square project, and the months of preparation, is to let the children experience what it’s like to be part of a community, to rely on each other and to create something together. Their reactions showed that they are fully aware of its significance:
“We were together, and you could feel how everyone could depend on everyone else;” “it feels good to be dancing together with the other children, we can get to know them, make friends. It’s a good thing;” “I’m happy, it’s a good feeling, I love music because I’m free and I can do anything;” “dancing eases the tension;” “a sidestep shows I’m happy;” “I’m so happy I can’t even express it.”
We made a short video at every meeting to show how the children are getting on in each region, what they expect from the event and what getting to know the previously-unfamiliar music and dance means to them. You can watch the videos here.
Last year, the Festival Orchestra covered all the costs of the children’s rehearsals as well as their trip to Budapest with families and teachers. This year, they have launched a fund-raising event to ensure the Dancing on the Square project will give the children, who come from underprivileged towns, truly an experience of a lifetime. For more information, go to: http://www.bfz.hu/en/dancing-on-the-square-donation/