Premiere: 30 April 1901 (Uránia)
Genre: documentary, silent film
Director: Gyula Pekár
Original length: Twenty, 1-2-minute (cinematograms) containing dances: ancient Greek dance, dance of Salome, pavane (peacock dance), gaillarde, cachucha, allemande, tarantella, courante, passepied, gavotte, minuet, Japanese dance, ice waltz, grand mazurka, palotás, recruiting dance (verbunkos), round-hungarian dance, ‘satirical’ or modern csárdás, dramatic Hungarian csárdás, genuine Hungarian csárdás.
Act 1: ancient and medieval history of dance. Motion pictures: ancient Greek dance, the Dance of Salome
Act 2: the golden age of dance, 16-18 th century dances. Motion pictures: pavane (peacock dance), gaillarde, cachucha, allemande, tarantella, courante, passepied, gavotte, minuet
Act 3: dances of the 19 th century and ethnographic (folk) dances. Motion pictures: Japanese dance, cancan (foreign recording), African dance (foreign recording), Spanish dance, ice waltz, grand mazurka, Palotás, verbunkos (recruiting dance), round-Magyar, ‘satirical’ or modern csárdás, dramatic Hungarian csárdás, genuine Hungarian csárdás. Performers of the genuine Hungarian csárdás: Lujza Blaha (innkeeper’s wife), Mihály Kiss (hussar sergeant), Géza Lányi (cimbalom player). The scene is played out in an inn. The innkeeper’s wife flirts and pours wine for the hussar, but he pays no heed, all he does is wordlessly drink. However, the wine begins to have an effect, the hussars leaps up and grabs the innkeeper’s wife by the waist. They then first dance the ‘slow’, then the ‘fast’.
What makes it interesting?
The first directed Hungarian movie containing feature film elements, the premiere of which is considered to be the birthday of Hungarian film. Originally it was made to illustrate a series of lectures given by author Gyula Pekár at the Uránia Theatre of Science. In order to add colour to the lecture, Pekár commissioned a series of short films from Uránia’s photographer and technician, Béla Zsitkovszky, who converted a projector into a camera for filming. Leading actors and dancers of the day performed the dances; Cesare Smeraldi, ballet master at the Opera House, taught the choreographies. The presentation was staged at the Uránia on 136 occasions, after which it was taken on tour to the provinces and then abroad. It is conceivable that later on the film was split up and that footage segments of the dances are still stored in different locations.
Cast & Crew
Production Companies: Uránia Magyar Tudományos Egyesület
Screenwriter: Gyula Pekár
Cinematographer: Béla Zsitkovszky
Music: Aurél Kern
Cast: Szidi Balogh, Emília Nirschy, Emília Márkus, Rózsi Kranner, Ilka Kranner, Margit Koós, Ilona Szommer, Teréz Dietz, Gizella Friedbauer, Bella Kovács, Anna Pollák, Lujza Pleczner, Irma Schuster, Gizella Tragizer, Gizella Schmidek, Margit Ludmányi, Paula Csapó, Jenő Várady, Janka Fischel, Margit Horváth, Kornélia Altmann, Ilona Keszler, Margit Murai, Sári Fedák, Victor Seibert, Seibertné, Ilka Hauptmann, Amália Hauptmann, Rózsi Reitz, Paula Szabadosné, Margit Hajdú, Teréz Dietz, Lujza Carbenné, Katica Klein, Janka Blanszky, Rózsa Witkovszky, Gyula Hegedűs, Ilona Berzétey, Ferenc Vendrey, Lina Nikó, Zoltán Szerémy, Hedvig Lenkei Bosnyákné, Irén Varsányi, Béla Radics and his band, Aranka Hegyi, Miklós Rózsa, Margit Maróthy, Ákos Ráthonyi, Viderné, Kálmán Kenedics, Lujza Blaha, Mihály Kiss, Géza Lányi, Gyula Vidosfalvy, József Zsivnyi
The Dance was distributed in France and other countries.
Photo: the film's poster. Source: OSZK