The Hajdú Dance Ensemble is located in Debrecen, Hungary’s second-largest city after Budapest. It was the largest Hungarian city in the 18th century and it is one of the Hungarian people’s most important cultural centers. The Hajdú Dance Ensemble was founded in 1953 and its organization includes more than 400 dancers ranging in age from 4 to 60. It presents more than 100 performances per year and has worked with the Csokonai National Theater of Debrecen in presenting several productions. Dances from the whole Carpathian region can be found in the group’s repertoire. These dances are not only Hungarian in origin but also Gypsy, Romanian, Slovakian and Croatian.
Hajdú Folk Dance Ensamble is the only group in Hungary to receive an Excellent rating in its last nine competitions in a row. It has also received the European Prize for Folk Art (only three groups have received this in Hungary) as well as the Csokonai Vitéz Mihály Community Award and the Hungarian Heritage Award. A few times a year, the ensemble organizes trips to the countryside and Transylvania to spend time with the locals. In some cases, members of the ensemble teach the people there the dances that they have forgotten during the modern years, and in other cases (mostly in the isolated little villages), the dance ensemble’s members learn dances from the villages’ elders. The leaders of the ensemble are Zsuzsa Tiszai and Bálint Lovas. Both have received the Award of Excellence of the Martin György Folkdance Federation.