I'm Flying Happily When I Dance

The ballet dancer Henriett Tunyogi is among those performing at the Villa Alba Art Festival.

- Who has inspired you most over your career?

It is a real pleasure for me to perform at a festival alongside Ilona Tokody. She has been following my career closely, watching my performances and taking note of what she sees. Professionally, I owe her the most, despite the fact that she is not a ballerina but an opera singer.

- Do you discuss what you could have done differently after the performances?

She shares those artistic tricks with me that are unrelated to dance technique, skills that relate purely to stage performance. She shows me what facial expression to adopt, how to play a character, where I should be more lyrical; she gives the most constructive criticism. For me, it is a great honour that Ilona is interested in what I do and that she wants to help.

- This evening, Tamas Vasary, your pianist husband, will be your accompanist. What is it like to work with him?

It is a fantastic feeling. He and his love for music are a great inspiration for me. While he plays, he reaches depths in my soul that I knew nothing about. Sometimes his playing helps me find new depths inside me that I was unaware of, always to my greatest astonishment.

- What do dance and movement mean to you?

Everything, my life! I’ve been dancing since childhood, and I couldn’t imagine my life without it. What does dance give me? A higher order of spirituality that makes me happier and helps me grow. Music, culture, aesthetics, beauty – all of these are constructive, and if I can achieve things with them, then I can create harmony out of my surroundings simply through the joy it gives me.

- Do you grow physically tired when you dance?

Sometimes my shoes pinch my feet until I bleed, or I pull a muscle, but I never notice, because I’m flying happily when I dance!

Festival Magazine 2006 (Balatonfüred)
Translated by THOMAS ESCRITT