In 1979 a graduating class of the State Ballet Institute of Hungary decided to stay together and found a company. They won Iván Markó to their cause, who said farewell to Maurice Béjart’s world-renowned company and became the leader of this company. Győr, a city near the western border of Hungary, offered a home for the group: on 2nd of November, 1979 with the performance: Lovers of the Sun the Győr Ballet was born.
During the so-called Markó’s era iconic performances (The Miraculous Mandarin, Bolero, Jesus The Son of God) were brought to life jointly with Markó’s creative companion, Judit Gombár, dramaturgist, costume and scene designer. The Győr Ballet has encouraged the emergence of a theatre visiting population, a regular ballet-goer audience who loves and understands dance.
János Kiss took over the management of the company in 1991 after the founding director had left. The company were able to revive and increase artistic standard year by year and brought about new success. Over the seasons, the company have worked with well-known choreographers.
The Győr Ballet has become a trend-setting company of the Hungarian dance scene. Their repertoire encompasses almost all genres of the art of dance from ballet to contemporary dance, from dance theatre to children’s productions. The company have played on many stages not only in Hungary but all over the world since their foundation: the audience of the Joyce Theatre in New York, the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, the Scala in Milano, as well as Vienna, Athens, Paris, America, Japan, China, India, Russia, Denmark and Israel applauded their performance.
I started taking pictures of the Győr Ballet right when they set up the company (1979) and I have been covering them ever since. Apart from the stage pictures, I would like to portray moments during the rehearsal, in the dressing rooms and after the performances. This is only possible if you spend a lot of time together and you do not disappoint them. You must gain their trust each and every time as they work with their bodies and so they show you everything. It is interesting to see, that since I started following them, there have been several generations of dancers who have retired, only the director has remained the same, first as a dancer, later as a director. Though the company is the same, the dancers keep changing. This requires a constant renewal from me. I have to approach again and again my subjects so that they feel my empathy and reward me with their trust. I am grateful for the opportunity to take these pictures for almost 4 decades.