Hungarian Dancer at Béjart Ballet Lausanne for 1st Time in 50 Years


Balet dancer Zsolt Vencel Kovács in action.

Photo by BFE.

Ballet dancer Zsolt Vencel Kovács has become the first Hungarian dancer since 1972 to attain a permanent contract with Béjart Ballet Lausanne in Switzerland.

Starting this August, Kovács will represent Hungarian dance on the world stage, having signed a contract with the eminent Swiss company.

“I am exceptionally happy to be part of a ballet group that travels around the world,” Kovács told the Budapest Business Journal exclusively. He added, “It is not only money that’s important to me; rather, the fact that I can be a member of a professional team whose every performance invites a full house and standing ovations.”

Béjart Ballet Lausanne was founded in 1987 by Maurice Béjart, who is credited with 250 choreographies, including more than 40 full-length ballets. Kovács is the first Hungarian dancer in more than 50 years to sign a contract with the company, his predecessor being the renowned dancer and choreographer, Iván Markó.

The young Hungarian soloist has previously danced with the Lithuanian National Ballet and has gained widespread attention with street dances inspired by social issues featured in the international press, including The New York Times.

According to a statement shared with the BBJ, the soloist believes that the peak of Hungarian ballet emerged in the 1970s when the world press was full of Hungarian dancers.

“At that time, international dance magazines published an annual top list of the best dancers. For many years there were three names at the top of the list: Mikhail Baryshnikov, Vladimir Vasilyev and Gábor Keveházi,” he said.

21st Century Skills

“Hungarian dancers could again top such lists in the future, but in addition to technical knowledge, artists will also need to acquire skills that will make it easier for them to work in the 21st century,” he added.

“Young dancers should also acquire skills in disciplines such as communication, negotiation techniques, networking skills and international finance, health and social security.”

Although he praises past ballet greats, he also commends current Hungarian dancers “who are less known in Hungary but whose names attract crowds abroad for a performance.”

He names István Simon as an example, a regular guest at prestigious ballet galas and festivals worldwide. His partners include dancers from the Bolshoi, the Royal Ballet and the Opera de Paris.

In terms of Kovács’s plans with Béjart Ballet Lausanne, the soloist tells the BBJ that this summer, the company will be working with “the world’s most famous dancer today,” Roberto Bolle. Tickets for all performances were hard to come by months before the event. Next year, the company will tour Paris, Brussels, Dortmund and Bonn with Kovács.

“I am sure that we will make it to Budapest as well, as the troupe has already done several performances here, all with great success,” the Hungarian dancer adds.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of July 28, 2023.

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