Zoltán Józef Nagy was born in 1955 in the county of Somogy, Hungary, where he started his dance career at an early age.
In his high school years he studied with Sándor Tímár, choreographer and one of Hungary's best known dance teachers, who proved to be a great influence in Zoltán's life. Under the artistic supervision of Tímár, Zoltán danced in the Bartók Dance Ensemble in Budapest from 1974-1982. Meanwhile, he earned a degree at the College of Commerce and Restaurant Management of Budapest, Hungary. He is fluent in English and German.
Zoltán was one of the founders and organizers of the Summások (1982-1983) and the Pátria (1984-1985) "chamber" folk dance groups. From 1984 to 1989 he was artistic director of the Lelle Dance Ensemble. Furthermore, he has performed and taught in several countries of Europe, Asia, and in the United States.
Since 1981, Zoltán has been teaching Hungarian traditional dances at the Téka and Méta dance houses (táncház) in Budapest. In the summer, from 1981 to 1991, he was responsible for the folk dance programs at the annual Téka folk arts camp in Nagykálló. He taught traditional dance classes at the Zsolnai Experimental Elementary School in Törökbálint. He has also been teaching, organizing, and directing Hungarian traditional dance shows and workshops and is an adviser and choreographer for various dance groups in Hungary and abroad.
For his extensive work teaching dance to children, Zoltán received the "For the Youth" merit award in 1985. In recognition of his performing abilities and devotion to the preservation of Hungarian folk traditions, he won the "Young Master of Folk Art" award in 1986. For the better part of 1989, a Fulbright scholarship enabled Zoltán to travel extensively and teach Hungarian and Romanian traditional dances throughout the United States.
Since 1989, he has been regularly giving workshops in Cologne, Frankfurt, Hannover, Amsterdam, and Luxembourg, and has taught choreographies for the Búzavirág Hungarian Dance Group in Rozsnyó, Slovakia. Several times he has taught as a guest instructor in Slovakia at the Annual Music and Dance Camp in Nagyfödémes and in Transylvania, Romania, at the Váalaszút Annual Music and Dance Camp organized by the local associations of Hungarian minorities.
In 1991 and 1993, he traveled again, teaching in the U.S., working with the Tisza Ensemble in Washington, DC., teaching at the TiTi Tábor traditional dance camp in Seattle, at the California Kolo Festival in San Francisco, and at the Ethnic Dance Theatre in Minneapolis. He also performed in Chicago at the 31st Annual Annual Dance Festival in the fall of 1993.
Since 1994, Zoltán has been the artistic director of the Bartók Dance Ensemble in Budapest.
Zoltán has developed a pedagogic concept, following the ideas of Sándor Tímár, in which dances from the villages are preserved in their original style and format. Dancers are taught the art of free improvisation based on the liveliness of the village dances in their traditional social function rather than on cold professionalism.
Zoltán offers lectures, master classes for adults and dance groups, dance seminars, choreographies, dance-house-style teaching, dance-house leading for all ages, school programs with demonstrations, videos, costume shows, Hungarian traditional dance classes for school children, and performances with tapes (or, by special request, with live music!).