István Szabó, known to his friends as "Kovács," received his dance training at the prestigious Hungarian Ballet Institute in Budapest and received a degree in Folk Dances of Hungary and Transylvania. He also danced with Hungarian Army Dance Ensemble, and was named "Dancer of the Year."
Kovács came to the United States in 1991 to work with the Kárpátok Hungarian Folk Ensemble. Kovács then worked full time as dance director, dancer, and choreographer with the famed AMAN Folk Ensemble.
Kovács has the ability to successfully teach complex, improvisational Hungarian dances to dancers of all skill levels. The numerous camps and workshops at which he has taught include the Asia Camp in Taiwan, Barátság Camp, California Kolo Festival, Mendocino Folklore Camp, New Mexico August Folk Dance Camp, and Stockton Folk Dance Camp.
Rosina Didyk has assisted Kovács at camps in the United States and Asia.
Dances Kovács has taught include Cigánytánc, Dunántuli Ugrós, Gyimesi Héjsza, Gyimesi Kerekes, Kerekes Héjsza, Kezes, Mezöségi Csárdáas, Páloc Táncok, Szatmári Páros, and Szekelyföldi Szöktetös.