Zoltán and Ildiko Zsuráfszki
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Zoltán Zsuráfszki is one of Europe's most talented choreographers. His extensive field research in remote villages of the Carpathian Basin makes him unique among currently active artistic directors of professional folk ensembles.
He was fortunate to receive his education during a special period when the Hungarian folklore revival movement was at its highest energy. He is a graduate of the Hungarian State Ballet Institute, but he has also conducted innumerable field trips to collect fresh material and learn and dance with the last living informants of Hungarian dance. He also made field trips to neighboring countries and learned the dances of the Romanians, Slovaks, Croatians, Poles (Gorals), and Germans. His tour to North America, with his earlier Kodaly Ensemble, was extremely well received at all their performances.
He studied with the best folk and modern dance instructors in Hungary, did innumerable field and research tours to Transylvania, Slovakia, and Poland. He also has done extensive research and study of dances of nations living in the Carpathian Basin, including Hungarians, Slovaks, Romanians, Croatians, and Gypsies.
Zsuráfszki, as a performer of Hungarian dance, is unsurpassed. He can convey the energy, excitement and authenticity of folkdance to a level which has never been seen before. Audiences equally respect him on the world stages as by his informants from the distant villages of Transylvania. Zsuráfszki's ability to convey, with insurmountable energy, the very spirit of folk dance, is unique and extremely rare. He is also an excellent teacher and choreographer who demands the same high standards from the members of his Ensemble as from himself.
In the photo at the left is Zoltan with Alex Wilson of Boulder, Colorado, and Zoltan's wife, Ildiko.
He was a performer, solo artist, and later dance director and choreographer of the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble until 1983. He has received numerous choreographic awards.
In 1975, he was an Honors Graduate of the Hungarian State Ballet School / Folkdance Department. He was a member of the first graduating class. In 1977, he received the "Young Artists Recognition."
In 1984, he was the founding director, choreographer, and solo performer of the famous Kodaly Ensemble which became one of the most important professional folk ensembles in Central Europe until its dissolution, due to lack of funding, in 1991. The Ensemble under Zsuráfszki toured North America with significant critical acclaim.
In 1985, he graduated from the Budapest Teacher's College, majoring in education and pedagogy. That year he received the "Dancer of the Year" award. In 1986, he received the prize for Culture from Heves County. In 1989, he received the Award "Excellence in Hungarian Art."
In 1991, Zsuráfszki became the artistic director, choreographer and later general director of the Budapest Ensemble of Hungary. He revitalized one of the most prestigious professional folk ensembles in Hungary. In Spring of 1993, the Ensemble performed two new chamber works which was the debut of Zsuráfszki as the new Artistic Director. In his choreographies, he continued to develop his sharp creative style. In his folk inspried works, he preserves the authenticity of Hungarian folk dances. The same year, he received the "Gyula Harangozo Prize" (it is the highest recognition for a dancer in Hungary).