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Legényes at Home: Social Media Challenge for Folk Dance Lovers During Quarantine

Fanni Kaszás 2020.04.16.

During this period of home quarantine, there are more and more challenges appearing on social media sites, including movements that encourage exercise, healthy eating, or environmental awareness. The initiative of the Hungarian National Dance Ensemble, the Dance Legényes at Home!, asks folk-dance lovers to show their dancing skills in their own homes. Since the start of the challenge, hundreds of professional and amateur folk dance lovers, including police officers, soldiers, and paramedics have joined the challenge.

On its official Facebook page, the Hungarian National Dance Ensemble draws attention to the importance of staying at home and the opportunity to practice at home, and encourages their followers and dance lovers to continue folk dancing at home. The challenge is to showcase their Legényes dance skills in a video in a home environment – or for some, at work.


Legényes is a mens solo dance performed by Transylvanian ethnic Hungarians living in the Kalotaszeg, Szilágyság, and Mezőség regions of Transylvania. Although usually danced by young men, it can be also danced by older men. The dance is performed freestyle usually by one dancer at a time in front of a band. Women participate by standing in lines to the side and sing or shout verses while the men dance. Each participant dances 4-8 points (dance phrases) without repetition. Each point consists of 4 parts, each lasting 4 counts.

The first Dance Legényes at home! video was posted with a call for the challenge. The initiative was started with a dance from Gergő Sánta, the award-winning soloist of the Hungarian National Dance Ensemble.

In the very first post, the dance group wrote: “It is important that everyone who can, should stay at home! But we can also dance from home… So show the world what virtuosos you are in the Kalotaszeg Legényes!” They also attached a task for anyone who takes on the challenge to complete. Participants have to choose any 6 points of the Kalotaszeg Legényes and perform it in their own apartments (or in some cases workplace), then upload the video to their own social media pages with the hashtag #legenyesezzotthon. Then they have to tag three friends or acquaintances who must also complete the Legényes at Home! challenge.

Since then, hundreds of people have joined the challenge on various social media sites, including folk dance loving members of the police, ambulance services, and the army. We have collected some of these videos below.

Members of the police force also took on the Hungarian National Dance Ensemble’s challenge:

The 86th Helicopter Base “Szolnok” of the Hungarian Defense Forces prepared a professional video, where the Legényes danced by Szabolcs Kabdebon is complete with live music played by István Nagy on tárogató, a traditional Hungarian instrument, and a folk song by Zsuzsanna Danyi.

The National Ambulance Service also joined the challenge with the video of József Gyebnár, who danced the Legényes in front of ambulance cars.

The 25th Infantry Brigade “György Klapka” accepted the challenge from the Szolnok Helicopter base. As they said, although they “can’t stay at home because duty calls – as always, we put the security of Hungary and the safety of the Hungarian people first,” but they still showed how an artilleryman dances in Tata in the 101st Artillery Battalion.

The Hungarian National Dance Ensamble posted a video, collecting some of the videos of the participants and sent it to the “health and law enforcement workers, store employees, teachers” and everyone, who still works for Hungary and its citizens every day and keep the country running even during the coronavirus crisis. They sent the message to thank their constant, persistent work, saying:

You work for us and we dance for you!

featured photo: Hungarian National Dance Ensemble

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