http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/en/Art18/00515

Táncház method: a Hungarian model for the transmission of intangible cultural heritage

Selected in 2011 on the Best safeguarding practices

Country(ies): Hungary

Identification

Description

The Táncház (‘dance-house’) model of teaching folk dance and music combines traditional forms of acquisition with modern pedagogical and academic methods. Participants acquire dance knowledge from experienced members or tradition bearers by direct observation and imitation, to the accompaniment of live music, while using their own individual level of creativity to develop their competence and dancing ability. The dancing is complemented by singing instruction, handicraft activities and ethnographic presentations. Anyone regardless of age, competence or prior exposure can become an active participant. The aim is to establish a value-based, community-building, entertaining yet educational form of recreational activity through the practice and transmission of intangible cultural heritage. Táncház methods are also utilized in art schools and all levels of education, and influence folk dance and music performance. An annual National Táncház Festival and Fair constitutes the largest meeting of bearers, mediators and enthusiasts, yet age or content-specific Táncház-es have developed, as well as workshops, camps, playhouses and handicraft clubs. Increasing numbers of publications popularize Táncház and assist in refining and transmitting its methodology, while folk dance and music resource centres enable the public to access archival recordings. The model is easily adaptable for the safeguarding and transmission of any community’s intangible cultural heritage through hands-on acquisition, thereby sustaining its diversity.

Documents

Decision 6.COM 9.8

The Committee (…) decides that, from the information provided in the proposal, [this Programme] responds as follows to the criteria for selection in Paragraph 7 of the Operational Directives:

  • P.1: The Táncház method for teaching folk music and dance is an effective way to maintain, transmit and hence safeguard intangible cultural heritage and involves a wide range of organizations and communities across places and generations;
  • P.2: The flexibility of the Táncház method has made it possible for it to operate at the national, regional and international levels, albeit until now largely within Europe, Japan and the United States; it also has the potential of promoting North-South cooperation because its framework is readily adaptable;
  • P.3: The method encourages creativity and revitalization in a model of transmission and innovation that is both flexible and participatory; supported with research and documentation, it aims to raise awareness and ensure the viability of traditional values of dance and music in modern society;
  • P.4: The programme employs effective methods of transmission and diffusion to keep traditions alive among the young within Hungary and beyond; its effectiveness and viability have been assessed by quantitative indicators;
  • P.5: Táncház involves people of all generations and backgrounds from rural community members to urban youth as well as researchers and mediators, and anyone who recognizes Táncház as places of practice of intangible cultural heritage and is committed to the transmission of the element;
  • P.6: The transmission method used by the programme is flexible and has the advantage of being readily adaptable to diverse lifestyles and for different publics;
  • P.7: The State Party, bearers and stakeholders have expressed their willingness and commitment to cooperate with the dissemination of the Táncház method, if selected;
  • P.8: Due to the trajectory and the extension of the programme, its results would be susceptible to assessment by qualitative and quantitative methods;
  • P.9: The programme can be a model for other countries, although the State Party has not specifically referred to developing countries in its proposal.

Selects the Táncház method: a Hungarian model for the transmission of intangible cultural heritage as a programme, project or activity best reflecting the principles and objectives of the Convention;
Commends the State Party for submitting a well-presented proposal that may be taken as an example for other States Parties in the elaboration of future proposals.