The táncház method

Excerpt from the nomination material prepared and submitted by Hungary in 2010 for inscription of the Táncház Method on the UNESCO Register of Best Safeguarding Practices of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The táncház methodThe movement, which emerged in Budapest in the 1970s, offers diverse intangible cultural heritage (including music, dance, poetry, customs, etc.) in an interactive, community-based form of entertainment and cultural enrichment for today’s people. was born of the combined efforts of folklore research, public education, and artistic activities, and conveys the values of traditional intangible cultural heritage.

The essence of the method is that heritage elements are taken directly from living practices and traditions in rural communities as well as archival collections, with continual guidance from experts and researchers. This living rural culture is transposed into vastly different socio-cultural contexts – on regional, national, and international levels – reevaluating its importance locally and ensuring its capacity for constant renewal. The methodology is exemplary, as it is flexible and easily adaptable to the safeguarding of any community’s intangible cultural heritage, and as a result, it has reached an ever-broader international scope.

Practical, hands-on acquisition leads to intensive and profound familiarity with traditional culture, raising awareness and sustaining diversity. Because of the active engagement required of participants, táncház instills a sense of community, and these new communities are then sustained through repeated social experiences.

This method of learning through practice and direct engagement facilitates the integration of the intangible cultural heritage into the participants’ everyday lives, transforming the participants into the practitioners, bearers, transmitters, and re-creators of the heritage.

The táncház movement is an open, grassroots, freely accessible cultural network, which draws its philosophy from the idea of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, and its content from the traditional culture of local communities.

It began as a civil initiative and became somewhat institutionalized, receiving limited state funding (primarily through state competitions), but it remains a largely selfsustaining, self-perpetuating socio-cultural movement.

Related pages:

  • Festival Calendar
  • App

    Smithonian Institution

    Balassi Institute