The Palotás or “Palace” Dance has its origins in the 15th century with the development of an extensive life at court. The Palotás reached its peak in popularity during the reign of Rákoczi Ferenc II, and it was in this period that the dance became so famous.

The Palotás was generally performed in front of the King in his Court, where young nobility and military men would get a chance to flaunt the lovely ladies they were courting. It generally highlights the men and allows them a chance to display themselves to the King, as they danced with confidence and an air of arrogance.

Palotas dancing

New musical instruments, new music, and a new spirit influenced the Hungarian nobility to evolve their own form of genteel dancing. Mark Rózsavölgyi composed the oldest Csárdás in 1835. Although in essence the Csárdás was a peasant dance, it became the popular dance of the nobility.

The first Hungarian Couples dance is also linked to his name: The Körmagyar or Circle Dance came into fashion in the 1840’s. The Palotás is partially based on the Verbunkós and its similarities in the “quick” (friss páros) of the Couple Dance are a case in point.

Eventually a very dignified flowing dance developed – the so-called Andalgó, which gained great popularity. It was named Palotás by Ferenc Erkel, the composer of the National Anthem and the creator of the Hungarian State Opera House for the purpose of his opera, Hunyadi László. The Palotás became the traditional opening dance of all formal balls in Hungary, and today wherever Hungarians live, and keep their old traditions, they perform this dance with great feeling and dignity.

Anyone interested in dancing the Palotás at the Helicon Ball is asked to contact:

Tamás Gauder
Telephone: (416) 707-6876