(b Budapest, 12 Dec. 1929)
Hungarian dancer and choreographer. He studied dance while a member of the Hungarian Army Ensemble, also with Nádasi and Harangozó, and in 1957 the Hungarian State Opera Ballet as character dancer. In 1965 he began choreographing for opera and in 1968 created his version of Spartacus (mus. Khachaturian) which was considered seminal in the way it combined Soviet and Hungarian traditions. In 1970 he choreographed three works to Bartók's music: The Miraculous Mandarin, The Wooden Prince, and dances for the opera Duke Bluebeard's Castle. The first, in a new 1981 version, became the trademark ballet of the Hungarian State Ballet. His works were driven by powerful drama and characterization, some like his 1975 ballet The Cedar Tree (mus. Hidas) were profoundly Hungarian in character. But his 1972 version of Sylvia (mus. Delibes) was a more light-hearted mix of folk, classical Greek culture, and neo-classical dance and later works like On the Town and Serenade, both made in 1977 to music by Bernstein, reflected more Western influences. In 1974 he was appointed chief choreographer for Hungarian State Opera Ballet and between 1977 and 1984 he directed the Budapest State Opera Ballet. In 1994 he choreographed The Taming of the Shrew (mus. K. Goldmark). His work did not become widely known in the West, even though he choreographed and staged ballets in W. Germany, Zurich, and Vienna, and Australian Ballet revived his Spartacus in 1994. In his own country he has a considerable reputation.