Hungary’s famous Győr Ballet ensemble has moved its rehearsals to the Audi factory in the northwest Hungarian industrial city because the municipality has closed its home, the Győr Theater, for the months of January and February to save utility costs.
The theater is currently performing on the stage of the puppet theater; the company scheduled most of its season performances at a frantic pace in November and December.
László Velekei, director of the Győr Ballet, said that only five shows remain and will be carried over to the spring; another 48 performances — divided among eight pieces — have already been completed. Their last performance in Győr was on Dec. 15.
The Győr Ballet will not stop completely for these two months but will perform at outside venues, which in this case means in other theaters that can still operate despite increased overhead costs. The Veszprém Theatre and Müpa Budapest have already signed contracts with the ballet troupe.
However, this does not solve the issue of rehearsals, which is essential for the dancers. Audi has been the main sponsor of the Győr Ballet for 25 years, which explains why the ballet dancers turned to the car company for a home.
Audi responded that they could spend two or three weeks at the factory’s event hall, which is a suitable — and warm enough — venue for them. The special flooring and other equipment needed are being provided by the ballet company.
“The Győr Ballet has never been in this situation before,” said Velekei. “And we have never seen an example of an artistic ensemble finding a home in an industrial environment, neither in Hungary, nor in Europe, and perhaps not even in the world,” added Kinga Németh, director of human resources at Audi Hungária.
The Győr Ballet was founded by famous Hungarian ballet dancer and choreographer Iván Markó in 1979. He gave up principal roles with the French Maurice Béjart troupe at the request of a class of fresh graduates of the Budapest Ballet Institute who sought his leadership. He then moved the group to Győr with the express intent of forming their own company.