Dancers in clothed national dress

Agnes Roboz 1926 – 2021

We were recently saddened to hear of the death of Hungarian choreographer and dance teacher, Agnes Roboz.

Roboz taught summer programmes at The Royal Ballet School and was integral to the expansion of our Associate programmes to include the teaching of national dances. Her character work was also incorporated by our Artistic team into their teaching of our full-time students across year groups.

Our Associate Programme Manager, Sylvia Hubbard said:

In 1990 Agnes Roboz was invited to create a body of material for the younger Associate students to introduce national dances into the Associate training and is still currently being taught to Junior Associates. Over time, we increasingly appreciated the richness and value of the material as a resource to develop the skills and fundamental concepts that underpin an early classical ballet training.

Agnes was an exacting teacher, insisting on accuracy and authenticity but she was always very generous and supportive of us as Associate teachers. She was very good company, intellectually stimulating with a great sense of humour and always remained interested in the Programme and ‘her ladies’ as she referred to the Associate teachers.

About Agnes Roboz

Roboz was born on 18 June 1926 in Budapest, Hungary. She studied dance at the Troyanov Ballet Academy from 1938 – 1944, and then graduated as a choreographer in 1950 from the College of Theatre and Film Arts. As a student, she led folk dance groups in local factories.

Roboz was a founding teacher of the State Ballet Institute (now the Hungarian Dance Academy) and was at the forefront of the character dance community. At this time, she was also the leading choreographer at the Budapest Operatta Theatre until 1956 and continued to successfully choreograph works elsewhere for both stage and screen.

In 1971, after her husband’s death, the Dutch Minister of Culture invited her to teach Hungarian folk dance, as well as other national dances, at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. Until 2008, Roboz taught dance throughout the Netherlands, and during summers, at institutions across Europe including The Royal Ballet School.

During her later years, she was active in Hungarian public life as a patron of young choreographers, a dance examiner and as a teacher of character dance. Roboz was awarded several times throughout her life for her work in dance and the influence it had on the teaching of character and national dance around the world; most notably she became a Meritorious Artist of Hungary in 2008.