Rumba, merengue, cha-cha, salsa –scorching rythms
“There was never any question about me wanting to be Roma or not. I want to be Roma, I was born a Roma,and everyone should accept me as I am.”Even though Jenő Bogdán has a degree in trade and tourism,and works as a seller in a supermarket, the essential thing in his life remains Latin dance.
He was born in Budapest, and he grew up in Etyek, in the countryside. Because of his father, an alcoholic,who would regularly beat up his family members, he had to leave Etyek at the age of 13. „We were living in very bad conditions; we were far from rich, in fact, we were very poor. My Roma origins have caused me a lot of bitterness that is impossible to talk about. Just give me a chance to prove that I’m like the others, like white people. Don’t look at the colour of my skin, don’t look my Roma origins: I’m a man who wants to work, to prove his worth.”
While he is speaking, his eyes reflect a strong personality of somebody who has suffered greatly, and a lot of unprocessed bitterness. „My Roma origins have followed me everywhere, until now”, he said. „One time I kicked out of a restaurant, another time of a shop because I am Roma. After a job interview, the manager of the company told me he couldn’t hire me because of the colour of my skin, but he asked me to forgive him. You must work hard everywhere, but as a Roma you have to work a thousand times harder.” He was recently fired from his position as a deputy manager in a supermarket, and he started to work as a cashier in an other one. The difference between the two positions has to do not only with salary, but also with respect.
Jenő Bogdán’s favourite pastime is dancing. Latin dance includes a wide range of dances from Latin America,all of them full of fire and emotions. Jenő is a master of cha-cha, rumba, samba, salsa, mambo and merengue. He started to dance as a child, but his father didn’t like it. However, the son became a professional dancer. His mother died 8 years ago, but Jenő still dedicates his first dance in every competition to her memory. He undergoes a total transformation during the dance: you see a proud and pleased man in the spotlight.
As he summarizes it: „Dance compensates for the pain that dwells in me and for my life’s calamities. Everything bothersome ceases during dancing lessons. At that moment, dance is the only thing that exists for me, but when it is over, the problems come back. However, as long as I dance, problems are easier to deal with.”