Mr. Rabovsky and Ms. Kovach have helped expose a wide audience to ballet through television appearances, including seven performances on the Ed Sullivan show. They danced on one of Judy Garland’s TV variety shows, performed at Radio City Music Hall and appeared in nightclubs like the Latin Quarter. They also led their own troupe, Bihari, in 1963 and made appearances in ballet companies around the world.
Istvan Rabovsky was born on March 31, 1930 in Szeged, Hungary, and grew up partly in Gyomaendrod, a village in the Hungarian plains. Mrs Itow, his wife, said his parents were poor and had sent him in the summer to live in the village with his grandmother, who was a midwife, and his grandfather, a handyman.
Istvan “enjoyed herding goats, geese and water buffalo as a child,” his daughter Lisa Rabbe wrote in an email. But he also loved to dance in the streets, she said, and his family was persuaded to audition him for the Budapest State Opera Ballet School. Because his parents couldn’t support him, the ballet school arranged for Istvan to live with another family while he was a student, Ms Istow said.
In addition to his wife, a former ballet dancer, and Mrs. Rabbe, Mr. Rabovsky is survived by another daughter, Emese Camanelli; three grandsons; and a great-grandson.
As part of their training for the Budapest Ballet, Ms. Kovach and Mr. Rabovsky were selected by Galina Ulanova, the Bolshoi major ballerina, to study for six months in Leningrad in 1949-50. There Ms Kovach was taken under the wing of Agrippina Vaganova, the most influential teacher of Soviet ballet, while Mr Rabovsky worked with Pyotr Gusev, who had danced in George Balanchine’s early choreographies in the 1920s and became director of the Bolshoi and Kirov ballets. companies.
Ms. Kovach and Mr. Rabovsky were generally adored by the public, but criticized by some American critics, who felt that they sacrificed classical form to technical “tricks”.