Valeria Dienes born as V. Geiger in Szekszárd, Hungary, 25 May 1879, attended school in the Transdanubian towns of Szekszárd, Pápa and Gyor where she obtained her diploma of primary-school teacher in 1897. Between 1901 and 1905 she was a student and graduated from the Budapest Academy of Music as disciple of Á. Szendi, and from the Budapest Pázmány University under Alexander Bernáth, with her thesis called “Theories of Reality”, obtaining Ph.D. in philosophy and aesthetics, teachers degree in mathematics and physics. At the ceremony of conferring doctors degrees upon the candidates (on 24 June 1905) Valéria Geiger was lined up in alphabetic order next to Pál Dienes, also doctorandus and there they exchanged wedding rings and got married in December of that year. Obtaining a scholarship to Paris between 1908-1912 she studied philosophy with Henri Bergson attending his lectures. When back in Budapest she translated Bergson’s works into Hungarian, as the only person authorized by the author to do so: “Le rire’ in 1913, “Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience” (1923), “Durée et Simultanéité” (1923), “Évolution Creatrice” (1930) and her Hungarian MS of “Les deux sources de la morale et de la religion” (2002). During her Paris years she saw on several occasions Isadora Duncan, the pioneer of modern “free” dance and attended Raymond Duncan’s courses of Greek gymnastics. which had serious artistic impressions on her. Returning to Budapest in 1912 she showed and explained the movements of the Duncan-type natural dancing in a circle of her friends and owing to lively interest, she started a private course. She soon opened her school of orchestics in Budapest published a study on Duncan’s “Greek” dance (1915) and held the first performance of her school of “modern dance” in Urania Theatre (Budapest) in 1917 with tremendous success. This was the first performance of what was called art of movement in Hungary (and Germany). After several years abroad (1919-1923) she reopened her school in Budapest and started choreographing for her pupils. One of the first works was “Towards Dawn” (1925), followed by mystery plays between the two WWs in co-operation with the composer Lajos Bárdos. Some of their joint productions are biblical plays like the “Eight Beatitudes” (1926), “The Ten Virgins” (1934), historical plays, like “Mystery of Saint Emeric’ in 1930, “The Fate of the Child” (1935), “Patrona Hungariae” (1938) etc. Beside these major productions featuring hundreds of participants, V. Dienes choreographed a number of children’s tales, like “Cinderella”, “Sleeping Beauty” to selected music and her own texts, and hundreds of other dances.
Parallel to these activities V. Dienes established a system of human movements also called orchestics in the early twenties. This relies on the four criteria of human movement: space, time, energy and expression developed into such disciplines as kinetics, rhythmics, dynamics and symbolics. In kinetics her “geometrical phantom” consists of lines (body units) and pivotal points (articulations), moving in relative kinetics (positions) and in absolute kinetics (locomotion). Rhythmics, partly based on prosody, studies the co-ordination of auditive and visual stresses articulating the flow of time. In dynamics the movements are analysed according to the amplitudes and lengths of the input and output waves (energy fed and used). In symbolics we enter the realm of communication where living movement performs its social function. Meaningful movement is a link from mind to mind, from heart to heart. The study of meaning-carriers leads to what Dienes calls evolutionary logic (evologic) governed by such laws as time synthesis (past and future penetrating the present), creative drive, lack of identicity, and irreversibility. Her book about her system of movement appeared only after her death in 1995. Her school – as other free dance schools too – was banned during communist regime.
In the first period of her life Valerie Dienes was not a believer but – according to her memoirs – in the 1920’s after an inner inspiration she unexpectadly found the way to God. The change and development of her view of life, spiritual and religious philosophy was not only based on Bergson’s philosophy but also on talks with the bishop Ottokar Prohászka and the evolution theory of Theilhard de Chardin. Her theological, spiritual thoughts were collected in two volumes publish by the Hungarian Szent István Publisher in 1983 Hajnalvárás (Towards Dawn) and Miénk az ido (Time is Ours). In the second half of the century – living with her son’s, Gedeon’s family – Valerie was a wonderful grandma helping to bring up her two grandsons Balázs and Ákos. She died when she was nearly 100 years old in 1978.