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Diary July 2020

Gwerinwyr Diary July 2020 by Sue Venn

Well, what a year!

We haven’t danced since March and at the time of writing there is no prospect of even starting back to practice. It is such a shame that so many festivals and fund raising events have had to be cancelled. We had some lovely bookings lined up such as the Tredegar House and Chippenham folk festivals in May, Abergavenny arts festival in June and Stroud folk weekend in September.

Then there was Crickfest and Magor Marsh open day, both in July, plus a fund raising school ceilidh in Cefn Hengoed, Panteg Ladies Probus and Devauden WI.

The rescheduled NGS open garden day at Llanover was going ahead on the 2nd August, but with reduced numbers by timed ticket, and no refreshments, plant sales or, of course, traditional Welsh dancing. The amount of money raised for charity this year will be a fraction of previous years, but at least some gardens have been able to open since lockdown eased. Whoever came up with the idea, it is a wonderful way to raise money.

Some of our past activities:

Bargoed 2015 Bradford on Avon 2017 Tredegar House Festival 2018 Llanover Village - for Prince Charles 2019

Members of our group live as far apart as Bridgend in the west to Hereford in the east, and we have kept in touch by fortnightly Zoom meetings and quizzes, but it will be so good to get back together and dance. As always we are hoping to encourage some new people to join us. We have a couple of young members, but most of us are around retirement age and we worry that the group will not be able to keep going. It will be a tragedy if a part of traditional Welsh culture is lost from this area of Wales. At present there are also groups in Pontypool and Blaenavon but we are all suffering from the same problem with recruitment, and fewer schools are including Welsh dancing in their curriculum, even with the encouragement of the Welsh government.

Welsh folk dance steps are few and quite easy, it is mainly the pattern of the dances that has to be learnt. It is a sociable way of keeping fit, so please think about giving it a try....and don’t let the costume put you off, you soon get used to wearing it.  We would also love to recruit some extra musicians to join our band.

Gwerinwyr Gwent is always seeking new members, and beginners or experienced dancers/musicians are very welcome. Practice night is (will be once we are able to re-start) Thursday 8 to 10pm at the Graig Community Hall (opposite the Ruperra PH).

For more details visit our website, ring 01495 271953, or just come along and give it a try.