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Diary March 2019

Gwerinwyr Diary March 2019 by Sue Venn

On Wednesday 6th March we had our first booking of 2019 (nothing on St David’s day this year which is most unusual). This took place at Ysgol Gyfun Gwent Is Coed (Newport’s first Welsh medium secondary school), and came about as a result of an email from L’Ecole d’Education International de Laval, near Montreal in Canada to the Welsh Folk Dance Society. A group of 62 students (16-17 years old) and 5 teachers was visiting the UK, including a 2 day visit to Wales, and they were keen to watch and take part in some Welsh dancing.

Under the auspices of Gwyl Plant Gwent (the children’s dance festival involving schools established by GG members in 1981), the visit to Ysgol Gwent Is Coed was arranged. With the help of the head teacher and pupils of the school, a programme was put together by Barbara Griffiths to give the Canadians a ‘flavour of Wales’.

This started with pupils giving their visitors a tour of the school, followed by refreshments and a short power point presentation about the landscape and famous places of Wales. Then they were treated to a demonstration of clog dancing by Mr James (maths teacher), a pupil harp quartet and a Welsh language solo. GG gave a display of some traditional Welsh folk dances, and finally a mini twmpath with GG demonstrating the dances and the Canadian and Gwent Is Coed students joining in enthusiastically. We didn’t have to encourage them onto the floor, the 14-17 year olds were up on their feet, eager to join in and determined to enjoy themselves.....and it certainly looked as though they did!

They were returning to Canada on the following Saturday and we hope they left the UK with happy memories of their time in Wales.

Our next booking was Monday 25th March at Lodge Farm Church in Caerleon where, dare I say it, the age group was at the other end of the spectrum! This was a reprise of an evening put together by Barbara Griffiths telling the story of Gwerinwyr Gwent and Welsh folk dancing, made up of dance displays interspersed with the audience guessing what was inside a series of boxes by answering clues read out by GG dancers. At the end there was time for just one easy ceilidh dance for those who wanted to join in.

March was a busy month, as on 31st March we paid our annual visit to Llanover for the NGS open garden day. It is always a lovely event and raises such a lot of money for charity.  The weather was dry although very cold, but that didn’t stop people flooding in. We were again joined by the Lloyd family, so had a super band of musicians (they were frozen), and a lot of people watched and enjoyed our performances....we had some very nice feedback.

 Gwerinwyr Gwent is always seeking new members, and beginners or experienced dancers/musicians are very welcome. Practice night is Thursday 8pm-10pm at the Graig Community Hall Bassaleg, opposite the Ruperra pub.