GWERINWYR GWENT WELSH FOLK DANCERS

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Diary March 2024

Gwerinwyr Diary March 2024 by Sue Venn

In early March 2019 a group of French Canadian students from Laval near Montreal was visiting the UK, and, working from an appeal put out by the Welsh Folk Dance Society, a visit to Newport’s Welsh Medium School was arranged by GG member Barbara Griffiths. The event was called ‘A Flavour of Wales’ and GG was involved by giving some dance displays and demonstrating easy dances they could join in with.

This time Barbara was contacted directly by the Canadian agent, Michel Paquet, but as she was very busy and the last visit involved a huge amount of work, she advised him to contact WFDS to see if another of their member groups would like to arrange it. Not a single group replied, so Barbara felt obliged to take it on, but put together a much scaled down programme. There would be no school involvement this time, and as the group of 50 14-16 year olds plus 5 teachers was coming from Heathrow via London, Stonehenge and Bath, just a couple of hours at our practice venue (the Graig Community Hall in Bassaleg) was squeezed in before they moved on to their hotel in Cardiff for a 4 night stay.

Barbara gave them short talks about Wales in between our dance displays, and taught a few useful words of Welsh. They had a drink with Welsh cakes as refreshment before joining in with a couple of easy dances. They took to it enthusiastically, and these days it is refreshing to see boys as well as girls dancing together without self-consciousness or embarrassment. They would have liked to do more but the evening was cut short by the restrictions on their coach driver’s hours.

Surprisingly this year we had no bookings around St David’s Day, so the next event was our annual visit to Llanover – on Sunday 24th March. The opening of the gardens as part of the National Garden Scheme for charity had been in doubt two weeks before because of all the rain we have had (parking is in one of the fields), but fortunately it went ahead and the afternoon was lovely. There were over 450 visitors which raised a huge amount for NGS charities, plus the local church benefitted from the sale of refreshments. The gardens as always looked lovely with all the daffodils and magnolias out in bloom.

Our next outing will be Saturday 11th May at the Tredegar House Folk Festival. There are free dance displays in two marquees between 1-5pm both Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

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

For more details visit our website www.gwerinwyrgwent.org.uk, or ring 01495 271953.