GWERINWYR GWENT WELSH FOLK DANCERS

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Diary May 2019

Gwerinwyr Diary May 2019 by Sue Venn

On Friday 12th April, a group of 6 dancers and 3 musicians travelled to the Mercure Holland House Hotel and Spa in Cardiff. This was to provide entertainment at the gala dinner for international delegates attending the Biofeedback Federation CIC conference. The conference is held in a different country every two years, and the organisers try to include examples of local culture. We put on a couple of displays in between courses, and when the meal had been cleared away, taught a few simple ceilidh dances on the small dance floor to those delegates who stayed up (it was quite a late night).

Our next big event was Saturday 11th May at the 30th anniversary Tredegar House Folk Festival. We danced 3 spots, one in each of the dance marquees plus one outside in the Cotyledon food and craft market. The weather was fine and sunny thank goodness, and the market (only there on the Saturday) was a nice addition to the festival. It is hoped that next year it will be onsite both Saturday and Sunday. Czech dance side Matenik from Prague was the international dance team, they are always energetic with colourful costumes, and with Hevva from Cornwall and many other local and English dance teams, (26 in all)  they took part in the free dance displays over two days.

The concerts were bigger and better than ever, with Welsh folk award winners Alaw and Calan headlining on Saturday and Sunday respectively. There was also a free concert and 2 open mic sessions for music lovers. The daily processions added music and colour and there were workshops, impromptu and organised music sessions, a children’s entertainer, craft stalls, food vans, and of course real ale and lager/soft drink bars.

The following weekend we appeared at another festival, this time in Bradford-on-Avon. We danced two years ago at the inaugural BoA Day of Dance and were looking forward to a return in 2018, when the organisers realised the date clashed with the royal wedding of Harry and Meghan, and reluctantly decided to cancel the event knowing few people would be there. Happily, renamed as the BoA Green Man Festival, it was reinstated this year. Participating teams are mainly drawn from the three types of Morris dancing with a few other dance styles thrown in for contrast. Bradford-on-Avon is a very pretty town and there were plenty of people sitting in the park and outside cafes watching the dancing. It is hoped the festival will grow in size year on year.

Gwerinwyr Gwent would love to recruit some new dancers, especially men! Welsh dance steps are basic and few, it is just the patterns of the dances that need to be learned. We would also be delighted to welcome extra musicians to join our little band. Practice night is Thursday 8-10pm at the Graig Community Hall, Bassaleg (opposite the Ruperra Arms). Either just come along, ring 01495 271953 for more details, or check out our website www.gwerinwyrgwent.org.uk or Facebook page.