GWERINWYR GWENT WELSH FOLK DANCERS
Gwerinwyr Diary Sept 2015 by Barbara Griffiths
On Saturday 18th July we danced in the sunshine outside Rhiwderin Community Hall. On this date we should have been dancing at the annual ‘Day of Dance’ held in the Botanical Gardens of Wales near Carmarthen, but this year we didn’t have enough people available to make the trip. Therefore, at less than a weeks’ notice, we were able to be involved in the fund raising fete to oppose the development of woodland near the Junction 28 restaurant in Bassaleg. Unfortunately, despite the efforts of the organisers to publicise the event, not many people turned up to support it. We had to rely on the police cadets to join in with our audience participation dances, but I’m sure they enjoyed it.
Our next outing was on Tuesday 11th August near the lake at the Garden Festival site in Ebbw Vale. This was a family fun event with a Welsh flavour organised by Communities First at Blaenau Gwent CBC. We had to compete with a large bouncy castle next to us, but did manage to encourage quite a few people (including many children) to join in, especially when we moved into the centre of the field for the second half.
An additional festival was added this year as The Proclamation of The National Eisteddfod of Wales, which is coming to Abergavenny in 2016, needed to be proclaimed. This took place in Meadow Fields alongside the river and the adult dancers as well the school dancers enjoyed dancing at this prestigious event during the first week of August 2016.
We have only one more booking in the diary up to the end of the year, but already 3 events are confirmed for 2016. Let’s hope next year will be as busy as this year has been.
As well as the adults enjoying Welsh Folk dancing, the group in 1981 decided to set up a children's festival for the pupils of former Gwent with 8 schools taking part. Over the years this has grown to 4 venues with an annual 5th being added at Tredegar House Folk Festival in 2013.
Welsh Folk dancing is an ideal way to encourage children to want to know something of their culture. They learn the dances at school through after school clubs, and by the end of the year they perform 12 dances as a group for family and public in Newport, Cwmbran, Abertillery and Abergavenny, dancing in traditional Welsh costume. Pupils from 50-80 schools participate at one of the 5 venues and local people /pupils are introduced to a part of Welsh Culture they would never have otherwise encountered. Some of these festivals have turned into a very social morning, and if the weather is fine picnic chairs and refreshments appear. As the show must go on, wet weather provision is arranged using local leisure centres.
Gwerinwyr Gwent is always seeking new members, and beginners or experienced
dancers/musicians are very welcome. Practice night is Thursday 8 – 10pm at the
Graig Community Hall, Bassaleg…opposite the Ruperra Pub.