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Folkwales Online Magazine June 2012

Gwerincymru — o Gymru o’r byd

Dancewales by Mike Greenwood

The springtime of 2012 appears to have played host to a succession of anniversary celebrations through the folk dance community across south Wales.  On Sunday, May 6, Haverfordwest-based Dawnswyr Werin Glancleddau held a service to celebrate the team’s 40th anniversary in the church of St David’s, Prendergast, on the edge of the town. The church has strong ties with a celebrated founder member of the Glancleddau team, the late Cecily Howells who left an irreplaceable legacy to each and every one of the nation’s folk dancers with her ever-popular Pont Cleddau dance composition.  I believe the Glancleddau dancers went on to a slap-up celebratory Sunday dinner afterwards.

Also celebrating a ruby anniversary on the same weekend, Dawnswyr Gwerin Penyfai set off on the Friday night, following a dance and buffet in Taff’s Well, near the folk-dance shrine of Nantgarw, on a tour of Wales that also saw them strutting their stuff in Llangurig, Flint, Caernarfon, Barmouth, Aberystwyth and the National Botanic Gardens – and all of that in one weekend!  I well remember a similar tour in celebration of just 20 years of dancing, and I just hope you had as much fun as we did then.  I also hope you’ve all got your collective breath back by now!


Flight of the Falcon

Proclaiming an even greater achievement in longevity, the Swansea-based St Andrew’s Scottish Country Dance Society has been celebrating 60 years of dancing since1952 when the Society was formed as a social fund-raising activity for the old St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Swansea’s St Helen’s Road. The society moved to its current home in Bryn Road following the demise of the Church and can claim, justifiably, to be the oldest surviving Scottish Dancing Club in South Wales.  The Society is proud to have one of its founder members still participating actively with them, whilst youngsters once brought to the Club by their parents now attend in their own right, providing continuity to the Club’s traditions.


Our vice-presidents cut the cake

Besides its weekly Club Nights, the Society runs monthly social dances which are enjoyed by its own members and those from kindred clubs across South Wales.  For those keen enough, it is possible to dance most Saturday nights somewhere across the South Wales from Newport to Fishguard, and the various active clubs across the area who provide this dancing will always welcome visitors and new members, regardless of ability.  Instruction is given as necessary, and a warm welcome awaits you!


To proclaim the Society’s own diamond jubilee back in March, about a hundred dancers from across south Wales gathered in Swansea for a fantastic evening of celebrations which included dancing to the music of Sandy Nixon and his Band, probably the “biggest name” Scottish Dance Band ever to travel down to play in South Wales, and certainly the biggest live sound that many had had the pleasure of dancing to.  The St Andrew’s Club is always delighted to welcome the visiting dancers from a’ the airts who regularly join in while in Swansea, as well as anyone interested in trying or joining a Scottish Dancing Club, and the Secretary, Jan Proudfoot would be pleased to hear from any takers at Hearty congratulations go out to the members of the Glancleddau, Pen-y-fai and St Andrews teams, along with hopes for many more decades of enjoyable dancing together. 


Gŵyl Ifan, Wales’ foremost annual festival dedicated to just folk dancing and organised by Cwmni Dawns Werin Caerdydd, is happening on the weekend of June 15-17.  A Friday night twmpath at Cardiff’s Angel Hotel, featuring a song spot from Cardiff’s most celebrated folk band, The Hennessys will be followed by dance displays all over the city of Cardiff on Saturday, June 16, including displays by traditional dance teams from Brittany (Meskajou, based in Trebeurden in the Côtes d’Armor department) and the French Alps (La Picouline from the Dauphine region.)


Committee member Dai James said: “The festival has been running since 1977, and 2012 will be the 36th year. It was a one day festival to begin with, but then expanded to the weekend, meaning we needed accommodation.”


From 1983 to 1985, the festival was based at the Crest Hotel, now the Holiday Inn. It moved around the city centre, but with one exception, the festival has been based in the Angel Hotel, at the top of Westgate Street, since 2000. This year the Saturday annual procession will set off from the RiverWalk, by the Canton Bridge, at 11am, to the lawns in front of City Hall, where Cwmni Caerdydd will raise the Summer Pole. Gŵyl Ifan will concentrate on the City Centre and the Bay, including the Glanfa stage in the Wales Millennium Centre. The annual Taplas dinner and celebration will be held at the Angel Hotel at 7.30pm – and Cwmni Caerdydd say they are proud to have held down the price of £28!


Flashback to last year’s Gŵyl Ifan: The men of Cwmni Dawns Werin Caerdydd raise the summer pole (pawl haf) on the City Hall lawns, and Breton dancers from Meskajou   Photos by Andy Piper

There will also be lots of dancing at both the Llangollen International Eisteddfod between July 3 and 8, and the National Eisteddfod, located this year at Llandow, in the Vale of Glamorgan and held from August 4 to 11, with dancing throughout the week on the Maes and the main dance competitions on the Friday.  Following that, on Saturday August 17, the streets of Pontardawe should be filled once again with dancers of every persuasion when the town’s Summer Festival gets under way.  Dancewales’s best wishes for a happy summer of dancing are sent out to one and all, and please send in any dancing news that you have.


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Contact: Mick Tems, Editor - Folkwales Magazine, 88 Manor Chase, Y Beddau, Pontypridd, CYMRU / WALES CF38 2JE Phone: 01443 206689

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