Feb 8, 2010

Welsh Folk Dance at NAFOW - Portland, Oregon 2010

An Interview with Eirian Owen, Musical Director of the Cor Godre'r Aran who will be appearing at NAFOW 2010 can be found here. More info and registration here

Welsh Folk Dance at NAFOW

WELSH DANCES The history of Welsh folk dancing is a sad one. With the advent of the Non-conformist sects in the 18th and 19th centuries, the chapels saw the Welsh folk arts and customs as sinful and not in keeping with chapel teaching. They did their utmost to stamp out all sorts of "sinful" folk entertainment except, of course, hymn singing and music in the chapels. Some saw the damage that was being done to the culture and managed to record the dances on paper. Like most music of that period, there was a lot of exchange and borrowing between Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland and Europe and a number of Welsh dances went into British/English collections, and tended to retain the original Welsh names in translation to English. By the start of the 20th Century, folk dancing contributed very little to Welsh culture. In the Twenties, a few people started to take interest in the old dances. In the 1940s, Lois Blake and Gwyn Williams led the way in reviving the Welsh dancing tradition and in 1949 the Welsh Folk Dance Society was formed, with the aim of promoting and resurrecting the old dances. Today, there are over twenty adult teams and hundreds of teams in the schools and clubs across Wales. This program is for all ages and will teach participants a number of Welsh dances, which will be taught by Sian Frick, a well-known and experienced instructor. Music will be provided by the Portland band, Beltaine. Come, enjoy a good time.

SIÂN FRICK, Welsh Dance Instructor. Siân is a British national of mainly Welsh parentage. From 1984 to 1991 she attended Cymdeithas Ddawns Werin Cymru (Welsh Folk Dance Society) workshops in Wales to learn the spirited but light-footed Welsh dances, and in 1988 she earned the Cymdeithas Instructors Certificate, Part 1. From 1986 to 1992 Siân led her group Dawnswyr y Tract Cymreig/The Welsh Tract dancers, based in Newark Delaware, and in 1991 she was a member of the Dawnswyr Môn display team in Anglesey for six months. Siân is frequently invited to teach Welsh folk dance workshops and give clogging demonstrations at many of the Celtic festivals in the mid-Atlantic region. On her regular visits to Wales she has joined Welsh teams performing dances at various events such as the Gwyl Ifan (Midsummer) Festival in Cardiff.

BELTAINE is a Northwest trio featuring hammered dulcimer, guitar, flute, and marimbula. They are unique in their blend of instrumentation. Their styles range from Celtic to traditional music from around the world. They do not limit themselves to any one genre. Their backgrounds include folk, rock, classical, jazz, and blues. They choose music that speaks to them. They try to put their spin on these tunes to make them unique to Beltaine. Their music is their passion, and they love playing and performing around the Northwest. They are excited to hear that others enjoy their music and they love stories about the music.

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