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Folk dancing is probably the form of dance most closely associated with Wales. And it certainly draws in the crowds at the Urdd, National and Llangollen Eisteddfodau each year.
There are over 20 adult groups across Wales today, from Cardiff’s Dawnswyr Nantgarw to Dawnswyr Delyn in Mold and Dawnswyr Talog in Carmarthenshire. Hundreds of children and young people also keep the tradition alive through school groups and the Urdd’s network of youth clubs or ‘aelwydydd’.
The annual Eisteddfodau aren’t the only showcase for folk dancing. Special events are held for children in Gwent and Glamorgan at Gŵyl Plant Gwent and Gŵyl Plant Morgannwg. Another highlight of the folk dancing calendar is Cardiff’s Gŵyl Ifan festival, with similar jamborees also held in other parts of the country.
The art of folk dancing was almost completely wiped out in Wales in the 19th century as it was branded sinful by influential religious leaders of the time. It came back from the brink of course and you can find out how on the Welsh National Folk Dance Society's website. The Society also publishes pamphlets describing in detail the steps of different dances. If you want to try them out for yourself, look out for a local 'twmpath dawns' or ceilidh.
The National Dance Company of Wales leads the way when it comes to contemporary dance offering a varied, international programme. You’ll get a taste of their work on the company’s website.
National Youth Dance Wales holds workshops and an annual summer school for young people aged up to 21.
Disco dancing is a popular competition at the Urdd and National Eisteddfodau, and the Mentrau Iaith also offer street dancing lessons through the medium of Welsh.
Ballet and other dance performances are staged in theatres across Wales. There’s a list of halls and theatres on Creu Cymru’s website.