On Monday, 3rd August, we heard the sad news of Alice E. Williams’ death. She was one of our first members and one who did so much to promote Welsh traditional dancing.
ALICE EILEEN WILLIAMS was born in Bryn Madog, Brynrefail in 1925 as the second daughter of Elizabeth (formerly Robinson) and David Williams (Y Gôf). She was educated at Brynrefail Grammar School and Normal College, Bangor. Her teaching career took her from Dolwyddelan and Penmachno to many schools in Arfon before coming to Ysgol Dolbadarn, Llanberis. She left to teach in London and later at Ellesmere Port.
After early retirement she went on a six month tour to teach and teach Folk Dance Wales in Australia. She settled in Cardiff for some years after returning from Australia, and whilst there had the opportunity to do much research. Eventually, she returned to her home area and lived in Caernarfon – returning to her roots to be closer to her family and her Welshness.
The Urdd your movement was a strong influence on Alice and she joined their staff from 1950-1956 as an area organiser for Arfon. During that time, she made the most of the opportunity to promote folk dancing, which was just the beginning of the pioneering work of re-establishing and popularising Welsh Folk Dancing after WFDS was established in 1949. She was a member of WFDS from the outset. Over the years she was an active an influential Society member and served as President for three terms of three years. In 1987, she was honored with the Society’s Medal of Honour; and received honorary membership of the Bardic Circle in 1982, as Alys Brynrefail. Her Folk Dance Textbook (Welsh and English) was published in 1985 and she wrote numerous articles and presented many lectures on the history and development of traditional Welsh dance. She was well-known and much-loved by dancers across Wales and beyond, and the tributes payed by various members highlight her influence.
A full remembrance will be published in the Society’s annual ‘Dawns’, due out this autumn.