With more musicians than you could count on both hands and a foot, and over 60 dancers, Dawnswyr Gwerin Pen-y-Fai (Pen-y-Fai Welsh Folk Dancers) celebrated their 50thanniversary with a magnificent dinner dance at the Heronston Hotel, Bridgend on Saturday June 11th. And thanks to the National Lottery Community fund they were able to celebrate in style.
Past members, friends, and representatives of other folk dance teams came from all over Wales, and some even from England to join in the celebrations. The dancers were also delighted to host Councillor Tim Jones Mayor of Bridgend town, and Councillor Martyn Jones Mayor of Bridgend County Borough and their consorts.
Dawnswyr Gwerin Pen-y-Fai were formed in 1971, but covid restrictions meant that the celebration could not take place until 2022. The original instigators were Mel and Gwynfydd Evans, now of Parc Court Road Bridgend, but who lived at the time in the village of Pen-y-Fai, and a group of like-minded friends who had belonged to a folk dancing team at Swansea University in the 1960s.
The team has been meeting weekly since that very first meeting and has travelled extensively in the UK and Europe, dancing in concerts and festivals. Mel Evans has remained team leader and instructor since the beginning, and shows no signs of .flagging! By today Mel and Gwyn have created a dancing dynasty. Their daughter Ceri Evans, who was MC for the evening is now team Chair and their grandchildren are also skilled dancers.
Much to everyone’s delight the first dance of the evening was a dance called Y Twmpath Aur (the Golden Ceilidh) composed by 11 year old Osian Evans, and yes, you’ve guessed, Mel and Gwyn’s grandson Osian, now aged 12 grabbed the mike with aplomb and called the dance better than any professional. The Welsh Folk Dance Society hopes to publish the dance in their annual magazine ‘Dawns’ this summer.
Pen-y-Fai Dancers are thrilled to have been invited to dance at the prestigious Yn Chruinnaght Celtic Festival at the Isle of Man in July, and so their story continues.