Disabled dancers shimmy for Strictly Cymru
Disabled dancers shook it on Sunday (13 January) for the street-dance themed second heats of ‘Strictly Cymru’, Wales’ first inclusive dance competition.
What an amazing and inspirational experience to be part of this project, all of the dancing stars were amazing, with each performance offering a unique interpretation of the choreography.Lucy Greenslade, Paradance UK
The dance-off took place in Gaerwen, with 22 dancers from local Leonard Cheshire homes at Gwel y Mor and Eithinog taking part, as well as Mencap Mon and local community members who answered Leonard Cheshire’s call for dancers.
Strictly Cymru is hosted by Leonard Cheshire in partnership with Paradance UK charity and aims to improve health, wellbeing and access to active lifestyles for disabled people across Wales.
After the success of last year’s event participants reported significant improvements in their well-being and confidence as a result of taking part.
Almost a third of the competitors in Sunday’s heats returned from last year’s Strictly Cymru competition, included two finalists eager to take part again.
The dancers stepped up for a hip hop and street dance themed competition over two days.
Judges were so impressed by the competitors that they nominated three finalists rather than the usual two.
Lucy Greenslade, Paradance UK, said:
‘What an amazing and inspirational experience to be part of this project, all of the dancing stars were amazing, with each performance offering a unique interpretation of the choreography.
‘The progress each participant showed over the two days was incredible to watch.’
Rhun ap Iorwerth, Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Ynys Mon, served as head judge and said:
‘What a fantastic afternoon of dance and laughter! Music is a big part of my life and to see the energy in response to the music and dance that went on this Sunday afternoon was inspiring and wonderful.
‘Well done to all the competitors and good luck to the winning acts in the final.’
Rhodri Thompson, who won in the solo category, said:
‘Thank you Leonard Cheshire for a such a fantastic opportunity to come and dance.
‘It has been a brilliant experience for everyone and a great opportunity for me to meet new people.
‘Everyone should be able to learn how to shake their shimmy whatever their ability!’
Sion Huw Jones said:
‘I’m really excited to be dancing in the final and really happy to be doing it with my friends in a group. Thank you Leonard Cheshire and judges for believing in me.’
Sarah Thornton said:
‘I really enjoyed taking part for the second year and am looking forward to dancing with my friends for the final.
‘I love to dance and really like Strictly Cymru — it would be nice to have more opportunities like Strictly Cymru.’
For further details and to find out how to take part, please visit: leonardcheshire.org/strictlycymru
For further information and interview requests, please contact: Samuel Buckley on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 3242 0204
Notes to editors:
- For the inclusive category the winners were:
- Rhodri Thompson, dancing solo
- Sarah Thornton (Finalist from year 1), William Young (finalist from year 1), James Edwards and Sion Huw Jones, dancing as a group.
- For the wheelchair category the winners were
- Owen Rowlands (Gwel y Mor) and Kayleigh Haynes (Arfon) a new pairing making their debut in the competition.
- The finalists will join others for the final on 11 May 2019.