The ethos of the group is very much ‘have a go and have fun’ – it does not matter if you make mistakes! We encourage everyone to help each other in a friendly and supportive way, so that everyone can enjoy an evening out at the end of a busy week.
The group is run by John and Lynne Blanchfield, who were students at Aberystwyth University and married in the Wesley Chapel (now St Paul’s Methodist centre). We take part in Welsh folk dancing with Parti Dawns on Monday nights each week, Scottish dancing on Wednesday nights once a month and Irish Set Dance on Sunday afternoons once a month. We were members of a village folk dance club, also Irish Set dancing and Contra dancing in and around Cambridge for many years, where John developed his calling skills and built up a good collection of music and dances in American Contra and English Country – so we can now fulfil that niche in Aberystwyth!
John also ran a one-off group in Cambridge to learn and perform the Beseda Quadrille – a Czech dance from 1862. You can see a video of our 2010 performance in Haslingfield near Cambridge here. The dance form was created by the Royal Czech Dance Master Karel Link. Music was composed by Ferdinand Heller in the spirit of Czech folk dances. Our version of the dance is based on the 1993 recording (published by the Agency Dvorana) of Members of the Czech Folk Song and Folk Dance Ensemble, recorded in the historic Hall of Sokol. The performances by these professional ballet dancers are a contant inspiration for style, precision and elegance. Examples of this recording may be seen here and here. Also, there is a half version danced by members of the Quadrille Club here, and a full version by a Czech group here. If you are interested in starting a Beseda group in Aberystwyth, please let John know.