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Watch: Strictly’s Amy Dowden dances to Welsh music at Cardiff installation inspired by ancient Celtic festival

09 Dec 2022 3 minute read

Strictly Come Dancing professional Amy Dowden starred in a one-off special performance at a Cardiff sound installation inspired by an ancient Celtic festival – ‘Goleuni’r Gaeaf’ (Light of Winter).

Dancing to Elin Fflur’s version of Welsh folksong Ar Lan y Môr and dressed in a gown from Morgan Quarter’s Pretty Perfect Boutique – Amy, along with partner Lloyd, performed under the spectacular installation in St John’s Garden at dusk.

A special video has been created, showcasing the installation in all its glory with Amy’s performance at its centre.

Amy, who was born and trained in Caerphilly, hopes the installation – that’s been inspired by ancient Welsh Winter Solstice tradition, and aims to shine a light on the importance of community spirit – will bring people together this winter.

Amy Dowden and partner Lloyd

Amy said: “It was so wonderful to dance under the light of this breath-taking installation, and I can’t wait to see people enjoy it during the winter months. This winter, everyone is feeling the effects of the cost-of-living crisis, so it’s really important that everyone has the opportunity to access joyful and fun activities.

“What’s even better is that the installation has been inspired by Welsh tradition, and that music – especially the powerful words of Ar Lan y Môr – is such a key part of the experience.

“So, whether you’re dancing, singing, or just gazing at the beautiful installation, I’d encourage everyone to make a visit to The Light of Winter installation, and experience the wonder for themselves.”

‘Folklore’

In place from 25 Nov – 11 Feb and open daily from 8am-9pm, the free installation, located at St John’s Garden near Cardiff Market, invites families to immerse themselves in the responsive light and soundscape – which includes a version of the Welsh folksong Ar Lan y Môr, recorded by St John’s Choir.

Best enjoyed at dusk and after dark, the installation, which is a new addition to Cardiff’s winter attractions from FOR Cardiff, is inspired by the ancient Welsh Midwinter celebration. The traditional feast, held on the shortest day of the year, was known as ‘Goleuni’r Gaeaf (The Light of Winter)’, and was a time to celebrate community and welcome longer, brighter days.

In addition to the installation, there will be free family storytelling and art workshops in January ’23, hosted by local author and illustrator Jack Skivens. The artist, inspired by Goleuni’r Gaeaf, has designed a set of characters – a wren, robin, and starling – which will be located around the city centre to help families discover the installation.

Amy Dowden and partner Lloyd

Jack Skivens said: “The story of the robin and the wren is synonymous with Celtic folklore, and they are often used to guide people to wonderful places. I hope this winter, they will help guide thousands of families to the Goleuni’r Gaeaf installation.

“I’m really excited to be delivering the workshops as I hope it will allow families to enjoy free, accessible activities in the city centre, and inspire young minds about Wales’ important traditional tales.”


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