South East Wales

Cardiff hosts 'Strictly Cymru' inclusive dance final

Organiser Rashmi with finalists Gordon and Julie Image copyright Step Change Studios
Image caption Organiser Rashmi with finalists Gordon and Julie

Wales' first inclusive dance final, "Strictly Cymru", took place in Cardiff on Saturday.

Ten people secured their place after about 100 entrants competed in five heats with a range of dance styles.

One of the organisers, Rashmi Becker, said the number of entrants showed "the importance of providing more creative, inclusive opportunities to be active".

Finalists danced with professional partners in a range of styles at Cardiff Masonic Hall.

The event was set up by national disability care provider Leonard Cheshire and dance company Step Change Studios.

Leonard Cheshire supports more than 2,000 disabled people in Wales, including finalists Lauren O'Neill and husband Edward Hickman who both use wheelchairs for mobility.

Ms O'Neill, referring to the heats, said: "I loved dancing tango with my husband Eddie and it was nice to be able to dedicate my performance to my uncle who passed away recently. He was a ballroom dancer and used to be my dance partner before I met Eddie."

Other finalists include artist Helen Evans, 47, from Llangollen, Denbighshire, and a group of students from Queen Elizabeth High School in Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire, calling themselves "Strictly Amazing".

Dancers were invited to compete in five regional heats across Wales between December and February.

Image copyright Step Change Studios
Image caption Dance professional Cat with finalists Sarah and Will
Image copyright Leonard Cheshire
Image caption Strictly Cymru instructors and dancers

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