Dance floor re-opens at Newport's Lysaghts
10:31am Friday 9th November 2012 in News
Buy this photo » TAKE YOUR PARTNERS: A tea dance at the newly refurbished Lysaght Institute
IT HAS been years since this Newport dance floor has seen so much footwork.
Dozens of dancers brought the rejuvenated Lysaght Institute back to life on Wednesday following its official opening.
The iconic building opened its doors for the first time since 2001, and hopes to regain its status as a community hub.
Dancing will be among the activities taking place at the building, led by Pam Jones, who used to dance at the venue before it closed.
She said: “I will be hosting sequence dancing on Friday afternoons and a mix of sequence and ballroom on Sunday evenings.
“It’s just wonderful to see everyone up and dancing and I hope people continue to come.”
Wednesday provided the opportunity for those who used to dance at the venue during its heyday to show off their steps.
Joining in the tea dance with his wife, Elizabeth, was 75 year old Tom Williams from Maindee, Newport.
He said: “I came to the area in 1962 and I regularly came here on a Saturday night to dance. I also played snooker here, outdoor bowls and darts, it was the heart of the community.”
Mr Williams described how the venue was so popular people would travel from as far as Bristol to attend.
He added: “I would challenge any young people to come and have a go as like any sport it takes a lot of practice, it’s not easy.”
Mr Williams, who says that even at his old age he can still jive, will continue to dance at the hall as it’s nice to meet with people from the past. Ernie Cann, 89, started dancing at the hall in 1942 as he was an apprentice in the area during the War.
He joked: “There were lots of Americans here, so we didn’t stand a chance with the girls. Dancing keeps me young and fit. I can’t bend or lift but I can still dance.”
What’s available inside
LINC Cymru worked with residents to ensure the £3m refurbishment met the needs of the community, so it will also be run as a social enterprise, and can cater for private functions.
Inside the refurbished building are meeting rooms, an IT suite, coffee shop and an equipped kitchen.