Girl, 6, among winners crowned Strictly Cymru champions with inspiring dance performance

  • By ITV Wales Reporter Sangita Lal

An inclusive dance competition run by a disability charity has announced this year's winners after continuing through the pandemic.

Strictly Cymru has been running for three years, giving people of all abilities the chance to compete for a trophy.

The competition drew participants from all over Wales, with heats taking place in Anglesey, Wrexham, Carmarthen, Bridgend, Cardiff and Newport.

Each award commended competitors based on their journey, dedication, passion and musicality, technicality, synchronisation and rhythm.

The final was held online due to coronavirus restrictions, with routines submitted over video and the winners being announced in a live virtual ceremony.

Inga said she was very happy to win her category.

Six-year-old Inga Figurska, from Caerphilly, has spinal muscular atrophy, which means her muscles can often feel weak.

But she is never short of energy when it comes to dancing, and her practising paid off - winning in the wheelchair category.

Before taking part in the project, Inga had never danced before. She gradually grew in confidence and strength, and can now independently lift herself out of her wheelchair.

Her parents said that the competition had been a lifeline and stopped them feeling isolated from their community during lockdown.

Matthew says he never thought he would win.

For the non-wheelchair category, Matthew Morley, 18, from Newport, performed a Latin mix to 'One Vision' by Queen.

He won the trophy after overcoming his anxieties about dancing in front of others.

He said: "You feel a sense of power that if there's anyone else in the room, no one else owns the stage.

"It's the first time I've ever won a competition in my life!

"I would just like to say a massive thank you to Leonard Cheshire for giving me the confidence, self-belief and the encouragement over the past year."

The judging panel applauded as the winners were announced.

The judging panel was made up of Carolyn Harris MP, along with Paula Moulton and Gary Lyness - the UK’s first and only top-class Latin Wheelchair Dance Sport couple.

Leonard Cheshire fundraising manager for Wales, Emma Wilcox, described Strictly Cymru as "far more than a dance competition".

"It is an opportunity to grow in confidence, believe in yourself and to try something new," she added.

"This year, we have supported people from all over Wales who had never had the opportunity to dance before. Strictly has opened doors for disabled people to dance in national competitions, volunteer in local clubs as mentors and teach dance classes.

"We are so proud of the competition and hope to raise enough funds to deliver it again next year."