Page last updated at 10:57 GMT, Wednesday, 16 June 2010 11:57 UK
Gypsy culture celebrated on stage
Isaac Blake performs Lavior
Michael Williams of Earthfall performs Lavior, a choreography by Isaac Blake inspired by his Gypsy heritage

Gypsy Roma and Traveller History Month in Wales will be celebrated at the Riverfront in Newport on Thursday.

The venue's first event of its kind includes theatre, dance and children's performances based on workshops with the Romani Cultural and Arts Company.

It includes the premiere of Lavior (Words), a choreography by dancer Isaac Blake which explores 300 years of the oppression of nomadic people in Europe.

Another major event takes place at Cardiff's Pierhead Building on 29 June.

Irish dancing by Kathleen Cassidy

No Fit State Circus is currently working with youngsters from the Shirenewton Gypsy site while Cardiff-based Cinetig will be helping others create animations.

The events will also feature storytellers, crafts, and academic lectures.

Gypsy Roma and Traveller History Month has been held in England for a number of years with the aim of breaking down the barriers of mistrust and to create opportunities for young Gypsies to thrive in the world.

It came to Wales for the first time in 2009 with a small scale event in Cardiff Bay.

Featured activities included Irish dancing, circus skills, paper flower making and dukkering, better known as fortune telling.

Newport children with their Gypsy event posters
Children from Newport entered a competition to design posters for the event

The event was followed by the creation of a Romani Cultural and Arts Company based in Cardiff aimed at promoting a positive view of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller culture.

The celebrations in Wales are being led by Isaac Blake, a Cardiff-born Gypsy who has made a career as a contemporary dancer and choreographer.

He was delighted with the response and support of community organisations to create events which involve people of all backgrounds.

"It's about having a space where Gypsies, Roma and Travellers can come together and invite others to celebrate and learn about their culture - promoting a positive picture and breaking down barriers," he said.

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