A WEST End star is urging folk dancers to represent their country at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod.
Mark Evans, currently touring the USA in the hit musical comedy The Book of Mormon, believes North Wales dancers should step up.
Wales’s biggest international cultural festival will be introducing a major new dance prize this year, when it is held between July 9 and 14.
Mark, from Llanrhaeadr, in the Vale of Clwyd, said: “Llangollen is a wonderful event with a tremendous heritage and it is a great experience to be a part of, whether singing or dancing.
“I would urge dance troops from Wrexham, Flintshire and the Dee Valley to hurry to be involved in this year’s event and showcase their talent to the world.”
The idea for the Saturday night dance finale is the brainchild of musical director Eilir Owen Griffiths who wants dance groups from across Wales to pick up the challenge and take on the world at Llangollen this year.
At stake will be the chance to go head to head on stage with the best in the world for a major new international prize, the Dance Champions International Trophy and £1,000.
Eilir Griffiths said: “The Choir of the World competition is internationally recognised and we want to elevate dance to the same level by giving it a place on the stage on the big night, Saturday, July 13.
“We’re hoping to attract more dance groups from Wales and so we have moved the two major dance competitions to the weekend.
The choreographed dance competition will take place on Friday and the traditional dance on Saturday.
Then in a spectacular finale the winners of each will then dance-off on the main stage at the Royal International Pavilion for the title of dance champions.
Mr Griffiths added: “The eisteddfod has always boasted that it has the best in folk dancing and choral music from around the world but if it’s the best why isn’t there a best of the best competition for dance?
“For me it’s vitally important that competition in both art forms should culminate in the same way – on the stage on Saturday night.
“We want to reach across the dance community that there is another reason for them to come this year.”
The eisteddfod has extended the deadline for entries to the dance competitions to February 1.
For more details, including how to enter, visit www.international-eisteddfod.co.uk or www.facebook.com/llangollen