Dancers mark 50-year link with twin town.

Byline: Liz Day Reporter liz.day@walesonline.co.uk

TRADITIONAL Welsh dress and lederhosen will come together this weekend in a celebration of Welsh and German culture marking a 50-year partnership between Cardiff and Stuttgart. The two cities, which are 700 miles apart, were formally twinned in 1955 and this weekend, folk dancers in traditional costume from Wales and Germany will meet to mark the milestone.

"We're thrilled about performing at a festival and sharing our traditions," said Enfys Dixey, chair of Cardiff 's folk dancing group.

The dancers, known as Cwmni Dawns Werin Caerdydd, will perform at a festival in Heilbronn on the outskirts of Stuttgart in the south-west of Germany.

They were invited to perform by their German counterparts, Stuttgarter Spielkreis and will stay with local host families, as well as meeting the city's mayor.

Ms Dixey added: "We have enjoyed a long friendship with the German dancers.

"We felt that it was especially important this year for people from Cardiff to visit Stuttgart to celebrate the partnership between the two cities."

The German dance group first visited South Wales in 2005 for Cardiff's annual midsummer dance festival Gwyl Ifan.

Stuttgart is the capital of the Baden-Wurttemberg state and is the sixth largest city in Germany, with a population of about 600,000.

The region is known for its hi-tech industries, and is famous for manufacturing cars, with Mercedes-Benz and Porsche both having headquarters and museums in the city.

According to Cardiff council, which organises the twinning, educational exchanges play a "key role" in the link between cities.

The international team says there has also been an increase in professional study visits, with representatives from Cardiff taking part in planning, community safety and waste management trips.

Stuttgart City Council also takes part in Cardiff's international food and drink festival.

A spokesman said: "For over half a century, these links and their strong social, economic and cultural programmes of activities, have broadened the horizons and enriched the cultural experience of generations."

After being twinned with Stuttgart in 1955, Cardiff was twinned with Luhansk in the Ukraine in 1958, followed by Nantes in France in 1964. It was also partnered with Xiamen, China, in 1983 and Hordaland, Norway, in 1996.

HOW THE TOWNS COMPARE Population: Cardiff: 350,000, Stuttgart 600,000 Traditional dress: Cardiff: bedgown, Stuttgart: lederhosen Football team: Cardiff: Cardiff City FC, Stuttgart: VfB Stuttgart Average rainfall per month: Cardiff: 96mm, Stuttgart: 61mm Key attractions: Cardiff: St Fagan's, Wales Millennium Centre, National Museum and Art Gallery, Bute Park, Cardiff Castle, Stuttgart: Neckar Park, Wilhelma Zoo, Mercedes-Benz Museum, Palace Square, State Gallery of Stuttgart

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Cardiff folk dancing group Cwmni Dawns Werin Caerdydd are travelling to Stuttgart to mark 50 years since the two cities were twinned

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