Long Sword dance

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Yorkshire

The Long Sword dance is a hilt-and-point sword dance from Yorkshire in England. It is related to the rapper sword dance of Northumbria, but the character is fundamentally different as it uses rigid metal or wooden swords, rather than the flexible spring steel rappers used by its northern relation.

Although Long Sword dances are found scattered all over Yorkshire, there are particular concentrations of dances in East Cleveland, the northern part of the North York Moors and around Sheffield.

Long Sword dances vary in the way they are performed, with some being slow and militaristic, such as the Grenoside or Handsworth dances from near Sheffield, while others are quicker.

Unlike many traditional dances in England, which are mainly performed by revival teams, Long Sword dances are often still performed by their own village teams, such as the Goathland Plough Stots and Flamborough Sword Dancers. These teams generally maintain the traditions of their dances, such as traditional performances on Boxing Day or Plough Monday.

The International Sword Spectacular took place in Whitby, England in May 2004. This was the largest gathering of sword dancers from around the world for some time.

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"Rolls" - the final figure in the Grenoside sword dance
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The Execution of the Captain in the Grenoside sword dance
The Handsworth sword dancers
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The Handsworth sword dancers
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The Goathland Plough Stots
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The Flamborough sword dancers in 2000
The Flamborough sword dancers in 1998
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The Flamborough sword dancers in 1998

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