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Longsword Dance taster workshop: Walkley Festival


The Handsworth Traditional Sword Dance is one of the longest surviving dance traditions in the country, first mentioned around 1870 but almost certainly older than that. The dance was recorded by folk dance collector Cecil Sharp just before the First World War; and unlike many folk dance teams, the tradition is unbroken as the dance carried on through both world wars.

The traditional dance comprises 8 men dancing a series of complex figures last about 9 minutes. Each holds the handle of his own sword and the tip of his neighbour’s throughout the dance, only letting go at the very end of the dance when the swords are locked together and held aloft by the captain.

Recently, the team has enjoyed resurgent interest, attracting several new younger members. A shortened 6-person version of the dance has been developed to take round pubs and other indoor venues. Fast, furious and short, this makes a welcome addition to the ancient traditional dance.

For more information please contact Team Captain Brian Smith (0114 248 4380) or Dance Captain Simon Brock (0114 233 6146 or e-mail

Cost: Donations
Contact: Simon Brock 0114 233 6146
Accompanied children only
Wheelchair access: Yes
Disabled toilets: Yes

This event is sponsored by Walkley Community Centre for Walkley Festival 2017