Longsword Dance

WHAT IS LONGSWORD DANCE?longsword-logo

Longsword dance is a Yorkshire-based form of traditional dance performed by five, six or eight dancers dancing together in a circle, making a number of movements in which the dancers go over or under one of the swords. The dance normally ends with the production and display of a ‘lock’ where swords are intertwined in one of a variety of shapes.

Photo: Andy Day

See if you can tell the difference between these two ‘locks’:

Lock 1
Lock 2

 

 

 

 

Ryburn Longsword have been dancing together since 1994. Some of our dances are traditional and come from villages across Yorkshire, others have been created by members of the group.

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Members range in age from seven to seventy, most of them living in the Ryburn Valley near Halifax in West Yorkshire. Most years we can be seen dancing at local events such as Spaw Sunday in Cragg Vale, Littleborough Rushbearing and Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing but also at festivals further afield.

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Sue Coe dancing with Ryburn Longsword at her EFDSS Gold Badge award on 16 November

If you would like to try Longsword dancing, please contact Pauline Jones on 01422 823099.

We welcome dancers of all ages and abilities to our Wednesday evening practices which take place from 7.30pm to 9.00pm at 103 Oldham Rd, Ripponden. We are very lucky to be able to dance to traditional live music for our practices, which are very friendly and informal.

The Ryburn Longsword Band. Photo: Bruce Fitzgerald

 

 

 

Our ultimate aim is to dance  with precision and style to public audiences, so dancers and musicians are encouraged to attend practice regularly.

The group has attracted people’s attention, not only because of our dancing, but also because of our costumes.

Photo: Andy Day
Photo: Andy Day

Adult dancers wear a velvet surcoat or vest with applique panels showing scenes from the Ryburn Valley, which were originally designed and made by Chris Coe. Recently, new panels were created by Emma Smith, one of our dancers. The younger members wear velvet tabards whose backs show creatures found in the Ryburn valley. They were also designed by Chris in consultation with young people themselves. The beautiful colours of the velvet and satins combine to dramatic effect during the twists and turns of the dances, especially in sunlight.

More information about Longsword activities can be found HERE.


 

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An Independent Folk Development Project in the Ryburn Valley