Tag Archives: dance


Sword dancing

1909 med

Handsworth Traditional Sword Dancers – http://www.handsworthsworddancers.org.uk/

Handsworth is a suburb of Sheffield, in recent history a mining village. In this area there developed, some unknown time in the past, a sword dance for eight men, which is still performed today to the traditional pattern. The dancers wear dragoon-type uniforms and carry long-swords of inflexible steel about one metre in length. Shortly after the beginning of the ten-minute dance, they join to form a complete ring, and perform a series of complex ‘figures’, ending with a ‘lock’ of enmeshed swords, which can be carried aloft by one man. Traditionally performances take place at Christmas in the locality, and at functions and events by invitation at other places throughout the year.

…it is certainly one of the best and most inspiriting of the dances that still survive in Yorkshire

Cecil J. Sharp, The Sword Dances of Northern England, 3 pt. (London: Novello, 1911-13), III, page 37


The Flamborough Sword Dancers circa 1908. Since the early 1900’s the Flamborough sword dancing team’s costume comprises fisherman’s ganseys (the pattern unique to Flamborough), ‘white ‘ducks’ and flat caps. Photo by Richard Traves – http://www.flamboroughheadsac.org.uk/storyboards/history/iframe.php?StoryID=18

grenoside sword dancers in 1965

grenoside sword dancers circa1895

Grenoside Sword Dancers, circa 1895 – http://grenosword2010.apwb.com/






Scottish sword dancers – http://pinterest.com/pin/146718900332500121/


Fenestrelle Sword Dancers – http://starofswords.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/mystery-photos-of-fenestrelle-sword-dancers/


Flamborough Sword Dance – http://www.friendsreunited.com/flamborough-sword-dance-the-lock-margaret-charlotte-fagan-christine-muir-grace/Memory/bbe0ed0e-f8b2-4c2e-910c-1a1b1a1023da


Tibet postcards




Via findout


Yongning devil dancers

Yongning devil dancers6, originally uploaded by muti konka.



Raksha Natuma

Raksha Natuma, originally uploaded by thebigdurian.


‘Obby ‘Oss

Cornish May Day celebration with the ‘Obby ‘Oss! From the BBC

 “The ‘Obby Oss’ looks like a big black caped animal – thought to represent a stallion – with a strange mask and snapping jaws. The Pagan dance and the rhythm of the drum is quite hypnotic.

The ‘Obby Oss’ is led on by a ‘Teaser’ who dances around the ‘Oss’ and prods him with a special padded stick. On its route the ‘Oss sometimes drags women and girls under its dark costume in quite a graphic attempt to portray a fertility rite. It used to be said that “if you were caught beneath the veil that you would be pregnant within the year”.



From this site:

(CHINA OUT) Tu ethnic minority group men perform the ‘Wutu’ Dance around residents’ houses during an annual exorcism ceremony at Nianduhu Village on January 8, 2007 in Tongren County of Qinghai Province, northwest China. The village holds a ceremony to drive out evil spirits every year, in which they will choose seven strong men to perform the ancient dance ‘Wutu’, which means tiger in ancient time. The men will apply ashes and draw lines on their bodies, villagers then put Chinese bread and meat on the sticks of the Wutus. The more food Wutus took, the more luck they were considered to bring, as the villagers think Wutus take away bad luck and evil. In the end of the ceremony, Wutus will wash themselves in the river symbolizing getting rid of the evil. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)

I actually have an anonymous relative who went to China to get exorcised because his parents thought he had been voodooed by someone and had become possessed. Click the read more to see the our chat transcript about what it was like. You might know of the chinese yellow papers and the chicken referred to in the chat from the awesome film, Mr. Vampire?

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