It is known that, from at least the late
late 19th century, the team undertook walking tours, some by
perform at local grand houses for beer and sandwiches but other tours
the enjoyment of the local people.
On many occasions a collection of money was taken. The story is
told of a
collection at Earl Fitzwilliam’s Christmas party at Wentworth which
the astonishing sum of 25 pounds. It is said that a gleeful and
expletive rent the air from one of the more pious members of the team!
The cash was never the
sole reason to go dancing but it certainly helped. It must be
Christmas was a difficult period for working men and women. In the Sheffield area the cutlery industry had an
at Christmas for two weeks of stock-taking. It was inevitable that
industries of nail-making and file-making would also be on “short
time.” So any
money to supplement the family income would be most welcome. To dance
team at this time would be both a privilege and a benefit.
In 1910, Cecil
folk song and dance collector and the founder of the English Folk Dance
Song Society (EFDSS), came to Grenoside to collect the dance which was
published in his book “The Sword Dances of England.” The interlocking
became the symbol of the EFDSS. In 1933 the EFDSS presented the
Team with new swords which are used to this day. In 1951 the team was
with a set of paisley jackets. These were to be worn for a presentation
dance at the Albert Hall as part of the Festival of Britain. Even today
team is asked to perform the dance at prestigious events throughout England, has been part of a town-twinning
event at the
city of Bochum in Germany and has visited Italy as guests of Bal do Sabre, Bagnasco.
World Wars (when Grenosiders had other things to do!) the dance has
performed during the Christmas period and particularly on Boxing Day –
close to the Winter Solstice. Boxing Day became the focal point of the
Grenoside Sword Dancers’ year. On Boxing Day at you will see the sword team,
resplendent in their
bright costumes, come walking down Main Street led by the Captain. It is an important
stiffly formal procession. The dancers seek out friends to wish a merry
Christmas to as they march loudly in their clogs down the road. As
traditions it takes place outside a public house, in this case The Old Harrow.
Day 2001. The low mid-day sun indicates 11am as the dancers march to
their first spot outside The Old
The Captain sings a song
of bravery and love and the dance proceeds with his symbolic beheading
death. The main part of the dance then starts and immediately the
revives and “rises from the dead” to lead the dancers in reviving the
the New Year. The six dancers weave intricate patterns with their
equally complicated rhythms with their steel-shod clogs. The dance
climax as the fiddler increases the tempo of the dance whilst the
perform a rolling figure. The dancers finally form a tight circle and
fervent tattoo on the floor before raising their swords, pointing
the sky and, one hopes, a mid-winter sun.
Day 2007. With the new jackets on view, the Captain sings his song in
front of a large audience.
of locals and visitors from far afield come to witness the dance and
the renewal of friendships and a new year. After
the dancing is done you may be lucky enough
to hear traditional Grenoside carols being sung in a local pub. You may
“what are traditional Grenoside carols?” Well
that will have to wait for another time
or better still get yourself up to Grenoside on Boxing day and become