Grenoside Sword Dancers

A Personal View
by Gerry Bates

Peter Clarke romanticised some aspects of the team. Here are my personal views.

I invite other members of the team, or interested persons, to add their own perspective.

"It still forms an important mid-winter ritual for the village when we dance outside the Old Harrow in Main Street at 11 o'clock on Boxing Day." Although many villagers are present for the Boxing Day performance it only represents a very small proportion of the local people. I think it's true to say that most of those present are 'Folkies'- folklore enthusiasts.

"Cecil Sharp's account does not match our present dance precisely" but the Pall Mall Gazette account does! My theory is that, apart from Sharpe publishing how he thought the dance should be done, the men showed off to him and the Ring O'Roses was merely an opportunity for them to demonstrate their stepping prowess. It is not mentioned in the Pall Mall Gazette account.

"we dance because this dance, this tradition matters to us" When I joined the team, along with a number of other recruits, part of the tradition was broken. Only one of the existing dancers at that time was not Grenoside village-born and he was married to a village girl. I have no idea of the soul-searching which the team suffered before inviting us to join but I am sure that the team was saved by our involvement. We were, and are still, folklore enthusiasts and it was a great honour to me to be asked to join the team and eventually to act as stand-in Captain on frequent occasions. The dance does matter to us. It is part of our cultural heritage which will die if we don't do something about it and I consider it an honour, as well as a duty, to keep dancing until I am no longer able.

"on the Saturday nearest Twelfth Night we dance at shops and pubs and houses" The Village Traipse, as it is now affectionately known, takes place in early January but I'm sure that the formula for the date is not quite so romantic as Peter's. 'Common consent' appears to be the way in which it is arrived at, but I always push for the Saturday of the first full week in January and hence in 2001 it was on 13 January - as late as it could be!