Grenoside Sword Dancers

Report - Spring 2008

Active Members - May 2008

Richard Arrowsmith
Gerry Bates
Dave Brookes
Gavin Davenport
Joe Dunn
Ray Ellison

Malcolm Harper
Steve Mettam
John Newman
John Scholey
Pete Smith
Mike Steel
Graham Stothard
Alec Thompson
Derek West
Derek Wood

Report on Team Activities and Initiatives

This is a report on some of the team’s work in the last few years. It is not meant to include all we have done but focuses on some of the events we have attended and initiatives undertaken. We have made considerable efforts to promote the Team both in the Local Community and further afield in the hope of drawing in friends and supporters and, we hope, some new recruits.

Boxing Day, 2006

The year saw an influx of new members and culminated in us being able to form two completely different sets (and different captains) for our two dances on our traditional day.



The team was at Cecil Sharp House for the Return of Albert weekend; a re-union for teams who had danced at the EFDSS’s International Festivals at the Albert Hall. Time was spent in the Ralph Vaughan Williams library and here we found confirmation in an article by Norman Peacock (Folk Music Journal, vol. 8, no 2) that our dance was collected by Cecil Sharp in a barn at Hill Top Farm on Wheel Lane, on Sat Aug 27th, 1910. We have now identified the precise location and hope to dance in the barn on 27th August 2010, 100 years to the day.


The team was in Italy as guests of Bal do Sabre from Bagnasco in the Piedmont region where many new friends were made as well as renewing old acquaintances with Lange Wapper.


Usually a quiet time, September was very busy, and included a splendid Day of Dance in the village with our guests Monkseaton and Kirkburton. Pecsaetan joined us in the evening. We also took possession of our new costumes and danced them out for the first time at the University Arms, where we bade ‘Bon Voyage’ to Pete and Annie Smith who were off on the ‘Oz Bus.’

Note on New costumes. For an article of how the lottery grant was won and the costumes designed, refer to EDS magazine, Winter 2007.


SDU Sword Dance Tournament in Derby. The team’s first competition for several years. We carried off two awards; ‘Best Turned Out’ for our new costumes and ‘Best Character’ for our Captain (on this occasion Gerry). It was pleasing to note a comment made at the SDU AGM, which said how the whole event had been ‘enhanced by the presence of the Grenoside Team in their splendid new costumes.’


Our 7th Carol Traipse, another team initiative to take the local carols around the area. The lovely Grenoside Carols resurrected and arranged by Ray Ellison our musician, are now firmly embedded in our repertoire.

Boxing Day saw large crowds and we were joined for the first time by Bogart’s Breakfast who put on a fine display of Border Morris. Our regular guests Sciorr once again put on an excellent display of Irish dancing.



15th Annual Traipse. The Newcastle Kingsmen joined us for the weekend.We danced in front of large audiences; 60 at the coffee morning and over 100 at the opening of the Village Green. Six Teams danced at the evening party, which was attended by over 100 people.


Some notable birthdays in the team saw us dance at Ray Ellison’s 60th birthday party, following a presentation earlier in the day to Graham Stothard, who was also celebrating his 60th birthday.


At the time of writing, the team is about to take part in the International Sword Spectacular in York. We have a very strong turnout should see all 16 members attending.

Workshops, Talks, Village Groups

These have been an important feature of our work as we attempt to further the standing of the team and extend its influence.

  • Team Members gave an illustrated talk to The Grenoside Historical Society and the Probus. Both were well attended.

  • Workshops were given at the SDU tournament, Sheffield Folk Festival and the IVFDF weekend in Sheffield. The latter was very well attended with 8 sets of dancers performing the Grenoside dance.

  • Team members have attended meetings of the village Conservation Society and helped to ensure that a dancing surface was included in the Village Green Design.

  • Meetings of the Gala Committee are to be attended with the possibility of holding a combined Gala/Day of Dance in 2010.

Engaging Young People
(without doubt our greatest challenge!)

Schools. Despite repeated attempts to engage both the local Primary and Comprehensive schools in projects of various kinds, the response in both cases has been extremely disappointing. However, we will persevere.

Scouts. Good news here. Grenoside is the meeting place for the North Sheffield Venture Scouts. They would like to include sword dancing in their programme. Work will begin after Whitsuntide.

Future Projects

In order to further our friendship with Newcastle Kingsmen and celebrate the first collection of sword dances in 1910, we hope to develop a combined project. The first workshop for dancers will be held in Newcastle in June.

2010 Centenary Celebrations

Possible events for discussion are: 
  • June. Gala/Day of Dance, evening party
  • August. Team to dance in the barn, 100 years to the day.
  • Autumn. Team to host SDU tournament. Evening performance of all four sword dances featured in Vol 1 of The Sword Dances of Northern England (Grenoside, Kirby Malzeard, Swalwell and Earsdon) plus Abbots Bromley with guest appearance of Cecil J Sharp.

Early Warning!

This years’ SDU tournament (2008) is Saturday, October 4th. In Derby. 

Joe Dunn, Grenoside, May 2008.