Sharp show from city’s traditional swordsmen

LES seaman holding the LOCK OF swords after the dance at ST. marys HANDSWORTH
LES seaman holding the LOCK OF swords after the dance at ST. marys HANDSWORTH
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EVERYONE got the point when splendid sword dancing sessions were staged in Sheffield as part of the Christmas celebrations.

The Handsworth Traditional Sword Dancers delighted onlookers in Woodhouse market square and later in front of St Mary’s Church in Handsworth itself.

The eight dancers wore their usual dragoon-style uniforms and performed with steel longswords one metre long.

Their dance lasts as long as 10 minutes and sees the men joining to form a complete ring followed by a series of complex twists and turns.

The performance ends with all the swords locked and enmeshed together, which are then carried aloft by just one man - this year John Pitts, who has been with the group for 40 years.

An even more longstanding member is Les Seaman, who has been taking part in the Boxing Day dancing since 1957.

His efforts and dedication have been rewarded by the presentation of a gold badge from the English Folk Dance Society.

The dance is followed by a symbolic play, the Death of the Derby Tup, whose origins also date back for decades.

n The sword dance has been performed on Boxing Day for the last 48 years.