Sword Spectacular 2004
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International Sword Spectacular festival 2004
Sword dance montage and link to festival website The International Sword Spectacular Festival is being staged in Whitby, North Yorkshire, over the weekend of 28-31 May 2004.

It is shaping up to be the biggest festival of hilt-and-point sword dancing in the world that year. Some 40 groups are expected to take part, from the UK, Europe and North America - around 600 dancers in total.

The event follows in the footsteps of earlier sword dance festivals held in Whitby and Scarborough between 1996 and 2000, attracting performers from as far afield as Italy, the Czech Republic, Flanders, Spain and the USA.

In 2004, it is expected that the Festival will coincide with the arrival in Whitby of the replica of Captain Cook's "Endeavour", an event which has in the past attracted 100,000 visitors.

As much of the Sword Spectacular Festival takes place on the streets in the form of free public performances, many thousands of people will be able to experience and enjoy the spectacle of traditional sword dancing. While most of the action will be in Whitby itself, some performances will take place in villages set in the beautiful coastal and moorland settings outside the town.

Pengwyn Rapper moving very fast at the Dancing England Rapper Tournament, 1999. In the UK, the tradition of Longsword dancing has been carried on in Yorkshire for many hundreds of years, while its younger relation, Rapper Sword dancing, originates in the coalfields of Northumberland and Durham around 200 years ago. These traditions have now migrated across the Atlantic, whilst the spectacularly colourful performances of groups across mainland Europe share similar origins. Many of these traditions will be on show at the Sword Spectacular Festival.

Anyone is able to take part in the Sword Spectacular Festival. Sword dance groups may enrol by contacting the organisers (see below) - the attendance of the UK teams acts as sponsorship for the superb overseas groups that will grace the event.

For individuals, there will be lectures and workshop sessions, with ceilidhs and other entertainment for everyone to enjoy. Camping accommodation will be available or participants may take advantage of the wide range of hotel and guest house accommodation in Whitby.

The event is organised by a highly experienced team, all of whom are dancers themselves, and is supported by Scarborough Borough Council and other sponsors. Their shared aim is to put on a first class event for participants and spectators alike.

For more information, contact svrutland@onetel.net.uk

Website:  http://www.swordspectacular.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/ 

18th February 2003  

Black Swan Rapper at the Dancing England Rapper Tournament, Sheffield, 2002: link to ThreesCompany website.

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