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Longsword dancers at Flamborough on the Yorkshire coast - Boxing Day 1999 - ©John Adams


Flamborough Traditional Longsword Dancers are a team of traditional longsword dancers from Flamborough, East Yorkshire.

Their uniform consists of black shoes, white trousers, a navy knitted gansey and a grey cloth cap. They are often accompanied by a junior team, who wear white trousers, navy knitted ganseys and red knitted hats.

The team were collected from by Cecil Sharp, who published the 8-person Flamborough Sword-dance in 'Sword-Dances of Northern England, Vol II'.

The team have only one traditional performance date, the 26th of December. Today the tradition has the following format:

The team assemble at the White Horse, Bempton at 11am. Here they perform the first dance of the day, and in many cases this will be the first time the team have met since the previous year. The team then travel into the village Flamborough, where they perform their dance at selected public houses and private residences. They are joined by a junior team from the village primary school, and on occasion by the Sawmill Sidewinders.

The day ends with a dance from both senior and junior teams in the Dog and Duck Square at 3pm, usually to a packed crowd of villagers and enthusiasts.

Many local songs are still known by the dancers, and are sometimes performed during the day.

In recent years the team have reintroduced the use of white tartan neckerchiefs, originally worn by the team. The group no longer exclude dancers on the grounds of gender, and both the junior and senior team are mixed-gender.

The musicians wear the same costume as the dancers, and use a variety of tunes to accompany the dance. These include 'Old Johnny Walker', 'Rinks', and 'Oh, to Squeeze my Little Darling'.