Ryburn Long Sword
Ryburn Longsword have been dancing together since 1994. Some of our dances are traditional and come from villages across Yorkshire, others have been created by members of the group.
Members range in age from seven to seventy, most of them living in the Ryburn Valley near Halifax in West Yorkshire. Most years we can be seen dancing at local events such as Spaw Sunday in Cragg Vale, Littleborough Rushbearing and Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing but also at festivals further afield.
A Slubbing Billy is a machine for putting a twist into freshly carded cotton or wool so that it can be spun. Before the process was mechanised, the unspun fibres were twisted by a skilled worker, a Slubber, on a frame with a long wooden rod, called a billy roller. Slubbers were notoriously intemperate, and as theirs was a trade that the cloth producers could not do without, it was (like cropping, which made the ‘Luddites’ redundant) soon mechanised.
Our badge shows a pair of cropping shears and a hammer, both famous symbols of West Yorkshire’s Colne Valley where we are based. The cropping shears were used by the Croppers, skilled tradesmen, to trim the knap of newly woven cloth. They were made redundant in the early 19th century by the invention of the Cropping Frame which mechanised the process. The frames were made by Enoch Taylor of Marsden, a blacksmith who also made hammers. The ‘Luddites’ used Enoch’s hammers to smash the frames, calling ‘Enoch made them, and Enoch shall break them!’
Flag and Bone Gang
Based in Harrogate the team was founded in 1995 with the intention of reviving a largely forgotten tradition from the East Riding of Yorkshire which had been researched by Paul Davenport some years earlier and described in his book “The Forgotten Morris”. Performed in midwinter by gangs of unemployed farm labourers, a distinctive feature of the dances was that in some the dancers waved flags whilst in others they rattled nick – nack bones, hence the team’s name. Since 1995 the team has developed its own repertoire and style building on Paul’s original notes. They have performed at many major festivals in the U.K. and have danced in Canada, The United States, Germany and France.
Based in Hebden Bridge, the Hill Millies are an all woman morris side focusing on Cotswold Morris.
The 400 Roses is a unique Yorkshire side– founded by Christ Ogden, it’s a fusion of tribal belly dance and Morris formations with its own band t’Thorns playing traditional Morris tunes. The dances are done outside in the streets, in the wilds of village fetes, folk, waterways, steam trains and sheep festivals.
Strictly Clog were formed in 2010 by well established clog friends who wanted to take clog dancing back to basics with minimum choreography and more emphasis on partnership with the music. They have since performed at Beverley, Chippenham, Bromyard, Tredegar, House, Whitby, and Warwick folk festivals as well as Skipton Clog Fest and other local events.
The team was originally formed in 1981 by students of the legendary clog dancer and music hall entertainer Sam Sherry. The purpose of their formation was a one off performance at the National Gathering at Cecil Sharp House of the bargees social dance taught to them by Bill Gibbons. They continue to perform traditional clog routines based on the steps of Sam Sherry and other famous clog dancers from the north of England.
North British Sword Dancers
London, Paris, Brussels, Prague, and now Todmorden – for over twenty-five years the North British Sword dancers have been delighting and bemusing audiences across northern Europewith their repertoire of sword dances from Scotland, Cumbria, the Isle of Man, and Lancashire(but not Yorkshire, because everybody else does those). Music is supplied variously by whistle,melodeon, fiddle, Northumbrian pipes, Galician gaita (although they have been known to alarm dogs and small children), and vox humana. We’ll be at programmed dance spots and many other places besides. How could you bear to miss us?
The locations and times of dance spots will be published soon…