Earsdon Sword Dance
The Earsdon Sword Dance, is a traditional English Folk dance performed by the Royal Earsdon Sword Dancers.
As the name suggests, they are based in Earsdon, Northumberland, England, a village which is surrounded by other villages including East Holwell, West Holywell and Backworth, while the resort town of Whitley Bay itself is only 3 miles (2 km) away.
The Earsdon dance company is one of the oldest sword dance teams in the country with a history dating back to before the 17th century. Since 1829 they have traditionally performed each Christmas for the Dukes of Northumberland at Alnwick Castle.
The persons in the team are a Tommy (or Captain) and Bessy (a man dressed as a female) character, five dancers, and a musician who plays the fiddle. The seven performers wear a bright costume whilst the fiddler may wear his normal clothes.
The swords used (called Rapper swords) are two handled swords, the flexible blades of which are approximately twenty-four inches (609 mm) in length and one and one eighth inches (29 mm) in width.