Crowds gather to see traditional Greatham Sword Dance
Crowds gathered to see a traditional folk dance take to the streets of Greatham.
The annual Boxing Day Greatham Sword Dance delighted a crowd of around 100 people who gathered outside of the gates to The Hospital Of God at noon.
The spectacle saw a group of six folk dancers - members of the Redcar Sword Dancers group - perform the traditional routine, marking the groups 51st performance of the dance.
The group revived the tradition back in 1967, but it is believed to date back more than 150 years.
The performance combines long sword dancing with accordion music and the performing of a play unique to Greatham.
The 30 minute performance saw dancers put on a play which centres on one of the dancers who loses his head during the sword dance.
He is brought back to life by a travelling ‘quack’ doctor and one of his remedies.
Performers wore military style uniforms with red jackets and carry steel swords, performing intricate longsword dances from the North East of England.
During the last dance, the performers are showered with coins from the crowd.
Folk dancer Kevin Hall, who played the doctor in the performance, said he was delighted at the size of the crowd and said the dance keeps attracting more and more people every year.
He said: “This year was our 51st dance and marks the 50th year that our group - The Redcar Sword Dancers - was formed.
“It is getting bigger year on year and we are really pleased with the turn out once again. “The music was provided by our musician Moira Clarke and afterwards we went to the Hope and Anchor for a sing-along which has been our tradition over the years.”
The dancers perform the same play every year which is from Greatham and is very much a highlight of the group’s calender.
Over the years, the Redcar dancers have performed at many different events and festivals both at home and abroad.
Venues have ranged from the starkness of Northallerton Gaol to the opulence of the Royal Albert Hall in London.
However, they only perform the play element in Greatham on Boxing Day.