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Who were the sword dancers and why did they do it?

This page contains brief details about the video recording; the video (embedded in the page); an abstract for the talk; links to additional resources;  speaker biography and a summary.

Video recording of talk

Recording of a Morris Federation talk on “Who were the sword dancers and why did they do it?” by Andrew Kennedy held on Zoom on 2 May 2021. The #MorrisFedvideo lasts for 1 hour 27 minutes.



Records of sword dancing can be found dating as far back as the fourteenth century, and enough books and articles have been written about it to form a small library.  Much of what has been written focuses upon the action, the events.

This talk takes a look at the people who danced, focusing on Britain and northern Europe from the fourteenth to the nineteenth century, and in particular at certain rare cases where we can investigate individual named dancers and find out a surprising amount about them.

If you’d like to read more about this and other aspects of sword dancing that have interested Andrew, please look at his website About Sword Dancing at

Additional resources

Links to related resources:

Speaker biography

Having been an enthusiastic country dancer as a child, Andrew Kennedy fell into Morris dancing while at university before finding his way to rapper.  When he grew up he became a longsword dancer, going on to play for dancing and then to write a bit about it.

He edited the sword dancing newsletter Rattle Up, My Boys for a while and organised the overseas teams for the 2004 and 2008 International Sword Spectacular festivals.

He has danced/played with teams including Clydeside Rapper, Carlisle Sword and Morris Dancers, Sallyport Sword Dancers, East Saxon Swords, White Star Sword Dancers, Thrales RapperSouthport Swords, and the North British Sword Dancers.


  • Title: Who were the sword dancers and why did they do it?
  • Speaker: Andrew Kennedy
  • Facilitator: Pauline Woods-Wilson
  • Type: talk
  • Date of talk: 2 May 20221
  • Date page published: 22 April 2023

 #MFvideo    #MorrisFedvideo    #MorrisFedvideo

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