M@HoT to Host Youth Longsword Day of Dance in Barnard Castle in 2018

The Music at the Heart of Teesdale project (M@HoT) is planning to host a Youth Longsword ‘Day of Dance’ in Barnard Castle over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend in 2018. The event will take place on Saturday, 5th May 2018, and has been planned to add a ‘youth element’ to the biennial Day of Dance organised by Barnard Castle’s Black Sheep  Border Morris side for adult traditional dance teams.

“Thanks to our Arts Council funding, we have been able to deliver our popular and successful Longsword Dance programme to several primary schools in Teesdale this year,” said Longsword Dance tutor Patrick Langdon. “We have also run our now well-established series of workshops for every child who enters Year 7 at Teesdale School, and will hold the 4th Interhouse Longsword Dance competition in the school in the run-up to Christmas.”

Children at Green Lane primary school enjoyed learning an old Teesdale tradition

“We hope that the culmination of all this collective work will be a Youth Longsword Day of Dance, so every school we have worked with this year has been invited to send a team,” added Patrick. “In addition, to help make it a really great event, and probably the first of its kind in the country, we want to invite all those in the region who run a youth side — or can get one up especially for this  event — to come and join in the fun, and enjoy a great day out in our historic market town!”

Bowes Hutchinson primary school pupils performing for their parents, October 2017

“We are very keen that as many youth Longsword sides join us on the day as possible,” emphasised organiser and M@HoT project co-ordinator, Neil Diment. “We definitely do not want this to be a competition under SDU rules! EVERY team participating will receive a signed certificate and every dance team member a specially designed badge for the event, so no one will go home disappointed, we hope. We are delighted that our Town Mayor has given her whole-hearted and very enthusiastic support to this event and has offered to present the teams with their certificates and badges.”

Historic Longsword Dance performance in Gainford, July 2017

There will be no charge for teams taking part.  At this stage, the programme for the day will look something like this:


All teams to meet at the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle


All teams to dance outside the Museum, interspersing their performances with the adult traditional dance teams


Youth teams to make their way into the town centre. Refreshments available, courtesy the Town Council in Woodleigh on Scar Top


Youth Longsword Dance performances on Scar Top, directly opposite the entrance to the castle itself


Short walk to The Witham, Barney’s Community Arts Centre


Youth Longsword Dance performances at The Witham




Presentation of certificates and badges by Cllr Sandra Moorhouse, Barnard Castle’s Town Mayor


Walk back to the Bowes Museum and depart