New York Sword Dance Festival
This year marks the 37th time that this annual festival has been presented in our city by the local troupe, Half Moon Sword, and the first weekend of performances since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The weekend offers free, family-friendly performances of this traditional dance form with modern twists by nine performing groups from around the northeast.
Sword dancing is a winter celebration practiced in the farming and coal-mining regions of northern England, where the annual visit of the local sword dancers to the village homes was thought to guarantee good luck for the year. The Festival will feature both mystical, stately longsword and vigorous rapper sword dancing, with live music on fiddle, accordion, and other instruments. In both types of sword dance, the dancers are linked in a ring by the “swords” they hold in their hands while they work as a team to weave intricate figures and patterns without breaking the circle.