Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Dances: English longsword, rapper, Ontario step-dancing
Organizations: CDSS
Active: 1988 - present
Contact: Laurie Cumming email:
Web site:
Toronto Women’s Sword (TWS) performs traditional English hilt-and-point dances in both the long sword and “rapper” or short-sword traditions to live music. The hilt-and point- dance tradition is defined by the linking of the swords between dancers, forming a closed loop. The dancers, linked by metal or wooden swords, perform a series of intricate and elegant weaving figures, moving in a continuous flow from one to next.

TWS performances include dance and music festivals, community events, charitable events and informal public street performances, with tours including Ontario and Eastern Canada, New York City, New England, Michigan, West Virginia and North Carolina. In 1996 we were privileged to participate in the first International Sword Spectacular, held in Scarborough, England. The inaugural gathering of hilt-and-point sword dance groups from around the world, attracted over 300 hundred dancers, performing traditional dances from Belgium, France, Italy , Spain, Germany, the Czech Republic, USA, England and Canada. In 2004 we returned to England, bringing our dancing to public spaces, through street performances with our host teams in Sheffield, Barnsley and Durham.

Over that past 20 years, Toronto Women’s Sword has played an important role in the dance revival movement in North America. Over the years TWS has had the pleasure of working with a talented group of dancers and musicians, and has evolved their own unique style. TWS current membership includes 12 dancers and musicians, aged 20-55, the largest membership since 1988. The current TWS lineup includes a number of new dancers and musicians who bring fresh energy and enthusiasm to the tradition, our newest members make up half of the present team .

In February 2010, Toronto Women’s Sword will be traveling to the 25th New York Sword Ale, presented by Half Moon Sword. This two day-gathering is not only a unique opportunity to perform, but also to watch and learn from other groups steeped in the tradition . Participation in this event is funded in part by the New Leaders, Good Leaders Fund of the Country Dance and Song Society.

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