Other countries


There is only one reference to a linked sword dance in Ireland, and it only refers to one occasion. It was by a certain Fynes Moryson in the 17th century:

“...and also the metachine dance with naked swords, which they do make to meet in divers comely postures. And this I have often seen them do before the Lord Deputy and the chief commander of the army, in the hands of the Irish kerne, who had either lately been, or were not unlikely to prove, rebels.”


Although most Hungarian sword dances were solo dances, or performed unlinked in groups, such as the Verbunkós dance used to recruit soldiers, there were a few linked sword dances in Hungary. The Hajdútanc was an energetic linked sword dance described, but with little detail, by a visiting English physician in 1669. There are also records of sword dances at Erdúbenye, near Tokaj, and in various Hungarian settlements in Transylvania.


There are records of sword dances at numerous German and Hungarian settlements in Transylvania, including references to sword dances in Sibiu (then the Saxon German town of Hermannstadt) in the sixteenth century, but none within the pre-1920 boundaries of Romania, which would suggest that all Romania's sword dances were imported. The Sibiu dances appear to have been performed exclusively by craft guilds, as was the custom in German sword dances. A complex sword dance from Sibiu was performed locally until 1890, and notation of this dance were published by Otto Wittstock in 1883 and later by the German folklorist Hans von der Au in 1935.


Little is known about sword dances in Poland, although František Pospíšil documented the existence of a sword dance in Zakopane, in the Tatra Mountains in the south of the country. Zakopane, isolated in the mountains, was a small village until the mining and metallurgy industries developed there in the nineteenth century – migrants to the new town probably brought the sword dance with them from areas where it was more established.


There is still a stick dance similar to linked sword dances in the villages around Miranda do Douro in the Tras os Montes region of northern Portugal, but sword dances were performed in Portugal at least up until the 17th century as there is a comtemporary tapestry depicting a 17th century procession in Lisbon which shows five dancers performing a Single-Over figure. There are also records of sword dances in Setúbal in 1482 and in Guimarães in 1660, although the form of these dances is unknown and they may have been mock-battle rather than linked dances.

In the Minho province of northern Portugal, there were dances linked with sticks or staves performed by young girls on women's shoulders, called Pelas, similar to those of neighbouring Galicia. The dance performed with dancers on others shoulders also sounds intriguingly similar to the Perth Glovers' dance from Scotland.


The Moçambique de São Paulo is a linked dance using wooden poles traditional to the city of São Paulo and performed by Brazilians of Mozambique origin. The dancers wear bells and ribbon baldricks, and so the dance is almost certainly of European origin!