I duck my head as the sword whizzes past my nose.
Hearing cries of ‘turn right!’ and ‘no, this way!’, I turn blindly, my arms a tangled mess above my head until I hear a roar of approval that lets me know I’ve finally hit my mark.
I hold the position as a flurry of men wind in and around me, then my arms involuntarily unravel themselves as I’m pulled back into the moving line, tripping over my own feet.
Fifteen years of dance classes have done nothing to prepare me for this day - dancing in the sunshine with Handsworth Traditional Sword Dancers.
Sword dancing is not for the faint-hearted - it’s a fast-paced conga, crossed with a game of Twister, all while brandishing a blade. Yikes!
I’ve come along to the Sheffield team’s rehearsal to take a stab at the traditional Longsword dance for myself, which this particular team has been performing in the city for almost 150 years. Sword dancing began to dwindle in popularity from the beginning of the 20th century until 1913, when musician and writer Cecil Sharp published a book called The Sword Dances of Northern England.
The book revived the tradition and the important centenary is being celebrated by the team this weekend, with a day of traditional dance held at Manor Lodge.
Visit www.manorlodge.org.uk for information about the day - which will feature 14 sword dance teams, musicians and morris dancers.