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The Rapper Sword Dance is a traditional dance from the coal mining areas of the north east of England and has nothing to do with Rap music or dancing with traditional Swords.

A Rapper Sword is in fact a short length of

sprung steel with a handle at either end, not

much use for fighting with but impressive

when danced with.

The dance is often performed by five men (the

term men used very loosely) connected by the

Rapper Swords and is danced to fast Jig music.

Our aim is to impress any audience with

intricate, fast and slightly dangerous or

seemingly impossible figures, without letting

go of the swords.  Crisp stepping is also done

between and during figures, to give that extra


Then, as a finale, we lock the Swords together

to finish the dance.  If you’re really lucky that

happens mid-dance as well.  For extra

entertainment a Tommy (someone dressed as

a man) and/or a Betty (a man dressed as a

woman) act as fools, interact with the audience

cover up/create mistakes and generally create


All this was originally to get people to part with their money and earn the miners a bit of extra cash.  Since then the dance has spread all over England, Wales, North America and even to Kendal! We dance two Rapper Sword dances that are a mix of figures copied from other dances and ones we’ve developed ourselves.

Recently we have started to organise rapper tours.  These take us round pubs and other public places with hard floors, to entertain anybody who happens to be there, and obviously to partake in the beverages that may be supplied by kindly landlords.  Guest sides are sometimes invited to join us on our tours. This creates a bit more of a buzz and gives us the chance to meet other rapper sides.

2014 winners of 3 categories.      2015 winners of 1 category.

2017 we organised a brilliant DERT (Dancing England Rapper Tournament) for the SDU (Sword Dance Union) in Kendal.