Rapper Sword – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Dance Styles Glossary

I. What is Rapper Sword?

Rapper Sword, also known as rapper dancing, is a traditional folk dance that originated in the mining communities of Northumberland and Durham in the northeast of England. It is a form of dance that involves intricate movements with flexible swords made of spring steel. The dance is typically performed by a group of dancers, known as a team, who manipulate the swords in a series of intricate patterns and figures.

Rapper Sword is often performed in pubs, festivals, and other community events, where the dancers entertain the audience with their skillful and energetic performances. The dance is characterized by its fast-paced and rhythmic movements, as well as the clashing of the swords, which create a unique and captivating sound.

II. History of Rapper Sword

The origins of Rapper Sword can be traced back to the early 19th century, when it was performed by miners in the coalfields of Northumberland and Durham. The dance was originally a form of recreation for the miners, who would perform it in the pubs and taverns after a long day of work underground.

Over time, Rapper Sword evolved into a popular form of entertainment in the local communities, with teams of dancers forming and competing against each other in friendly competitions. The dance spread to other parts of England and eventually gained recognition as a traditional folk dance.

Today, Rapper Sword is performed by teams across the UK and has also gained popularity in other countries around the world. The dance continues to be passed down through generations, with new dancers learning the intricate movements and techniques from experienced performers.

III. Characteristics of Rapper Sword

Rapper Sword is characterized by its unique sword, which is made of flexible spring steel and typically measures around 18 inches in length. The sword is designed to be lightweight and easy to manipulate, allowing the dancers to perform intricate movements and figures with precision.

The dance is performed by a team of six dancers, who stand in a circle and hold the swords in a specific formation. The dancers move in a synchronized manner, weaving the swords in and out of each other’s hands to create intricate patterns and shapes.

Rapper Sword is known for its fast-paced and energetic movements, as well as the clashing of the swords, which create a rhythmic and percussive sound. The dance is often accompanied by traditional folk music, with musicians playing instruments such as the concertina, accordion, and fiddle.

IV. Rapper Sword Techniques

Rapper Sword involves a series of intricate techniques and movements that require skill and coordination from the dancers. Some of the key techniques used in the dance include:

– The Lock: This technique involves weaving the swords in and out of each other’s hands to create a locked formation. The dancers then perform a series of movements while maintaining the lock, creating intricate patterns and shapes.

– The Figure Eight: In this technique, the dancers move the swords in a figure-eight pattern, passing them between each other in a continuous motion. This creates a visually striking effect and requires precise timing and coordination.

– The Jump: This technique involves the dancers jumping over the swords while they are locked in a formation. The jump adds an element of excitement and skill to the dance, as the dancers must time their movements carefully to avoid colliding with the swords.

V. Rapper Sword Costumes

Rapper Sword dancers typically wear traditional costumes that reflect the mining heritage of the dance. The costumes often include:

– Breeches: Dancers wear knee-length breeches made of wool or cotton, which are typically black or dark in color.

– Waistcoats: Dancers wear waistcoats made of wool or tweed, often in a checkered or striped pattern.

– Clogs: Dancers wear wooden clogs with leather uppers, which provide support and protection for their feet during the dance.

– Flat Caps: Dancers wear flat caps made of wool or tweed, which are worn at a jaunty angle to complete the traditional look.

The costumes are often embellished with ribbons, bells, and other decorations to add a festive and colorful touch to the performance.

VI. Rapper Sword Performances

Rapper Sword performances are a popular form of entertainment at festivals, fairs, and other community events. The dancers typically perform in a circle, with musicians playing traditional folk music to accompany the dance.

The performances are energetic and dynamic, with the dancers showcasing their skill and precision as they manipulate the swords in intricate patterns and figures. The clashing of the swords creates a rhythmic and percussive sound that adds to the excitement of the performance.

Audiences are often captivated by the fast-paced movements and intricate techniques of Rapper Sword, as well as the colorful costumes and festive atmosphere. The dance continues to be a beloved tradition in the UK and around the world, with teams of dancers keeping the art form alive for future generations to enjoy.