- Slides: 14
Rapper Sword Dancing
What is Rapper Sword Dancing? Rapper Sword Dancing is often performed in small spaces like pubs and other public places. It involves 5 people, each with a flexible steel sword with handles on both ends, called “rapper swords". The 5 dancers are joined together by holding the other end of someone else’s sword, and the dance progresses through a series of formations making patterns with the swords, called “figures”. There is also so rhythmic footwork called "stepping” intertwined throughout the dance, and the dance is performed to live traditional music.
Where did Rapper Dancing come from? Origins of the rapper sword are not really known, but there are many theories. It could have been a piece of mining equipment for rapping on the wall to let the miners know a trolley of coal was ready to be pulled down. It could have been a tool for cleaning the backs of pit ponies. Either way, there are close ties to the mining traditions of the NE England connections to the miners of the pit villages of that region. Teams would often collect money from onlookers as they toured round, and the dancing became quite competitive across the region. A national competition was started in Derby in 1979, and teams still compete annually today. It is now called the Dancing England Rapper Tournament (DERT).
Videos of Rapper Dancing in competition The following videos are examples of teams dancing in the competition in 2016, and 2017: Look out for the “character”, often known as a “Tommy” or “Betty”, who introduces the team with a “calling on song”, and commentates throughout the performance! This can be a very fun interactive role. Newcastle Kingsmen: https: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=uwsdhivpny. M Tower Ravens: https: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=5 m. VL 3 OSqboc
Have a go – you will need…. . n 5 x hosepipe pieces cut to 60 cms in length – from any hardware store n A set of 5 Rapper Swords to progress on to once the basic moves are n n n established – good rapper swords available here: http: //www. rapperswords. co. uk/ 5 dancers numbered 1 -5 around the set – Number 1 will be in charge and calling all of the dance figures in sequence Some traditional tunes to dance to (some fairly fast jigs to move at a marching speed to and a waltz piece to practise slow stepping to) – see our resources page…. Some sort off kit to be designed by the children A series of figures practised in sequence – see example below An opportunity to dance out in front of a friendly audience
Starting to step Here is a video of some simple ideas behind stepping. This is easiest to practise to a slow waltz beat to begin with before speeding up to a faster 6/8 jig speed. For added effect your can wear hard-soled shoes that tap loudly on the floor. Slow speed: https: //youtu. be/FXW_yv. Zx. Sp. Y Medium speed: https: //youtu. be/VQZFmgowsqc Fast speed: https: //youtu. be/LXxua. J 00 Ys 4 Begin by putting all your weight onto your right foot in advance of the first beat of the bar. Land with your left foot on the first beat and tap the right foot out in front twice. Place the right foot down on the next main beat and tap the left foot out in front twice. Then repeat staying raised up on your toes the whole time.
Some basic Rapper Sword Dance steps “Newbiggin” is a traditional dance performed by many teams. Here is a video with some of the main figures in that dance: VIDEO!!! n Walking on – parading on in a line to stand smartly, ready to begin n Calling on song – see next slide for an example of a calling on song n Circle – form into a circle facing clockwise linking swords over the inner shoulder n Single guard – Number 1 raises both swords (and so do those attached), turns out over the left shoulder and walks around the circle back into place – then each number follows in turn n Number 1 ring – lower the swords between Number 1 and 5 – Number 1 steps over the sword and turns out, then each number does the same over their sword in turn – until the set has been turned inside out and the swords can be locked together n Lock to show – hold the lock up to show to the audience who will applaud loudly! n Stepping – step to slightly slower music and walk off
An example of a Calling On Song for Rapper Dancing Good people give ear to my story We’ve called just to see you by chance Five heroes I’ve brought blithe and bonny Intending to give you a dance Now Derby is our habitation It’s the place we were all born and bred There are no finer kids in the nation And none are more gallantly led! One version of this song can be seen here: https: //youtu. be/h. Ek. WIz. C_1 II
When learning and teaching Rapper Sword Dancing: n Keep a tight grip of your sword handles and DON’T LET GO! – the swords are made of sprung steel and will flick if released quickly. n Where appropriate, keep your hands together and your arms extended up – this will ensure the swords are in the right place and provide clearance for heads underneath. n 60 cm sections of hosepipe are an excellent and safe way to introduce the ideas of rapper dance to children.
Many dancers make up their own figures n If you can’t do the stepping very fast, don’t worry. Just concentrate on finding the main beat of the jig with your walking movements within the figures n You might also want to invent your own figures – what can you do with your friends when you are linked together with five hosepipes or swords? n Dances can be very simple or very complicated. n Practise lots to improve.
What can you do with your dance? When you feel good enough to perform to others you could: n. Perform at the school or local fair/concert/event. n. Take your group to perform at another school, a local care home or a day centre. Don’t forget to ask them first! n. Teach others to make your group bigger or get another group started.
Being safe NEVER let go of the swords! Remember to make sure that the area around you is clear of things and people. You don’t want to dance into anyone or hit someone or something with the sword.
Check out other things you can do: n Mummer’s Plays n Well Dressing n Maypole Dancing n Broom Dancing https: //folk 3 d. wordpress. com/educationalresources/