the web guide to the Northumbrian rapper sword dance
The Northumbrian rapper sword dance is a unique tradition of Northumberland and County Durham in England. The dance was originally performed by miners in the pit villages of Tyneside and the surrounding area, and gradually spread with revival groups worldwide. It is performed at speed by a team of five people continuously linked by flexible swords called rappers, which are weaved in and out of figures for display. It is a fairly recent tradition which has evolved over less than two hundred years from a much older hilt-and-point sword dance tradition found all over Europe.
This site aims to provide an introduction to this living tradition together with comprehensive information about the rapper sword dance, including its history, notations of traditional dances, related sword dances from other parts of England and Europe, rapper events, listing of current rapper teams and a bibliography, online archive and links for further information.
This site is also linked to The NUT on the Net, the website of The NUT, the journal of the rapper sword dance; The NUT on the Net includes an archive of previous articles, including many of historical interest. The Newcastle Kingsmen website also contains a large amount of material about the dance and its history, and is well worth a visit.