Sallyport are a veteran rapper side from Newcastle upon Tyne. Founded as a scratch team to go to a bagpipe festival in Strakonice (then in Czechoslovakia) in 1969, the team decided to stay together and the rest, as they say, is history.
The team aims to learn traditional rapper dances with written notations, and started with the Newbiggin dance. They are now the de facto guardians of the Newbiggin tradition, and have won the premier class of DERT on three occasions with this dance, something the original Newbiggin team never managed in the Newcastle Competitions.
The team's repertoire also includes the Winlaton, Beadnell, Murton and Swalwell dances. Having attempted to learn Murton in 1972, the team re-learnt it in 1997. The Swalwell dance is the team's most recent addition.
Sallyport's spiritual home is the Cumberland Arms in Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne, although they now practice on alternate Tuesdays at The Sun Inn, Swalwell – a traditional rapper village. Their annual big event is the Shields Road Crawl, which until recently ran along the pubs of Shields Road in Byker, from the Glendale to the Cumberland Arms, but now runs from Shieldfield instead.
Also like their arch-rivals, Sallyport have recently undergone changes with a new generation of dancers filling their ranks, so that they can no longer be referred to as the Kingsmen's old boys' club.
Sallyport surprised the rapper world by winning the DERT Premier Class in Preston in 2005, and again the following year by successfully defending their title against strong competition from the Newcastle Kingsmen. Unfortunately 2007 was not their year at DERT, although there was a minor upset as Stuart Higson claimed the best character prize for Sallyport after a “Tommy-off” against Chris Pitt of the Kingsmen.
Sallyport celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2009, and co-hosted DERT 2009 with the Kingsmen.