What is Sword Dancing?
Rapper sword is a traditional English folk dance from the North-East of England, originally performed by miners. Danced around the pit villages of Northumberland and County Durham, this tradition has flourished in the past 10/20 years and now many teams from across the UK and worldwide showcase this great tradition.
Rapper is a dance for five people, all connected with a piece of flexible steel with handles at each end (swords). The dancers move around each other at a fast pace, weaving the swords together to create intricate shapes and patterns which are displayed with a shuffle step, similar to that seen in Northumbrian step clog.
Longsword originates in Yorkshire and can also be called a hilt-and-point dance. It is performed by six or eight dancers linked together in a circle by swords of either metal or wood, in this tradition the swords don't flex. The dancers move over and under the swords to make repetitive patterns and shapes.
Longsword has been performed in Europe for hundreds of years, where it is thought the swords had military connextions in mediaeval times.