Tyne & Wear

Sharp noted sword (rapper) dances* from Swalwell, Winlaton, Earsdon, and North Walbottle. This was important recovery work but Sharp only scratched the surface of the rapper tradition. For the rich history of rapper competitions and many more teams in the North East, see https://www.rapper.org.uk/history.html and also the DERT (Dancing England Rapper Tournament) notes https://dert2019.co.uk/pit-village-coach-tour/notes/ Phil Heaton's article in the 'Morris Dancer' magazine (2009) is recommended too https://themorrisring.org/sites/default/files/docs/mdancer/volume-4-number-1.pdf

The article by EC Cawte 'A History of the Rapper Dance' in Folk Music Journal vol4 no.2 (1981) is also essential reading.

*This website uses the modern administrative structures of Tyne and Wear but in Sharp's day there were just the two counties of Northumberland and Co. Durham. The only 'rapper' material collected by Sharp that lies outside the Tyne and Wear orbit is the Beadnell Bay rapper dance (50 miles N of Newcastle, in Northumberland), which is included in this section for thematic reasons - with apologies to the people of Beadnell Bay.

Sharp collected 4 dance tunes as well as 9 songs from 2 singers at the Newcastle Union workhouse in 1910. The average age of all informants was 55.5 yrs - 3 were miners, 1 joiner and 1 fisherman; 2 not known.