East Suffolk Morris Men have danced
long sword dances over the years on an occasional basis, these are dances
mainly from the Yorkshire area, danced with rigid swords held by hilt and
point and danced by a team of usually six dancers where they move over and
under the swords
More recently five or six of the men have got together to dance the sword dances from the mining villages of Northumberland and Durham, these dances use short flexible two handled swords and because of their flexibility the dancers are able to carry out more intricate figures than the rigid sword dances.
The origins of the rapper dances are a bit uncertain, they possibly started with men dancing with some sort of tool used in the mining industry, and may have been improved by cutting down saws and bed springs, over the years the steel has been much improved allowing more complicated figures to be introduced.
We started dancing following a workshop with the Hodderson Crownsmen in 1996 where we learnt a traditional dance from Winlaton, we have since generally danced a dance from Newbiggin by the Sea. As many sword sides have developed their own new figures, we have started to introduce some of these into our dance.