Andy Smith - Main Competition & Traditional
It started with Goathland Plough Stots, moved on to Black Swan, dipped my toe in Sallyport and only just avoided rosettes.
My predilection is for exciting, engaging, fast-paced & innovative Rapper that strives for technical perfection but is not a slave to it. While Tradition has a very important place, it should support and inspire rather than stifle or hold back.
Having completed, won, organised and judged at DERTs over the years I hope you all have a great time and get what you want from the weekend. Remember though, the best bit is ALWAYS complaining about how you were robbed of your rightful glory!
Catriona Barker - Main Competition
As a fresher at Newcastle University I went for a drink in the Cumberland Arms, got recruited to an almost formed female rapper team and the rest is history. Ten years later Star and Shadow are still going strong.
Since moving south I’ve taken an injury enforced break from dancing rapper and have joined Silkstone Greens.
I’m looking to be impressed with sharp stepping and neat swords.
Corrie Lee –Schrijver - Main Competition
Cornelia Lee -Schrijver started her rapper career as founder member musician of Clydeside rapper in 1985/6. She was recruited by Sallyport to play Her Northumbrian Pipes for them at the Strakonice bagpipe festival in 1996.
And by stone monkey to play for them on their famous "lost sword" tour to Rumania. Currently she is musician with North British sword dance team and also plays for Sallyport.
Cornelia is also a clog dancer and has performed at several foreign festivals and with Carlisle Sword and Clog, Hadrian Clog, Hexhamshire lasses.
Damien Barber - Spotlight Competition
I am a founder member of Black Swam Rapper, winning the Open in 2001 and the Premier (plus Steve Marris and Tyzack Shield) in 2002, 2003 and 2004. I am currently a member of the rapper team for The Demon Barbers XL show. I am looking for innovative and energetic dances/ers.
Teetotal but can be bribed with quality cheese/chocolate.
Dan Freeman - Main Competition
Dan was completely oblivious to rapper dancing and the wider folk world until early 2009, when he joined Stone Monkey after seeing Whip the Cat touring the establishments of Nottingham. Dan had competed in Stone Monkey’s Premier side ever since (bar 2016 due to injury) winner the Spotlight Trophy in Leeds (2014) dancing at No1. Dan has also been a member of Snark Rapper since ’09 and a ‘satellite’ member of Shropshire Sharpshins and Rockingham Rapper more recently. Whilst he remains oblivious to most things in life… stepping, sword handling and dancing technique are not one of them.
Ednie Wilson - DERTy Competition
I have danced all my life and worked as a teacher of dance, choreographer and performer for over 40 years. I discovered traditional dance at Newcastle University in the 1970's when I joined the Newcastle Kingsmen, helping to found the Newcastle Cloggies, Instep Research Team, Short Circuit Rapper and most recently the High Spen Pink Diamonds. I have coached children's Rapper teams and deliver taster rapper sessions in schools to get young people 'off to a good start'. I want to help young people to enjoy Rapper, to strive to be the best they can be and to achieve a dance to be proud of.
Eilidh Brinsley - Spotlight Competition
Rehabilitated rapper tart, rapper musician, Cloggie, North West dancer, occasional spy, have done Cotswold, allergic to garlands. Lover of gin and fancy cocktails (hint, hint).
Former rapper teams: St Monday, Pengwyn, Triskele, Durham Uni Rapper Team, SMUTT (now Four Corner), Star & Shadow, Newcastle Kingsmen
Current teams: Sallyport Sword Dancers, Whip the Cat Rapper, Ad-hoc Stone Monkey.
Frank Lee - Main Competition
Grew-up among the pits of the North-East, in the ‘40s and ‘50s where, and when, he got the impression that rapper dancing looked fast, precise, and a barrel of laughs. Nothing has changed his mind - if it’s deadly serious, it doesn’t belong the North-East! So you know!
Ian Craigs - Main Competition
Ian Craigs has been dancing, teaching and judging rapper sword dancing for some 38 years. He began with the Newcastle Kingsmen and also danced with the Monkseaton Morris Men during his early years. Since 1984 he has been a devoted member of the High Spen Blue Diamonds. In addition he was a founder member of that little know team called Snark and was also Tommy for Boojum.
As well as rapper he is known for his clog and step dancing where he again performs, teaches and judges at all levels.
James Fitzgerald - Main Competition
After 24 years of dancing, with teams such as Stone Monkey, Kingsmen, Sallyport, Black Swan, High Spen, Snark and once upon a time Golden Boy Rapper, I have found myself living a mile from the Cumberland Arms. What better place is there for someone to hone their skills efficaciously with a fair and open mind? I have competed plenty, judged a lot, organised, and never lost. I would like crisp stepping, high hands and noticeable improvement. #still open to (waiting for) bribes….
Jenny Day - DERTy Competition
I have been involved in Traditional Dance since junior school, where ceilidh dancing was taught. I have been involved with various teams dancing Irish Set, Appalachian Clog, English Clog, Border Morris, Long sword and Rapper. This has taken me all over the UK, to America, and many parts of Europe. Our own team, Triskele Sword hosted DERT in Sheffield in 2002 – the last DERT with only one competitive dance per team on a stage.
My Rapper experience includes dancing with Gift Rapper, St. Monday, Triskele Sword, and Boojum, and once with Stone Monkey, but we don’t talk about that.
Les Ord - DERTy Competition
I’ve been a Morris Dancer and Musician with Furness Morris for 40 years. I am a percussionist in ceilidh band ‘Tumbling Tom’ and dance caller with many other northwest bands. In the 1980’s, after workshops with ‘High Spen Blue Diamonds’, I formed the first South Cumbrian Rapper Team ‘Tappy Lappy Rapper’, sadly now defunct. I have taught Rapper and other dance styles in schools. I have been a friend of Crook Morris since their inception, and have followed their rise in Rapper. I feel privileged to be a judge for DERT in Kendal.
Melanie Barber - Main Competition
Melanie has danced as long as she can remember, been performing and teaching clog clogs for over 35 years, currently dancing with Strictly Clog and Three's a Crowd, dances North West Morris with Rivington Morris and Silkstone Greens and danced rapper with Sharpe Sword and Boojum. She's been accused of having eyes in the back of my head – not true! - but does pay attention to detail; neat sword handling, smooth transitions, crisp clean stepping, genuine buzz!
Phil Heaton - Traditional Competition
‘Born on a day when the sun didn’t shine, I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine….’
I’m obviously part of the old guard. But, today’s dancers like the dancers before them will also one day pass into the dark tunnels of time. Hope they will be missed.
Out with the old…
Rebecca Kell - Spotlight Competition
'Hooked on Rapper from the age of 10, and competing in her first DERT in 1996 age 12, Rebecca has enjoyed all aspects of Rapper including learning, dancing, performing, tumbling, teaching, forming, socialising, creating, marrying, winning, 'WAG'ging and judging! Wow her with sharp precision, slick execution, smart presentation and a jolly good show.’
Richard Preece - Spotlight Competition
"I started my dance adventures way back in 1971 with Sallyport and was a founder member of Five Quarter Rapper in 1973, reviving the Murton dance. In 1982, I was invited to dance with High Spen Blue Diamonds, supposedly a one-off performance for Dancing England in Derby – 35years later we are still going strong.
I’ll be looking for sword handling skills, hands held high, let the swords do the dancing... the Spen mantra."
Ricky Forster - Main Competition & Traditional
I have been a rapper sword dancer for the past 66 years. I have been dancing the High Spen dance all my dancing life and had the privilege to have seen many teams like Winlaton, Earsdon and many more.
I love to see rapper dancers do their thing, some good, some not so good, and it still gives me a kick to see it danced. I have great respect for all who pick up a rapper and have a go.
Sally Smith - Traditional Competition
Danced since I could walk; everything from Rapper to clog to morris and ceilidhing. Danced rapper with Black Adder (DERT winners 2000 and danced the infamous ‘Rugby Rapper’ in rugby kit and boots) and with Sharpe Sword. Taught rapper in schools for many years as well as judging at many-a-DERT. I can juggle, play rugby (although I’m a but too injured nowadays) and I like funny things (not including rubber hands), cheese, horse racing, Whitby and the smell of mud and deep heat.
Tom Chafer-Cook - Main Competition
I've danced with Stone Monkey since 2012, Snark since 2014, and danced every DERT within that time. A rapper geek through and through, I've probably seen every rapper video on youtube, and read all the notation going - I'm looking for a dance that is fast paced, slick, and makes me think "how did they do that?" (in a good way). I've been on the other end of judges comments enough to know what dancers want from them - and to that end, I'll be filling every square cm of those comment boxes with constructive and useful advice on why marks have been dropped, and how to improve on those marks next time!