The return of the Amble Sword and Rapper Dancers

Posted on 11th January 2018 | in Community

Above: The Amble sword dancers. Readers with long memories may remember an article on the Amble rappers in Issue 52 of the Ambler.

Amble had a Rapper Sword Dance tradition dancing out around the streets of the town over Christmas and New Year, but this died out in the 1930s; though there was an attempt to revive the dance locally in the 1960s.

The actual swords last used in Amble were apparently made from machine saw blades with handles made from clothes pegs and were probably made in the maintenance shops in Broomhill pit or at The Drift where one of them worked.

A local family, the Flanighan’s, provided the backbone of the side, Frank Flanighan who died aged 89 attributed his longevity to “good beer and plenty of dancing”.

So it is against this background that a couple of us have decided to reform the Amble Sword Dancers. Initially we will be dancing a Longsword style; similar to but slightly less energetic than Rapper, but a good basis on which to teach new dancers.

We intend to hold our first session at 20:00 on Tuesday 6 February at the Masons Arms, Amble. We are looking for dancers, both male and female, and musicians to accompany the dance. So why not come along and give it a go and you never know we may have a dance ready for the Puffin Festival.

Tony Urwin