Our good friend, former TGP dancer and member of Black Swan Rapper is launching a new sword dance based project…

‘The Traipse’ takes a modern twist on traditional sword dancing into pubs and schools in Yorkshire as part of the Cultural Olympiad

Traditional sword-dancing gets a modern twist in ‘The Traipse’, a new project that will see dancers hot foot it onto the streets of Barnsley, Grimsby, Hull and Sheffield from 26 – 30 March 2012. A specially formed troupe of five sword-dancers, storytellers and musicians, ‘The Traipse’ is one of over 100 events taking place this year in an ambitious programme of events entitled ‘Imove’, the Legacy Trust UK’s celebratory programme for Yorkshire and part of the Cultural Olympiad.

‘The Traipse’ troupe will collect tales and entertain unsuspecting audiences as they dance their way into pubs, cafes and schools across the region, using ‘rapper’ a traditional type of sword dance that originated from Northumbrian mining villages. Accompanied by folk music and a caller, the five dancers work together holding flexible metal swords, ‘rappers’ , to perform quick and complicated routines.

The group of contemporary dancers involved in ‘The Traipse’ have never before performed rapper moves and have been brought together by independent dance artist and choreographer Harry Theaker. In ‘The Traipse’ Harry combines his knowledge of contemporary dance with rapper history and time-honoured moves to create an exploration of tradition, culture and heritage.

Following the Yorkshire dates, ‘The Traipse’ will head to London on 31 March, to form part of ‘The Rapperlympics’, the prestigious Dancing England Rapper Tournament (DERT) tournament. The team will take the stories they have gathered in their tour of Yorkshire to the capital city where they will tour the streets and bars of Camden and Soho as just one of the groups involved in DERT.

Harry commented: “‘The Traipse’ stays true to the age-old traditions of rapper dance but at the same time brings them bang up to date. We use the traditional rapper moves jumping, stamping and intricate coordination but using contemporary dancers we are able to show them in a new way, as they incorporate less structured and more fluid movement. We are very excited about taking the performance to small venues in and around the region where we will be able to engage with the general public, find out their stories and ultimately weave them into our narrative for the trip to London, taking a little bit of Yorkshire to the Olympic host city.”

‘Imove’ has been funded by Legacy Trust UK, creating a lasting impact from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by funding ideas and local talent to inspire creativity across the UK.

The Traipse will be touring Yorkshire in March 2012, public performances will be at:

Monday, 26 March – BARNSLEY

1pm Hiltons Café / Barnsley Market
2pm Barnsley College
3pm YMCA
Ending at 4pm Barnsley Train Station

Tuesday, 27 March – LEEDS

11am Royal Armouries
12.30pm Kirkgate Market

Wednesday 28 March – SHEFFIELD

10am Kelham Island Industrial Museum
1.30pm Concord Sports Centre
3pm Emmaus

Thursday 29 March – HULL

2 – 4pm Hessle Road Taverns

• Vauxhall Tavern
• Rayners
• Walton Street Club
• Halfway Tavern
• Dairycoates
• Strickland Arms

6pm Princes’ Quay Shopping Centre
7pm Ruscadors
The Minerva
7.30pm Sailmakers

Friday 30 March – GRIMSBY

9am Nuns Corner at Grimsby Insititute
10.30am Grimsby Minster / Fisherman’s memorial statue
11am Victoria Street
11.30 Freshney Place shopping centre
12pm The Barge
1pm Fishing Heritage Museum
3pm Corporation Arms / Freeman St Market
Ending at 4pm Yarborough Hotel

Harry Theaker

Born in Sheffield but now living in Leeds, Harry Theaker is an independent dance artist and choreographer whose career has spanned two decades of dance-making and performance of his own work, as well as working with dance companies all over the world and co-founding Vincent Dance Theatre. Harry was ordained as a novice monk in 2000 and in 2010 graduated from the first Choreography Masters Degree programme, at Northern School of Contemporary Dance. His current work is rooted in Northern England and its working class dance traditions, fusing rapper sword dance and contemporary dance to create a dynamic exploration of tradition, culture and heritage. Harry leads masterclasses and workshops within professional, education and community contexts and is developing his work as an emerging member of the dance research community. ‘The Traipse’ is the launch project for his company ‘Brightfurnace’. You can follow Harry on Twitter @brightfurnace.