DERT '98 - the youth tournament

The Youth Tounament of the DERT occurred on a wet, blustery morning at Blaydon Library, writes Janet Dowling.

Whilst their elder (but no wiser) counterparts were still snoozing in their sleeping bags, rapper dancers of the next generation were dancing their hearts out with as much vigour and enthusiasm as could be seen later in the day at the adult Competition.

Ricky Forster (High Spen), Derek Atkin (Winlaton) and Ednie Wilson (Short Circuit) had been teaching traditional rapper dancing to youngsters in five local schools. They had been generous with their time, and to great effect. On the day there were 45 dancers and a Tommy and Betty, all of primary school age. They came from two schools – Kelvin Grove County Primary and Rowlands Gill County Primary, plus a club – the Ridley Rappers.

The youngest was 4 years old and danced to great effect with small plastic rappers. Cute had nothing in it – they were dancing rapper and loved it (if a little shy). The older children danced with real swords and their enthusiasm and vigour shone through.

The stepping was a little variable but two teams danced to “Cock of the North”, their aggressive skipping style making a real difference to their presentation. Every team received a certificate to record their appearance.

High Spen and Short Circuit danced at the beginning and end of the displays and hopefully we will see some of the youngsters in their teams in years to come. I hope that DERT can continue to support youngsters in dancing Rapper by giving them the opportunity to display.

It was a pity that more of the adult teams weren't there to watch, particularly when the youngsters recited the three rules of the rapper sword:-

  1. Don't let go of the sword in your right hand
  2. Don't let go of the sword in your left hand
  3. Don't twit around with a sword in either hand

That was a lesson some of the competitors in the afternoon really needed to learn! It was a good display and I really enjoyed it.