Bristol Rapper Sword Lock Rapper

Sword Dancers

Kit and Caboodle

If you came to this site via our home page, you probably noticed the strange fancy-dress that we are all wearing! This outfit we refer to as our rapper kit.


Early photographs show us that the miners who performed the rapper dances in years gone by wore simple kit, so we do the same.

Shoes. BLACK - the strong lace-up type, suitable for stepping.

Shirts. WHITE - standard Marks & Sparks (or whatever) issue. Why white? This is so we can be easily seen by our audience in dimly-lit pubs.

Socks. WHITE. Why white? This is sword-dancing after all, so minor injuries do sometimes occur, and the socks might come in useful as bandages!

Sashes: RED. Why red? The reason is, that if you happen to get knicked by one of the swords, the bloodstains don't show! Why sashes? Well, Victorian windows have them, so why shouldn't we?

Knee-Breeches. BLACK. These can be adapted from the trousers of an unwanted dinner-suit, or bought as purpose-made "plus-twos". Why breeches? Trousers would be too restrictive for this type of dancing, and shorts would be too damm cold for the British winter. But do I hear some joker asking that if we are worried about injuries, why don't we wear BROWN breeches?

With the exception of the sashes (which have been skilfully hand-crafted by Judy (Mrs Grant Glanville!), all dancers have to provide their own kit.


Bristol Rapper owns several sets of Swords, (or Rappers) - more than adequate for practice and display purposes. The swords do break sometimes, so (along with a set of five) we usually carry a couple of spares when we're out on pub tours etc.

Rapper Sword
We often find that members of the public shower us with coins, washers etc. as tokens of appreciation for our performances, so we also carry around a straw hat in which to collect it ...
Straw Hat
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