Maltby Phoenix Sword Dancers
Patrons: Norma Waterson MBE & Kate Rusby
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|Maltby Phoenix Sword Dancers|
At the annual Dancing England Rapper Tournament, the premier traditional sword dancing championships held this year in Preston, Lancashire, a group of sixteen year old schoolgirls from Maltby Comprehensive School, Rotherham, won the Steve Marris trophy for highest overall score with record points of 98.73%. The girls have only been dancing for two years but stopped York's Black Swan, an adult male side, from completing their hat-trick of wins. Against other youth and adult competion from both Britain and the United States, the Maltby girls turned in a succession of dazzling displays to break all previous records.
Maltby also won the Open Class; it's a huge achievement for a team from the open class to outscore the Premier Class, which included two teams from Black Swan and other well established teams such as Sallyport, Newcastle Kingsmen and Stone Monkey.
Not only that; they won the new award for best Junior team against some pretty spectacular competition from the two junior teams from Boston, Massachusetts.
The tournament is twenty years old and celebrates the rich dance tradition of England. The rapper dance is most closely associated with coal miners of the North-East of England and, in its late 19th century heyday was an important part of the miner's community life. Maltby retains its coal mine and now has another working class tradition of which it can be justifiably proud.
Maltby Phoenix were set up as part of the Generations Project, sponsored by the South Riding Folk Network and EFDSS, and run by Paul and Liz Davenport of Maltby Comprehensive. They've been expertly coached by Ron and Jenny Day of SRFN and Stone Monkey and Triskele teams (who also had a pretty successful DERT themselves); not to mention on-the-spot mentoring from Sue Coe of YFA and Ryburn 3-Step.
Congratulations to the Phoenix team for an impressive and well-deserved win. The team was: Fay Humphries (the "Tommy"), Vicki Siddle (fiddle), Rebecca Grainger (Captain), Stevie Race, Kirsty Bromley, Kelly Gibson and Sarah Mullins.
News and pictures at the Generations Project site
Photographs courtesy of Paul & Liz Davenport and Sue Coe
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