( DERT practice )
( DERT practice )
What with all the organising, planning and general cat-herdery of getting two rapper teams to Brussels (and back without mishap or arrest) last weekend, DERT has somewhat crept up on me this year. For those who haven't been listening to me bang on for years, DERT is the annual competition for the kind of sword dancing (rapper) that I do.
We're a bit under-rehearsed. If last night is anything to go by, at least some of us will be a bit hungover. We are (it turns out) almost old enough to compete a veterans.
But never mind... Wish us luck!
This year it is also an unexpectedly big deal for Mabel Gubbins. Firstly, we're in Premier.
( Aaaargh! )
Secondly, as of this moment there are no takers to run DERT next year.
( Aaaargh! )
Anyway, if you're in or around the Leeds area, there will a range of opportunities for watching sword dancing in pubs a week on Saturday. You can watch the finest teams in the land, nay, the world! Or, of course, you could watch us (but only if you cheer violently and help increase our buzz score).
Which also brings me to my other question: I shall be free of swords and other such things by Sunday lunchtime, does anyone Leeds-based fancy meeting up for a pub lunch, beer, coffee, or other social engagement? strange_complex, maviscruet, nalsa, any others?
( Going for a Burton )
Leodensians! People of Leeds! The dance extravaganza, beer bonanza and all-round travelling circus that is DERT rolls into your city next year. See you there ;)
( Confused reflections of a Mabel )
Our second competition dance, in the oddly-shaped Shaston Arms:
The whole YouTube selection of footage
However, someone got in touch with us just before the competition, and asked if she could come and make a short documentary about it. The trailer for the film she made is now up on Facebook:
(You don't need to be signed in to Facebook to see it)
(a) bored of the Olympics
(b) not bored of me banging on about rapper[*]
(c) conveniently near London in a fortnight's time?
If so, I commend to you The Rapperlympics, this year's incarnation of the Dancing England Rapper Tournament.
If you are interested, you have two options: paying lots of money for a ticket which entitles you to all manner of things, or paying no money at all and sitting in a Soho pub of your choice waiting for dance teams to show up and perform for you. Formal timetable for ticketed events is here, list of pubs in which you can sit and watch the fun for nowt is here.
If you're interested in seeing/avoiding seeing me dancing, I shall be in the Olympic class.
[*] Actually, I've done remarkably little banging on about it recently. For anyone who's forgotten or never known: rapper is a form of folk dancing from the north east of England. To do it you need five people, a bunch of flexible metal "swords" called rappers and very little sense of self-preservation or dignity. See my posts tagged rapper or dert for more waffly detail than you could ever possibly want.
The observant will note that that means the Tommy ought logically to be the best dancer - able to fill any of the five slots. In practise, that's usually not true. Boojum's Tommy (who's called Ian) is actually able to dance all five positions but it's not common. On the one occasion we managed to shatter a sword, he'd palmed the spare he carries into the set and removed the debris so effectively that most of the audience didn't notice. He's great.
( They also sing... )
Anyway, it's DERT time again - the national rapper competition where grown people wave bits of metal round their heads, suddenly take their dancing inexplicably seriously and, in some cases, drink too much. Derby beware.
( Are we ready? )
We also danced at the (non-competitive) evening gala, but that was ( a bit of a disaster )
Sadly, when the winners were announced we weren't in the top three of our class. The full results aren't out yet (or if they are, I haven't seen them) so I don't know how well we did do; the marks are always an interesting read and give us a hint on what to work on next.
A fun weekend, though.
Dance teams are marked on various technical matters, and on the elusive "buzz factor" - the rather unquantifiable quantity of being exciting. A recent reading of this year's rules suggests that any team receiving a standing ovation will automatically score full marks for buzz. So if anyone happens to be flapping around Byker with nothing to do tomorrow, feel free to come and stand-up while cheering wildly shortly after we've danced (or, if you're influenced by merit, after someone else has danced).
Careful studying of the world's most confusing timetable (Mabel Gubbins are on tour 7, cycle 2, rotating anti-clockwise[*]), our approximate plan with spuriously accurate timing is:
The Ship (11:37 - 12:13)
Egypt Cottage (13:00 - 13:36)
Eye of the Tyne[**] (14:57 - 15:33)
The Tanners (16:21 - 16:57)
Cumberland Arms (17:44 - 18:20)
There is an evening showcase of all teams in the Artworks gallery, though I believe there's a £5 charge for that.
Oh, and I'm not joking about the cut-throat. Competitive rapper is serious stuff.
[*] I have no idea.
[**] Yes thanks, I am going to be failing to make this scan to the tune of Eye of the Tiger. All day.