The Tenpenny Rapper Sword

Come watch the rapper sword dancing at the Festival!

Rapper sword dancing appears to have originated in the mid-19th century in the coal mining regions of northern England.  The intricate figures of the dance are possible due to the “rapper” which is made of spring steel with 2 wooden handles – one of which rotates.  It’s likely that the original rappers were improvised from old mining tools, although know one knows which tools.


The Tenpenny Rapper Sword team in Knoxville was started about 30 years ago and has been dancing continuously since then.  They practice at the Laurel Theater in Knoxville.  The team is currently led by Dave Greenwood.  The other members are:


Jennifer Earles

Ellen Keene

Matthew Kiser

Ann Myers


Our musician is Mark Kiser