Talking about the Watson Fellowship and Teaching Rapper Dancing

I had a few days of relative calm after the carnival in Eibar in which I got to go to a few more practices with Kezka and teach some more rapper dancing. In addition to teaching at Kezka,  had been invited back to Beasain to teach rapper. The Beasain sword dancing in September was great fun and when I had gone to teach them morris in October they came out with this! Of course I had to agree to go back and teach some rapper sword dance too! I took the bus to Beasain where I was met by one of the dancers who invited me back to his house to relax and do work until it was time for the practice. I taught his son some juggling and had some food and then we went over to the practice. We learned a bunch and I spent the at the house of the president of the group. (I unfortunately don’t have pictures, as I forgot my camera!) She invited me to come with her the next day to the Basque school where she taught English. I tagged along, interested to see the education system in a different country. As soon as I walked into the class I became the center of attention and ended up trying to field questions ranging from “where are you from?” to “who is your best friend?” I ended up giving a little presentation on my watson fellowship in a few class and teaching a bit of the step, which was somewhat chaotic with lots of kids all crowding around!.

I got to chat with some of the teachers and play banjo in the break room, but the highlight of the day was working with the school’s dance class for a period. The teacher gave me the class entirely, with the stipulation that I had to make them speak in English. The kids actually spoke quite good English on the whole, so this turned out not to be much of a challenge. We went down into the dance studio and learned the stepping facing the mirror before handing out the swords and forming teams.

I asked the group (10 people exactly, awesome!) to split into teams by hight and we dove right in. I was a very different experience teaching in English for the first time in a while, reversing who is struggling with language.  We learned nut, curly, changing of the guard, and princess (sorry to my UK friends, I’ve reverted to US names). A few teachers wandered in to watch for a while and we ended the period with a mini-rapper dance performance with a big finish!


I ate lunch at the school and made my way back to Eibar via Donostia for that evening. Yesterday was the last practice with Kezka and saying goodbye to those who aren’t going to Italy with us. Quickly went through some new figures for the video camera and solidified stepping (it’s getting very good!) At 7:30 tonight, I’m on the bus Italy bound!

P.S. I’ve updated my Watson Fellowship Travel Map, but google won’t let all the locations display on one page. Anyone know how to solve this?


About Jeremy Carter-Gordon

My blog of a year studying point-and-hilt sword dancing on a Watson Fellowship. Enjoy reading, tell me your thoughts and leave me a comment, or visit my website at
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3 Responses to Talking about the Watson Fellowship and Teaching Rapper Dancing

  1. Nancy Knight says:

    Jeremy, when I read this I feel so incredibly proud of you!

  2. Florence Foreman says:

    I enjoyed this site but I have a question. Where does one buy a rapper sword? I have tried numerous times to contact Frank Lee but he does not reply to emails. Is there anyone else that sells them.

    • Hi Florence,
      Frank Lee is the only one who is selling them regularly. Unfortunately there is a huge demand and every sword is made by hand, a very time consuming process. When last i talked to Frank there was about a 2 year wait list. I would just email him again. The other option is to try to find a team that isn’t using theirs anymore. Contact your local or national folk group and see if they can help you track down a set. Where are you from?

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