A relatively new team, founded in 2001 and based in York, Black Swan have taken the rapper world by storm during their short existence to date. Winners of the Open Class at their first DERT in 2001, they then went on to win the Premier Class in the 2002 with a breathtaking performance, repeating this in the 2003 and 2004 competitions. Their then dominant position in rapper competitions was due to the all-round quality of their performance, combining innovative figures and first-rate music with a presentation style guaranteed to generate the “buzz factor” vital to a good rapper performance.
The team was co-founded and led by Dan Offord, formerly of Kingsmen, Sallyport and Stone Monkey. Since then the team has been capably led by Damien Barber and also perform as part of his Demon Barbers Roadshow.
The only question was... who was going to beat them? And the answer, at DERT 2005 in Preston, was Sallyport! No, I didn't see that one coming either! The team were not around to reclaim victory the next year, as they were the hosts of DERT 2006, and managed to host an event universally acclaimed as excellent.
In the more recent DERT competitions, Black Swan were placed third in the premier category behind Stone Monkey and the Kingsmen in 2007, and behind the Kingsmen and Thrales' in 2008, so the myth of Black Swan's invincibility must now be dispelled, but they have nonetheless raised the bar for rapper permanently and their contribution to contemporary rapper should not be underestimated. After coming second to the Kingsmen in 2009, doubtless the team will seek victory with ever greater motivation at this year's DERT in Derby. Things can only get better!