Sandancer (or Sanddancer) is a colloquialism used to describe those who come from the town of South Shields, Tyne and Wear, England. Residents of South Shields are often referred to as Geordies, like all residents of Tyneside, while 'Sandancer' is unique to the town.
The origins of the term are hotly contested, and they are many theories as to where the term comes from, but very little in the way of hard facts.
There are written accounts dating back to the 1850s describing the skill of the locals 'Dancing on the sand' whilst helping free ships that had become stuck on the beach.
Another popular theory is that it is derived from the term 'Sans Danger', an oblique reference to the town's history of smuggling and contraband of French origin.
Sandancer is considered by some to derive from the large number of Bangladeshi, Yemeni and people from other parts of Asia who moved to the region between 1900 and 1920. Others claim this dates back as far as Roman times, as the first inhabitants of Arbeia were Syrian boatmen from the Tigris.
Sandancer is now a label that many people in South Shields are proud to identify with.
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