Glenview Scottish Country Dancers

Scottish Country Dancing in Toronto since 1979

Scottish Country Dancing- Terms, formations  & steps.

 

Reprinted from the Medway and District Caledonians web site.

for reminder  & guidance only and not meant to substitute for instruction in the RSCDS Manual

 

ADVANCE AND RETIRE: Formation for no fixed number. Join near hands with neighbour(s) then lines advance towards each other and dance backwards to places using Travelling Step. NORMALLY TAKES 4 BARS.

 

ALLEMANDE: A method of progression for 2, 3 or 4 couples. Couples start in middle of set facing up. Man takes Partner's right hand in his right and her left hand in his left. He lifts her right hand over her head to hold it just above (not resting on her shoulder). He leads with left hand.

 

Start with one step diagonally to the right, 1st couple wheel round sharply to face man's side then dance across set turning towards man's side. 1st Couple dance long step down man's side. (Couple 2 etc follow). All form line facing ladies side on Bar 5. Couples dance into middle, man brings partner round under his right arm to face him. Drop hands and dance back to place for 2 steps. TAKES 8 BARS.

 

BACK TO BACK: Dancers face each other and advance past each other by right shoulders, then dance backwards to places passing lefts shoulders. NORMALLY TAKES 4 BARS.

 

BALANCE IN LINE: Formation for 3 or 4 dancers facing alternative ways with near hands joined. Dancers set. CAN TAKE 2 OR 4 BARS.

 

CAST OFF or UP: Dancers turn away from middle of set then down behind own lines (Cast Off) or up lines (Cast Up) to new position. Casting can be 1, 2 or 3 places. Can be a method of progression therefore standing couples move up or down to vacated places. Casting often follows, Crossing, or Turning partner or Setting. CAN TAKE 2, 4 or 8 BARS.

 

CORNER FORMATIONS: Danced by 3 couples. Dancing couple face opposite sides between Couples 2 & 3. Person on dancer's right hand is 1st Corner, person on dancer's Left is 2nd Corner.   If dancers face their own sides, the person on their Right is 3rd Corner and the Person on their left is 4th Corner.

 

CROSS OVER: Give Right hands to Partners and dance towards each other. Release hands and dance to opposite place. NORMALLY TAKES 2 BARS CAN BE 4 BARS.

 

CROWN TRIANGLES: (Similar to Double Triangles.)  Formation for 3 couples. 1st Couple take 2 bars to dance into middle, back to back with each other, Man facing down and Lady facing up while 2nd Couple step up and face down the dance and 3s turn to face up.   Man joins hands with 3rd Couples, Lady with 2nd Couples. They all set. 1st Couples release hands and move one place to Right to face own sides.   Join hands again and set. Move again one place to the Right (man now facing up and lady down), join hands and set. TAKES 8 BARS.

 

 

DOUBLE TRIANGLES: (Similar to Crown Triangles.)  Formation for 3 couples. 2nd Couple are in top place, 3rd couple in 3rd place and 1st Couple back to back in middle in 2nd place facing their own sides. 1st Couple gives hands to corners. All set, release hands, then 1st Couple move right about round each other to change places while corners continue to set. Join hands again and repeat. Setting step is used throughout. TAKES 8 BARS.

 

FIGURE OF EIGHT (FOR 2 COUPLES): 1st Couple cross diagonally, (lady in front of partner) to opposite sides below 2nd Couple and cast up in partner's position then repeat back to places. 2nd Couple stand still. TAKES 8 BARS.

 

FIGURE OF EIGHT (DOUBLE) (FOR 3 COUPLES): See above for steps of 1st Couple. 3rd Couple repeats but begin by casting up to 1st position before crossing while 2nd Couple stand still. TAKES 8 BARS.

 

FIGURE OF EIGHT ON SIDES: Figures of 8 can also be danced on sides with 1st Couple facing down then dancing down between 2nd Couple Below 3rd Couple round them, out between 2nd and 3rd Couples and up behind 2nd couples to places.

Alternatively, dancing couple can pass 2nd couples Right shoulders, round 3rd couples Left shoulders. Curve to the Left passing 3rd Couple with Left shoulders and 2nd Couple with Right shoulders to places. Couples 2 and 3 stand still. TAKES 8 BARS.

 

GRAND CHAIN: Formation for 3 or 4 couples. Dancers face clockwise and anti-clockwise alternatively and continue in this direction throughout. Pass partner with right hands, left hands to next person and so on until back in original positions. NORMALLY TAKES 8 BARS BUT CAN TAKE 16 BARS .

 

HANDS ACROSS (WHEEL OR STAR): Formation for 3 dancers, 2, 3 or 4 Couples. Hands given diagonally across wheel at shoulder level, elbows slightly bent, hands in centre forming the hub. Couples dance on a curve to enter wheel and continue to dance round and back to places. Can be danced with either Right or Left hands, or Right hand followed by Lefts. TAKES 4 OR 8 BARS.

 

HANDS ROUND (CIRCLE): Formation for 3 dancers, 2, 3 or 4 Couples. Dancers form circle and normally begin to the left and back to the right. Hands are joined at shoulder level, hands slightly in front of body and elbows slightly bent. In Reel or Jig time the slip step is used and on 8th step circle is stopped and heels brought together ready to move in opposite direction. Circle can be in one direction only. TAKES 4 OR 8 BARS.

 

KNOT: A method of progression for two couples. Couples 1 & 2 turn Partner 1/2 way with right hand to finish in middle facing down, Ladies turn by right under arm of Partner into Allemande position. Couple 2 (followed by Couple 1) curve round and dance up Lady's side, releasing right hands at the end of bar 4. Men continue to dance up on lady's side while Ladies take a long step towards the centre. All continue to turn with the left hand to own side. TAKES 8 BARS.

 

 

LADIES' CHAIN: (Similar to Men’s Chain)  Formation for 2 couples. Ladies cross to opposite places giving Right hand and curving out to the Right, while Men dance towards Partner's position. 1st man turns 2nd Lady (2nd Man with 1st Lady) with left hands. Ladies cross over again while Men travel again to Partner’s places  then Couples turn with left hands. TAKES 8 BARS.

 

LEAD DOWN MIDDLE AND UP AGAIN: Dancing couple join their Right hands held at about waist level. They dance down middle and at then end of the 4th step turn towards each other still retaining hands, then lead up to places again. TAKES 8 BARS.

 

LEAD DOWN MIDDLE AND UP AGAIN FOLLOWED BY CAST OFF: See above but turn towards each other at the end of the 3rd step. At top (on Bar 6) dancers cast off one place.  TAKES 8 BARS.

 

MEN'S CHAIN:  (Similar to Ladies’ Chain)  Formation for 2 couples. Men  cross to opposite places giving left hands and curving out to the left, while Ladies dance towards Partner's position. 1st man turns 2nd Lady (2nd Man with 1st Lady) with Right hands. Men cross over again while Ladies travel again to Partner’s places  then Couples turn with right hands. TAKES 8 BARS.

 

POUSSETTE: Formation for 2 couples (but occasionally for 3 or 4 couples)  and is a method of progression. Formation begins with couples in middle facing each other holding two hands at shoulder width and height and elbows down. Men begin with LEFT feet and Ladies with RIGHT using setting step.

Both Couples dance one step away from centre (1st Couple towards man's side). Dance 1/4 turn, to finish on side lines (men facing down). All progress on step then another 1/4 turn to face own sides. All dance one step into middle then all turn 1/2 way to face opposite sides. Drop hands and dance back to places for two steps. When turning, Men pull with their Right hands throughout.  TAKES 8 BARS.

 

PROMENADE: Formation for 2 couples (but occasionally for 3 or 4 couples) and is NOT a method of progression.   Hands are held the same as for Allemande but are retained in front of the body and not raised over the head of the Lady.  

Start with one step diagonally to the right, 1st couple wheel round sharply to face man's side then dances across set turning towards man's side, into the centre of the dance and dance up, separate and dance back to places.  TAKES 8 BARS.

 

PROMENADE & CAST OFF 1 PLACE: Hands are held the same as above.   The Promenade is completed as above but in 6 Bars and ends with the 1st couple casting off 1 place to 2nd place while 2nd Couples continues to dance to top place.  TAKES 8 BARS.

 

REEL OF FOUR: For 4 people. Can be danced across set, on side or diagonally. To begin, middle dancers are back to back facing up or down. 1s & 2s / 3s & 4s dance to left on a curve and pass right shoulders. 1s and 4s pass Left shoulders in middle, while end dancers, loop to right to face up and down. Continue passing right and left shoulders back to positions. TAKES 8 BARS.

 

REEL OF THREE: The basic reel of 3 is similar to the Figure of 8 except that all are dancing at the same time. The figure of 8 formation should have well-rounded loops at each end. This formation can be danced on sides, across the dance. It can begin with passing right or left shoulders and 1st couples can be at top, middle or bottom positions. TAKES 8 BARS.

 

REELS OF THREE ON OPPOSITE SIDES AND THEN ON OWN SIDES: Danced as two reels for three couples in one continuous movement. The reels are the same but the entry is different. 1st Couple face down and Couples 2 and 3 face up

1st Couple cross to 2nd place with lady passing in front of Partner. They dance between 2nd and 3rd Couples and dance down, Lady giving left shoulder to 3rd Man and Man Right shoulder to 3rd lady. Couple 2 begin reel by dancing away from centre of set and Couple 3 towards each other then reel continues. When 1st Couple reach top position again they cross to own sides and reel for second time. TAKES 16 BARS.

 

REELS OF THREE AFTER TURN CORNERS/AND AFTER TURNING CORNERS, PARTNERS. Reels of three following a formation which involves turning Corners (or turning Corners and Partner) nearly always begin with 1st Couple giving LEFT shoulders to 1st Corners and dancing on opposite sides. On bars 7 & 8, 1st Couple Cross to own sides with Right hands. TAKES 8 BARS.

 

REELS OF THREE AFTER SET TO CORNER: Reels of three following a formation involving only setting to Corners usually begin with 1st Couple giving RIGHT shoulder to 2nd Corner. At end 1st Couple cross to own sides with right hands.

TAKES 8 BARS.

 

RIGHTS AND LEFTS: For 2 Couples. May be danced across or up and down the set. The pattern is that of a SQUARE and not a CIRCLE. Hands, in passing, are given at shoulder level and the height is maintained as dancers pass each other.

Partners face each other and cross over giving Right hands in passing. Ladies (on Man's side) and Men (on Lady's side) change places giving left hands. Repeat back to places. At end ONLY, 1st Man and 2nd Lady pull back the left shoulder for a polite turn. TAKES 8 BARS.

 

RIGHTS AND LEFTS (DIAGONAL): For 3 Couples. Normally danced with 1st couple in 2nd place on own sides and 2nd and 3rd Couples on opposite sides.   Hands, in passing, are given at shoulder level and the height is maintained as dancers pass each other.

1st Couple cross and change places with dancers in 1st Corners positions (ie Man dances down and Lady dances up).   1st Couple change place Left hands on sides with Corner person that has just crossed with partner.  

1st Couple cross and change places with dancers in 4th Corner positions (ie Man dances down and Lady dances up).   1st Couple change places Left hands on own sides with Corner person that has just Crossed with partner.   All three couples end on own sides with 1st Couple in 2nd place.  TAKES 8 BARS.

 

 

RONDEL: This formation is a method of progression for two couples. It begins in middle of the set, 1st Couple facing down, 2nd Couple facing up with near hands joined. 1st Couple dance down through arch made by 2nd Couple who dance up. Each man guides his partner across in front of him and all curve towards the opposite side. Both Ladies (and Men) dance to meet each other and join nearer hands and face Partner across the set. All cross to own side, Ladies under Men's arch. 2nd Couple guide 1st Couple across in front of them with 1st Couple dancing up. Both Couples curve in to meet partners,(1st Couple facing down) with near hands joined. 1st Couple dance down through arch of 2nd Couple then dance out to sides. TAKES 8 BARS.

 

SCHIEHALLION REEL: For 4 Couples in a square set.   Formation begins with Men facing in the set and Ladies beside them but facing outwards.  Ladies follow partners 2 bars behind them throughout the formation.  

Men dance diagonally across set to Ladies’ position one place to the right  while partners dance in a small loop into Partners places.   Men dance in a small loop into Men’s places while Ladies cross diagonally to the right to follow partners.   Repeat sequence 3 more times back to original positions.. TAKES 16 BARS.

 

SET AND LINK (FOR TWO COUPLES): A method of progression for two couples beginning on side lines. Couples join hands on sides and set. 1st Lady cast to 2nd place, 1st Man dances down middle, while 2nd Lady dances up and 2nd Man casts up. Hands should be held for first part of the link. TAKES 4 BARS.

 

SET AND LINK (FOR THREE COUPLES): Lines take hand on sides and set.   Dancers at the left end of the the lines (first corners) dance to the right & curve round to face up/down while the middle two dancers cast and chase clockwise to form lines across with the other first corners person.   Repeat one more time to end in lines on own sides.   TAKES 8 BARS

 

SET AND ROTATE: A method of progression for two couples. Couples 1 & 2 set on sides with near hand joined and begin to pull back right shoulder then everyone moves round one place clockwise and finish with men at top facing down and Ladies in 2nd place facing up. Partners change places right hand then continue to chase round clockwise to own sides. TAKES 8 BARS.

 

SET TO CORNERS: Dancers set to 1st Corners, on second step (left foot) pull back left shoulder and begin to move to 2nd Corners. Repeat with 2nd Corners. Dancers will finish in different places depending on next formation. TAKES 4 BARS.

 

SET TO AND TURN CORNERS: Dancers set to 1st Corners then turn Corners with 2 hands. Corners finish back in places and dancers back to back facing 2nd Corners. Dancers repeat with 2nd Corners and often finish between Corners. In Reel or Jig time setting step is used throughout. In Strathspey time, travelling step is used in the turn. TAKES 8 BARS.

 

TURN CORNERS AND PARTNER: Dancers stand back to back in middle facing 1st Corners. Turn 1st Corners with right hand, Partner in middle with left hands, 2nd Corners with right hand and Partner with left (often finishing with 1s returning to places on own sides).  TAKES 8 BARS.

 

STEPS

 

SETTING STEP IN REEL AND JIG TIME

(PAS DE BASQUE)

One setting step takes one bar of music and danced on spot.

Hop on to Right foot by extending out the  foot which is placed a short distance away from resting position but parallel to it.

Close up Left foot by placing it in front of Right with heel just over instep. Transfer weight on to it and bring Right foot off the floor.

Change weight on to Right foot again and bring Left off floor.

Begin step again with Left foot.

 

SETTING STEP IN STRATHSPEY TIME

(COMMON SCHOTTISCHE):

 One setting step takes one bar of music.

Reach to Right with Right foot and place on floor. Close up Left foot by placing it in behind Right with instep touching heel.

Reach again to Right with Right foot.

Hop slightly on Right foot and bring Left up behind Right Leg, knee turned out, toe just above the supporting heel and the side of the left foot against the back of the Right leg (instep fits in neatly to calf).

Repeat by reaching to Left with Left foot.

 

SETTING STEP IN STRATHSPEY TIME

 (HIGHLAND SCHOTTISCHE)

One setting step takes two bars of music.

Hop on Left foot and extend Right with knee straight to touch floor.

Hop on Left foot and lift Right and place it behind the Left leg , knee burned out, toe above heel.

Hop on Left foot and extend out Right again.

Hop on Left foot, left Right and place it to the front of the Left leg, knee turned out and toe pointing down. Remaining step as for Common Schottische.

Repeat by hopping on Right foot and extend Left.

 

SLIP STEP: Used for travelling sideways and in hands round in Reel and Jig time. Start with Left foot step to Left. Close with Right foot so that heels touch. When heels touch, both feet are momentarily off the ground. This is repeated

 

TRAVELLING STEP IN REEL AND JIG TIME

(SKIP CHANGE OF STEP)

One Skip Change of Step takes one bar of music.

Skip:   Hop on Left foot and, at the same time, fully extend the Right leg forward with knee straight and foot pointing out.

Step:   Reach forward with Right foot so that it touches floor.

Close: Bring Left foot behind Right foot so that hollow of instep touches the heel of leading foot.

Step:   Reach forward again with Right foot to touch floor. Repeat by hopping on Right foot and extending Left foot.

 

TRAVELLING STEP IN STRATHSPEY TIME:

Reach forward with Right foot with knee straight and foot touching floor and pointing outward. (Reach can be extended by bending supporting knee.

Close Left foot behind Right foot so that hollow of instep touches the heel of leading foot.

Reach forward again with Right foot to touch floor.

Hop slightly on Right foot as left foot is pulled through slowly from behind, ready to lead into the next step. Left knee should be turned out and foot is pulled through with toes just off floor.

 

 reprinted from www.medwaycaledonians.co.uk