Country Dances

Last updated: 16 July, 2020

This document details a variety (Celtic, Gaelic, American) of country dances.  Dances are categorised by formation e.g. longways, circle etc., then by name - roughly alphabetically. 

The dance figures originate from a number of different sources (hence their inconsistent presentation) - often they’re documented after having actually done the dance…  ‘n’ not only do dances evolve, often their precise interpretation can ‘flex’, to accommodate local circumstances.

This site, comprising a web-based copy of my country dance ‘calling’ aide-memoir, is intended as a reference for those occasions when I haven’t got a hard copy to-hand - but I do have access to web browsing.

Dance terminology/conventions:  Your ‘set’ is the particular sub-group of people with whom you’re dancing – often multiples of four people.  Formations can be:  longways (‘proper’ or ‘improper’), crossways, circular or square.  Square dances comprise four-couple ‘sets’.

‘Partner’ is the person with whom you commenced dancing the current figure.  When couples are standing side-by-side, the man is on his partner’s left.  Also explain:  ‘opposites’, ‘neighbour’, and ‘corner’…,  ‘galop’ c.f. ‘gallop’

Country Dance music categories:  jig (“didley-dee”), reel, polka (triple-step, pause/hop)…  occasionally hornpipe (step-hop), rant (double-reel).  Usually, tunes comprise 32 bars (64 beats or steps) - four, 8-bar phrases, designated A1, A2, B1 and B2, i.e. four groups of 16 beats = 64 beats in total.  Occasionally, dances are 16 bars or 48 bars long.  Dance tempos are roughly 32 bars in 32 seconds (except hornpipes) i.e. a bar per second or two beats - or steps - per second.

For each dance, suggested tunes are included - categorised by type e.g. reel, jig etc., and tempo (expressed as the duration for ‘once through’) - but the flexibility and atmosphere provided by live accompaniment is preferable.

Below, tune titles are shown in italicised text.  (‘Welcome to the Dance’, WttD, is a compilation Compact Disc set by the English Folk Dance and Song Society, EFDSS.)

Col,  December 2018

Arkansas Traveller

Music:  40-bar:  40s: David Holt & Josh Goforth - *Billy Wilson;  39s: Dominique Dupuis - Gravel Walk.

or traditional, 48-bar reel:  WttD, CD1, 15 The Four Leaf Clover - Arkansas Set [48-bar];  53s: Noel Hill - Duke of Leinster;  50s: Blazin’ Fiddles - *Fiddle Cushion.

32-bar:  36s: 2nd South Carolina String Band - Arkansas Traveller;  33s: Geslison-Groberg - Arkansas Traveler set… , Tom Anderson - Soldiers Joy, Lazy Farmer - (rant) Arkansas Traveller.

Form:  Longways, proper, “as many as will” – best with an even number of couples (but not essential).

Preparation:  Take hands in fours from the top.

40-bar Main Figure:

    * * *
A1:  In long lines, balance (not Kick balance), (2) forward, turn (Cw.), back-out to cross-over with partner. (2)
Repeat to return home.  (4 bars)

A2:  In fours, r. hand star, l. hand star.  (8 bars)

B1:  ‘1’s swing.  (8)

B2:  ‘1’s (having swapped sides) lead down, turn as a couple, lead back and cast down a place.  (8)

C1:  Full ‘right and left thru'’.  (8)

or 48-bar alternative:

    * * *
A1:  Join hands along the line, lead forward and back.  (4 bars)

A1:  Change places (passing right shoulders) with your partner - and turn Cw. 180º (to the right).  (4 bars)

A2:  Repeat back to home place.  (8 bars)

B1:  In fours, make a right hand star.  (4)

B1:  Star left.  (4)

B2:  ‘1’s swing in the centre.  (8)

A3:  ‘1’s (crossing-over sides) lead down, turn as a couple (Cw.), lead home and cast down a place to the next ‘2’s.  (8)

B3:  Full ‘right and left thru'’ with the new couple.  (8)

The Bonny Breastknot

Music:  32-bar reel.  WttD, CD1, 13 - Woodley Yeomen - B. B. (Boldovan Reel, Victoria Hornpipe);  36s: Liz Carroll & Doyle - *Ricky’s White Face/Boys … ;  35s: Corrina Rose Logston - *Highlander’s Farewell, The Elderberries - *Torn Jacket/Boy in the Boat/Toss … set;  34s: Máiréad Nesbitt - The Butterfly;  33s: Altan - The Curlew/McDermott’s/Boxty, Celtic Fiddle Festival - *Le Printemps, Arty McGlynn - Walter Sammon's Grandmother/Concertina… set, Eliza Carthy - Scan Tester’s Country Stepdance/… (hornpipe);  32s: Jenna Reid, Aly Bain and Friends - *Fiddle Blast, Liz Carroll - Lost Indian;  31s: Blazin’ Fiddles - *Miss Johnstone/Rannie MacLennan/… set.

Form:  Three-couple, longways set.

    * * *
A1:  ‘1’s lead down between the two ladies, separate (man down/lady up), cast round one person.  They meet in the middle, without taking hands, go between the men, separate, cast round one person to lines of three across (‘2’s facing down and ‘3’s facing up).

A2:  In those lines, Kick balance.  Repeat.  On the start of the next phrase, the first couple leap (normally to their left) to stand between the other two people of the opposite gender.  This leap/jump counts as the first jump of another pair of Kick balances.

B1:  ‘1’s right-elbow half-turn their partner, then left half-turn their first ‘corner’.  Right three-quarters turn partner, left half-turn with their other ‘corner’.  ‘1’s meet (it doesn’t matter on which side they end-up).

B2:  ‘1’s swing down to third place (‘progressing’); all swing partners.

Boston Tea Party

Author: Jean Butler

Music:  32-bar jig or reel;  36s: Dublin City Ceili Band - Behind the Bar/… /…;  34s: Patrick Street - Killanin’s Fancy set;  33s: Paddy Glackin - The Last House in Connaught/The Gooseberry Bush, Altan - The Curlew/McDermott’s/Boxty, The Tune Makers - The Bucks of Oranmore;  32s reels: Martin O’Connor et al. - *The Cooley set, The Kilfenora Ceili Band - Sheehans/Merry Blacksmith/… Glen (Medley), The Gothard Sisters - *The Landing;  31s jig: The Dunne Family - Strike the Gay Harp/Jimmy Ward’s;  30s jig: Adam Agee & Jon Sousa - An Giorra… (The Hare in the Corn)/… set.

Form:  5 or 6-couple longways.

    * * *
A1:  The top couple galop down, two-handed, between the lines to the bottom of the set.

They arch up over the ladies’ line - man in the centre.

A2:  At the top of the set they arch down over the men - man stays in the centre.

They return, two-handed, up the middle to the top and, still holding inside hands, face down the set.

B1:  All couples, except the ‘1’s, face up the set.  The top couple ‘duck and dive’ down the set.

B2:  The top couple, now at the bottom, make an arch…  the new top couple, followed by the rest, cast-out, through the arch and back to place.  Swing.

Bottoms Up

Music:  32-bar jig.  33s: Crowdie House - *Blue Bonnets, Patrick Street - *The Shores of Lough Gowna/Contentment is … set;  32s: Tiger Moth - Oats and Beans and Barley Grow, Trinculo - *Drummond Castle/Shorty’s … , Sean Mcguire - *Erin’s my Home/Larry O’Gaff;  31s: Fara - *Billy’s Short Leg;  15s jig: Blazin’ Fiddles - *Thursday Night in the Caley, Open House - Devil’s Jig/The Trip to Bantry/…;  29s: Danú - Jim Ward’s, Howie MacDonald - Dan R’s Favourite/… etc..

Form:  5-couple longways set.

  * * *

Both lines hold hands.  Bottom couple join free hands to make a horseshoe-shaped set.

A1:  Top two men make an arch.
Ladies ‘thread the needle’ - twice if spry enough (the ‘eye’ needs to move forward - towards the needle ‘tip’).  Both the top two men need to ‘unwind’ under their arch together.

A2:  Top two ladies make an arch.  Men ‘thread the needle’ - twice if spry enough.

B1:  Heads join hands to make a circle of ten, circle left & right.

B2:  Bottom couple galop up to the top, where the top couple place their hands on the waists of the bottom couple, and the foursome galop to the bottom - the original top couple go to the very bottom place.

Bridge of Athlone

Music:  48-bar jig.  WttD, CD2, 07 Greensleeves Country Band - B. of A./Rakes of Kildare/… set;  46s: Jon Boden et al. - *Bridge of Athlone;  53s: Greg Joy and various artists (faster) - *Blarney Pilgrim;  44s: Eliza carthy - Zycanthos Jig/Tommy’s… (reel);  42s: Threepenny Bit - Coffee Zycanthos.

Form:  longways, four or five-couple sets.  Standing opposite partner, men have their left shoulder to caller, ladies with right shoulder to caller.

    * * *
Bars 1-8
Everyone joins hands in their lines and dances four steps forward-and-back (4 bars).  The men, keeping their hands joined and raising their arms above head-height, take eight steps, passing to left of their partners, to cross to the ladies’ side while the ladies duck under the men’s arch (to the left of partner) to cross to the men’s side.  All half-turn to the right.

Bars 9-16
Repeat back to places.

Bars 17-24
1st couple in each set galop down the set, two-handed, for 8 steps and back for 8 steps.

Bars 25-32
1st couple followed by the other three couples cast-off down the back of their own sides and make an arch at the bottom.  The other couples pass through the arch and lead to the top of the set.

Bars 33-40
All now make a two-handed arch with their partner.  1st lady comes up under the arches while the 1st man goes up the outside of the set behind the men’s line.  Then the 1st man goes down under the arches while the 1st lady casts down to the bottom of the set behind the ladies.

Alternatively: 1st couple arch up the set over the men - lady in the centre - and back down the set over the ladies.

Bars 41-48
Everybody swing.

Repeat for the other three/four couples.

Broken Sixpence

Author:  Don Armstrong

Music:  reel.
35s:  Celtic Fiddle Festival - Twilight in Portroe/… set, Trip to Durrow/… set (34s).

Form:  Contra, duple, ‘1’s improper.

Prep.:  Take hands - four from the top.

    * * *
A1:  Do-si-do neighbour;
Men do-si-do.

A2:  Ladies do-si-do;
‘1’s swing down the set between the ‘2’s.

B1:  Line of four walk down the set, turn alone, hold hands with neighbour and come back as a line.

B2:  Outside man (‘2’) curls round - dragging the line to a circle of four.  Circle left,
star right (by the left hand), peeling-off to face a new neighbour.

Country Bumpkin

Author:  Michael Barraclough

Music: 32-bar, versatile.  38s: Tom Doherty - The Three Sisters Reel;  36s reel: Trinculo - Touchstone/London’s Glory;  35s reel: Sláinte Mhath - *The White Crow;  34s reel: Celtic Music (Various) - Maid Behind the Bar/Gravel Walk, Patrick Street - Devanney's Goat/Leitrim …/… , Dulan - Reel of Rio/Fox Hunter;  33s: Celtic Fiddle Festival - *Le Printemps, The Four Star Trio - Reel of Rio/The Belles of Tipperary, Brendan Carey Block - *Wing Commander Donald MacKenzie.
35s jig: Lissa Schneckenburger - Jefferson and Liberty/… ;  33s: Mark Arrington - Kesh Jig/Haymakers;  31s jig: The Dunne Family - Strike the Gay Harp/Jimmy Ward’s;  29s: Danú - E Minor Jig/Jimmy Ward’s.

Formation: Longways, 5 or 4 couples.

    * * *
A1:  Lines forward and back.  4 bars

A1:  Men arch, couples cross over - passing by the right shoulder.  4 bars

A2:  ‘1’s galop down, two-handed, to the bottom of the set and back up.  8 bars

B1:  The ‘1’s, facing each other (the rest facing ‘up’) start a Grand Chain - initially passing by the right hand, then carrying on (passing by alternate hands) down the opposite line - the others follow.  When they meet at the bottom, the ‘1’s make a two-handed arch.  8 bars

B2:  The 2nd couple lead their remaining line outside the arch, up through it and back to progressed places…  swing - if there’s time.  8 bars

The Devil’s Dream

Music:  32-bar American reel.  30s: WttD, CD1, 05 - Orange and Blue - (2-bar intro.) Devil’s Dream (Up Jumped the Devil/Fred Radem's/The Flop-Eared Mule);  35s: Bucketboy Bluegrass Band, Bryan Sutton (33s) - *Kitchen Girl;  34.5s: Caladh Nua - *By Heck;  34s: Govannen - *Billy in the Low Ground/Blackberry Blossom;  30s: Ray Price - D. D.;  29s: unidentified bluegrass band (fiddle, banjo, guitar) - D. D.;  28s: Leahy - D. D..

Form:  Longways, ‘1’s improper - “As many as will”.  Skipping step for A1 & A2.

Prep.:  Take ‘hands down the line’ in fours.

    * * *
A1:  ‘1’s face down the centre and lead (all the way) down while the ‘2’s go up the outside.  4 bars

All half-turn alone and lead back to give their neighbour e.g. ‘1’ man with ‘2’ lady, a nearest short-arm half-turn.  4 bars

A2:  ‘1’s, facing down, go down the outside, while ‘2’s go up the middle.  4 bars

All half-turn alone and lead back - where men ¾ turn their neighbouring lady (so progressing) into…  4 bars

B1:  Ladies’ Chain across the set… and back.  4 bars + 4 bars

B2:  Promenade that person (i.e. neighbour) across the set - passing to the right of the oncoming couple.  (Ladies could add a flourish by twirling Cw. under the man’s l. arm as she half-circles around him.)  Half ‘right and left through’ (back into ‘progressed’ place) - ready to restart.  ‘End’ couples need to turn around (as a pair) and change their designation.  Note the new contrary dancer (i.e. new neighbour).  4 bars + 4 bars

The Foula Reel - pronounced ‘Fooler’

Music:  32-bar jig (double?):  39s: Spælimenninir - Da Shaalds o Foula; 34s: The Kilfenora Band - Jig It/Patsy Geary's/… set;  33s: Ale Möller – after 2m08 (but slow until 3m19) Unst Bridal March/Maggie O’Ham/Foula Reel;  32s: The Falconers (WttD, CD1, 17) - Shaalds of Foula, Celtic Fiddle Festival - *Maureen's Fancy/ … /Swinging Jig (double jigs) set;  31s: The Ranchers (WttD, CD1, 07) - Jigs: Lady Mary Douglas/Jump at the Sun/There Came a Young Man.

Form:  longways, 4-couple.

Difficulty: 2 - the poussette can be unfamiliar.

    * * *
A1 and A2:  ‘1’s lead down the middle of the set.  At the bottom they turn with a right short-arm or cupped-elbow (no thumbs!) once to ‘Strip the Willow’ back up (“right arm to your partner, left arm to the line” [of opposite gender]).

B1:  Back at the top, ‘1’s make an arch (with the man inside) and carry it down over the men’s heads, then back up over the ladies’ heads.

B2:  Poussette – All couples take two hands.  The 1st couple poussette to the bottom of the set: the 1st man pushes his partner (4 steps) while all the other men initially pull their lady.  The 1st couple weave their way down the set alternately pushing and pulling, weaving in and out, passing each other couple in turn as they go to and fro’ down the set.

Four around Four

Music:  32-bar jig.  31s: (WttD, CD1, 07) The Ranchers - Jigs;  33s: Patrick Street - *The Shores of Lough Gowna/Contentment is … set, Mark Arrington - Kesh Light Jig set;  31s: Fara - Billy’s Short Leg, The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra - *Jake's Jig/Going to the Well for Water/… set, Séamus Egan - Garrett Barry’s/The Hag at the Churn, Alasdair Fraser & Paul Machlis - Calliope House/Cowboy Jig;  30s: The Bothy Band - The Kesh Jig/Give Us a Drink/… set, Danú - Brown Eyed Bridget, Lissa Schneckenburger - *Jimmy Boyles/The Roaring Bar Maid/…;  29s: Blazin’ Fiddles - Braehead Cottage.

Form:  Four-couple longways.  Easy.

    * * *
1-8:  Lines hold hands.  First woman pulls her line around the outside of the men.

9-16:  First man pulls his line around the ladies.

17-24:  Top couple galop to the bottom and back.

25-32:  Top couple cast out, form an arch at the bottom, all pass under, and swing.

next 1-8:  New first woman pulls her line around a new line of men.

Jack’s Maggot

Music:  32-bar reel.  Own tune:  33s: Tasker’s Chance - Newcastle/Jack’s Maggot.

or:  40s (then 32s): Adam Agee & Jon Sousa - *John Brennan’s/Man of the House;  34s: Sharon Shannon - Bonnie Mulligan, Séamus Egan - Poultry in the Parlour/Rolling in the Ryegrass.

Form:  longways, duple, proper. “As many as will”.

Prep.:  Take hands in fours from the top.  Couples with their backs to the stage are ‘1’s.

    * * *
A1:  1st man crosses down between the two ladies, passing second woman by the right shoulder.  They hey (so top lady faces down the line) - ending with the man back in his place.

A2:  1st lady goes down between the two men, passing second man by the left shoulder.  They hey (so the top man needs to face down the line).

B1:  (In pairs of couples) right hand star, left hand star back.

B2:  1st corners cross (with right shoulder leading), 2nd corners cross.

B2:  Hands-four (circle left) half-way round, 1st couple cast outside ‘2’s, into ‘2’s place as 2nd couple lead up.

Maid of the Mill

Music:  32-bar reel.  38s: Tom Doherty - The Three Sisters Reel;  35s: Adam Agee & Jon Sousa - *The Maids of Holywell/Cor Pheait/… Reel set;  34s: Patrick Street - Devanney's Goat/Leitrim …/… , Wild Asparagus - Faheys/Woman of the House/… set, Máiréad Nesbitt - *The Butterfly, Kevin Burke - The Doon Reel/… set;  33s: The Tune Makers - The Bucks of Oranmore, Brittany & Natalie Haas and Friends - Bill Malley’s/*The E-B-E Reel, Celtic Fiddle Festival - *Le Printemps, Brendan Block - Wing Commander Donald MacKenzie’s;  32s: Malachy Doris - *Bonnie Kate, Wild Asparagus - Congress Reel/Fisherman’s Island/Return to Milltown, Dominique Dupuis - *Westburne Reel (Andy Renwick’s Ferret), Celtic Music - Doherty Reel set, Natalie MacMaster - Catharsis, Kilfenora Ceili - Sheehan’s/Merry Blacksmith/… , Blazin’ Fiddles - **Fashion, Leahy - *Seamus Coynes;  31s: Andrew Vogts - The Rosin on the Gourd, Caitlin Warbelow & Cuomo - *Headlands March/Sporting Paddy/Wing Commander Donald MacKenzie’s/Road to Errogie set, The Demon Barbers - *Kiss Me Quick/My Mammy’s… ;  30s: Banter - Harpers Frolic/Bonny Kate.

Form:  longways, duple, proper, ‘As many as will’.

Prep.:  Take hands in fours from the top.  Couples with their backs to the stage are ‘1’s.

    * * *
A1:  ‘1’s r. h. turn (palm-inward Allemande) twice.  Then they cast around ‘2’s to stand between them - to make a line of four, all facing up.

A2:  Holding hands, four abreast walk three steps forward (‘up’ the set), kick, still facing up - three reverse steps, kick, three steps forward, kick, three steps back, kick.

B1:  ‘2’s curl upwards to make a circle of four, circle left (Cw.) eight steps, right eight steps.

B2:  R. h. star, then l. h. star back.

Restart the dance from the progressed place, i.e. the ‘1’s have moved down the line to their next ‘2’s.
Single couples left at either end swap their designation e.g. from a ‘2’ to a ‘1’…  and ‘wait out’ a ‘go’.

Nottingham Swing

Music:  16-bar hornpipe, e.g. a 32-bar hornpipe played without the usual repeats).  24s: WttD, CD 2, 16 - Greensleeves Country Band - Nottingham Swing (Philebelula All the Way/Paddy McGinty’s Goat/Country Garden);  24s: Banter/Bellowhead - *Kafoozalum;  23s: Jon Boden - 10 Nottingham Swing (FSCD002, 2005), John Carmichael Band - Canadian Barn Dance.

32-bar:  56s: Déanta - (0m22) *King of the Blues;  50s: Ardan - *The Boys of Bluehill/Off to California {from Dancing With The Celts}, Altan - *Dance of the Honeybees;

Formation:  longways, duple, proper.  ‘As many as will’.

Prep.:  take hands in fours from the top.  Demonstrate a ‘Step-hop’.

Difficulty:  moderate.

    * * *
A bars 1-4:  1st man and 2nd lady meet to turn by right elbow.

A bars 5-8:  1st lady and 2nd man meet to turn by right elbow.

B bars 9-12:  ‘1’s take two hands to take two steps down the set and two steps back, then cast outside the ‘2’s.  All the 1st couples have progressed down a place.

B bars 13-16:  all swing (cross-hand hold).
End couples sit-out one turn and change their designation from a ‘2’ to a ‘1’ - or vice versa.

Orcadian ‘Strip the Willow’

Music:  Often 6/8 double or 9/8 slip jigs.  32s: Waxies Dargle - Father O’Flynn/Irish Washerwoman/Blackberry Blossom;  30s: Leahy - Wedding Day;  29s: Spinach for Norman - Road to Dublin/The Foxhunters Jig/Drops of Brandy set.

Double jigs:  31s: The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra - *Jake’s Jig/… Well for Water/… Washerwoman, Natalie Macmaster - *David’s Jig/!, The Blue Rock Boys - Doctor O’Neill’s;  30s: Brendan Mulhaire - Hag with the Money;  29s: The Barra MacNeils - *Wedding Party.

24-bar:  23s: Dominique Dupuis - *Mom’s Jig/Cape Breton Dream.

40-bar:  34s: The House Band - The Zakynthos Jig.

Slip Jigs:  35s: Altan - A Fig for a Kiss, Anne Marie Hildebrandt - Sixpenny Money/The Creel of Turf, The McNamara Family - The Barony Jig/The Leitrim Quickstep/Moll Roe;  32s: Dave Swarbrick - *Sheagh of Rye;  31s: Eileen Ivers - *The Humors of Ballyloughlin/Knocknagow;  30s: Noel Hill & Liam O’Connor - Foxhunter’s Slip Jig, James Keane - *Geese in the Bog.

Reels:  35s: Kevin Burke - Bus Stop Reel set;  34s: Ally the Fiddle - Catharsis.

    * * *
The Orcadian Strip the Willow dance comprises a continuous, rolling, double Strip the Willow figure for ‘as many as will’.  Each top couple commence half-a-dozen bars after the previous top couple.  Couples can join, or leave, the dance as desired, at the bottom of the line.

OXO Reel

Author: John Tether

Music: 32-bar jigs/reels.  36s: Jon Boden et al. - 11, OXO Reel (FSCD002, 2005);  35s: unidentified - (0m04) OXO Reel;  33s: Dominique Dupuis - *Jack Daniels’.

Formation:  6-couple longways, duple, proper.

Difficulty: 1

    * * *
A1:  Lines go forward and back.  Tops galop to the bottom.

A2:  Lines go forward and back.  Original ‘2’s galop to the bottom.

B1:  Top two couples circle left; bottom two couples circle right; middle two right hand star - OXO!  Then back the other way.  (8 steps + 8 steps)

B2:  2nd couple (now at the bottom) galop to the top; all swing.


Music:  Own 32-bar tune.  35s: Lissa Schneckenburger - Petronella;  33s: The Boys of the Lough - The Lancers/Petronella/… .

Form:  longways, ‘2’s improper, ‘as many as will’.

Prep.:  take hands four from the top.

    * * *
A1:  ‘1’s Petronella turn: rotate ¾ Cw. while also moving Acw. into position (man at the bottom of the foursome - facing up, lady at the top - facing down).  All join hands and ‘balance’ (four steps: pull-in, close with a stomp, out, stomp).  Release hands and Petronella turn into the next position Acw., join hands, balance, release hands.  8 bars

A2:  All Petronella turn, join hands, balance and release hands…  repeat one more time.  8 bars

B1:  ‘2’s retire (to face each other) as ‘1’s lead down…  turn alone, and come on back… .  Giving ‘inside’ hands, turn ¾ around the ‘2’s into a progressed place.  8 bars

B2:  ‘Right and left thru'’ across the set, i.e. cross the new set - giving right hand to your partner, then, along the set - giving left hand - to swap places with your neighbour - finishing with a courtesy-turn (man turns ¾ Acw.) or ladies can finish by twirling Cw. under their man’s left arm as he rotates Acw..  4 bars

Repeat, back to the progressed place.  Couples left at an end, will need to turn back - as a pair - swap their designation…  and ‘wait out’ a ‘go’.  4 bars

Sir Roger de Coverley

Music:  (in 9/8) AABBCC Triple jig (or Slip jig).  36s: unspecified Flautist, or Feast of Fiddles (34s), or Blowzabella (32s) or The Seven Dials Band (31s) - Sir Roger de Coverley;  35s: Mark Arrington - *Foxhunter’s Slip Jig set;  32s: Rún - *Hardiman the Fiddler;  29s: Street Fiddlers - Nead Na Lachan (The Foxhunter’s Jig).

Form:  5-couple longways - can employ a running step.
Prep.:  explain that, due to ad-hoc figure timings as sets get out-of-sync., ‘calling’ will be curtailed.

    * * *
First corner (top man, bottom lady) skip (or run) towards each other and turn by a right arm hold e.g. linked-elbow or short forearm or cupped-elbow - no thumbs!…  then they retreat.  The finishing couple can make a slow, wide cast to clear the way for the following couple, until returning through their own place.

The second corner (top woman and bottom man) advance and turn by a right arm hold.

Then the first, followed by second, corner turn by:
the left arm,
two, crossed hands,
do-si-do (pass Cw., back-to-back, round each other).

Top couple ‘Strip the Willow’ to the bottom, i.e. a right, cupped-elbow/short-arm swing with partner for one complete turn, then left cupped-elbow/short-arm swings down the opposite line (alternating with right arm swings with partner down the middle).  16 bars

Top couple galop up the middle to the top, cast-out, dance to the bottom - followed by the rest - meet, arch and the rest pass through it.

Stoke Golding

Music:  40 bars. Slip Jig.  33s: Liz Carroll & John Doyle - John Cahill’s Jig/Tommy Doyle;  30s: The Ranchers (WttD, CD1, 06) - Keel Row/Twin Katy’s Reel.

Form: Longways, 4 or 5 couples.

    * * *
1:  Top man and bottom lady swing. (8 bars)
2:  Top lady and bottom man swing. (8)

3:  Top couple Strip the Willow (double) to the bottom.  ("Right to your partner, left to the line".) (16)
4:  Where, with the lady outside the set, they take a single-handed arch up over the ladies, and down over the men. (8) … The lady continues-on to swing the new top man.

T. A. G. (Terry Armstrong Graham - not a ‘bloke’)

Roger Whynott

Music:  March (32-bar single reel) or jig.  35s: Caladh Nua - *By Heck;  34s: Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy - *Whistler of Rosslea (initial rpt.: 42s), Sharon Shannon - *Miss Thomson’s/The Derry Reel set, Knot Fibb’n - Merry Blacksmith/Father Kelly’s/… , Patrick Street - Killanin’s Fancy/… set, Govannen - *Billy in the Low Ground/Blackberry Blossom;  33s: Dominique Dupuis - *Jack Daniels’, Solas - *Sproggies set, 2nd South Carolina String Band - *Cripple Creek/Old Joe Clark/… ;  32s: Kevin Griffin - Green Mountain, Jenna Reid, Aly Bain and Friends - *Fiddle Blast;  31s: Mick Foster - Brian O'Kane’s March, Ceilidh Minogue - King’s Reel/… Laoish/Janine’s … /… set.

16-bar reel:  18s: Babineau & Chartrand - Windsor Mills.

Form:  4-couple longways.

Difficulty: 2

    * * *
A1:  The top couple lead down the centre, come back up and cast out (the second couple don’t ‘assist’).

A2:  As the top couple cast, all the men raise their left arms and follow the top man into a left-hand star while all the ladies follow the top lady into a right-hand star.  As each couple meet each other at the bottom, they cross to the other star - the lady crosses in front of her partner to join the men’s (left-hand) star…  while men join the right-hand star.

B1:  As partners meet at the bottom again, they swap stars back into ladies doing the right-hand star while men do the left-hand star.

B2:  As the tops meet yet again at the bottom, they lead everyone up to the top and cast…  others follow.  The tops make an arch at the bottom and the others go through.  Couples can swing - if there’s time.

It helps if the lines/stars are close together to allow easier swapping between them…  and dancers stay in their stars as long as possible before swapping-over.

Thady you Gander (Irish Trot)

Music:  32-bar jig.  Candleford Ceilidh Band - T. Y. G..

Form:  4-couple longways, (skipping-step or step-hop).

    * * *
Top couple join inside hands and dance to bottom.  (4)

Couple cross over (lady under man’s arm), each return on outside.  (4)

Top lady leads the men around her partner and down the back of the ladies’ line.  (8)

Top man leads the ladies around his partner and down the back of the men’s line.  (8)

Top couple right elbow turn once then both short-arm or cupped-elbow swing down the set to ‘Strip the Willow’.  (8)

Restart when the top couple reach the bottom (on their own side).

Thread the Needle

Music:  32-bar jig.  John McCusker - [All the] Blue Bonnets [Are Over the Border] (very slow - speeding to 31s per 32 bars) or 33s: Crowdie House - *Blue Bonnets, Mark Arrington or Michael O’Donoghue (32s) - Haymaker’s Jig;  32s: Jimmy Blair and his Scottish Dance;  30s: Open House - Devil’s Jig/The Trip to Bantry/… set, Natalie Macmaster - Jig Party, The Gothard Sisters - Midsummer Jigs;  29s: Blazin’ Fiddles - Braehead Cottage;  28s: Altan - The Blue Idol.

Form:  3 (or four)-couple longways.

    * * *
1-8:  Thread the Needle:  Join hands along the lines.  Bottom couple also hold their partner’s hand - to form a horseshoe-shaped set.

The top two men (1st and 2nd men) raise their joined hands to make an arch; the top lady leads everyone through the arch - curving left down the back of the men’s line, round the set and back to place.  Both the top two men, keeping their joined hands raised, need to ‘unwind’ under their arch together.

9-16:  Repeat 1-8 but with the top two ladies making the arch and the top man pulling his line (and curving right…).  When everyone has passed through, both the top two ladies, keeping their joined hands raised, ‘unwind’ under their arch together.

17-24:  All circle left (men just continue their movement).  All circle right.

25-32:  First couple, slip down the middle (four steps, two-handed) and back, then, followed by the others, cast to the bottom of the set, and make an arch for the others to lead up the set to their advanced places.

Wilder variant.

Three Around Three

Music:  polka.  35s: Brian Roe - Sean Ryan’s;  34s: Mary Duff (dulcimer) - Jenny Lind/Three Around Three, Craig Duncan - Grandfather/Clarinet Polka set;  32s: Art Stamper - Barndance Polka;  31s: Eliza Carthy & KoC - Trip to Fowey/Amery/Queen;  30s: John Carty - Lakes of Sligo;  29s: Reelroad - *Sean Ryan’s Polka, Slainte - Britches Full of Stitches/Munster/Bill Sullivan’s;  28s: Jackie Daly & Creagh - Bill Sullivan’s/Britches of Stitches.

Form:  three couples, longways.

    * * *
Top lady pulls the line of ladies (skipping) upwards and around the back of the men’s line.  (8)

Top man pulls his line around the ladies’ line.  (8)

Top couple cast to middle place, & swing.  (8)

Old tops right-hand star with couple above.  (No left-hand star back.)  (4)

Old tops dive under an arch made by the 3rd couple.  (4)

The new top lady needs to be ready to re-start.

Virginia Reel

This is an adapted version (for Americans) of the English dance, Sir Roger de Coverley.


40-bar (5 x 16 beats) reel:  43s: Kenny Thomson - High Society;  42s: Colin Dewar - Virginia Reel Medley.

32-bar:  34s: The Rankin Family - *Mairi’s Wedding (vocal content) (Michael’s from 2m09, but “in your own time”);  32s: Melodian Band - Virginia Reel Medley (>9 mins long), Geslison & Groberg - V. R. or Black Rose - V. R. (lively, 2 second intro., then 8 x 31s).

64-bar:  63s: (WttD, CD2, 12) - Virginia Reel.

Form:  Longways four or five couples.

    * * *
A1: 1-4  2nd corner couple only (top lady and bottom man) advance 3 steps and, on the 4th beat, all ‘clap-clap’, repeated by 1st corner couple, i.e. 2nd in, ‘clap-clap’, 1st in, ‘clap-clap’.

A1: 5-8  2nd corner couple take 3 steps to reverse out, all ‘clap-clap’, repeated by 1st corner i.e. 2nd out, ‘clap-clap’, 1st out, ‘clap-clap’.

Alternative for A1:
1-4 (involving all couples i.e. no ‘passive’ couples) all advance 3 steps, all ‘clap-clap’ and retire 3 steps, ‘clap-clap’.
5-8 Repeat.

A2: 9-12  All advance, single turn partner with hooked right-elbow.  If the music is Black Rose, all can kick-up heels!

A2: 13-16  All hook left-elbow to turn back.

B1: 17-20  All turn partner Cw. with both hands.  (4 bars)

B1: 21-24  All do-si-do (passing by the right shoulder).  (4 bars)

B2: 25-32  Head couple join hands and do eight side-slips down the set…  and back.

B3: 33-40  Head couple cast-off to the bottom where they make an arch, others follow through the arch and return up the set (having progressed a place).

Alternative for A1-B2:

A1:  Head lady and foot man hook by right-elbow and turn while remainder 1, 2, 3, ‘clap-clap’ (8 beats) …  followed by the 1st corner turning…  and the remainder 1, 2, 3, ‘clap-clap’.
A2:  Head lady and foot man left-elbow turn…  then 1st corner.
B1:  Head lady and foot man do-si-do passing right shoulders…  then 1st corner.
B2:  Head lady and foot man do-si-do passing left shoulders…  then 1st corner.

Alternative for a 64-bar dance:

From bar 29 (B2) - i.e. a 36-bar addition…  so, okay for five couples:
Head couple join hands and do eight side-slips down the set, the couple then Strip the Willow up the set, cast, & arch at the bottom for the rest of the set to duck under and return to a progressed place.

Waves of Tory

Music:  polka/jig.  48-bar for 5 couples or 64-bar for 7 couples.  (Often AAB AAB [48 bars] - for 5 couples; AAB AABBB [64 bars] - for 7 couples).

48-bar jig (5 couples):  The Blue Mountain Band (WttD, CD1, 11) - WoT;  48s: Steeleye Span - Mooncoin;  46s: Jon Boden et al. - *Bridge of Athlone… ;  44s: Blowzabella - *Horizonto, Eliza Carthy - Zycanthos Jig/Tommy’s…;  42s: Threepenny Bit - Coffee Zycanthos.

32-bar jig (twice through - for 7 couples):  32s: Michael O’Donoghue - Haymaker’s Jig, Sean McGuire - *Erin’s …/Larry O’Gaff set (3 x 64);  31s: Olive Hurley - Shandon Bells.

Form:  Longways set of 5 or 7 couples (need an odd number for the ‘waves’).

Step:  Jig or walking step.

    * * *
A1: 1-4  Hold hands in lines, four steps forward and four steps back.

5-8  Couples 1 & 2 and couples 3 & 4 r. h. star, 5 r. h. turn.

A2: 9-12  Lines forward and back.

13-16  Couples 1 & 2 and couples 3 & 4 l. h. star, couple 5 l. h. turn.

B1: 17-24  Top couple two-handed slip-step galop eight steps down and eight steps back.

B2: 25-32  At the top, they cast out, the remainder follow.  At the bottom of the set, the top couple make an arch for the rest to pass under.

C1 & C2: 33-48 (B music phrase is repeated twice more - or, for 7 couples, phrases A1-B2 are repeated en bloc for bars 33-64)
There’s now a new top couple.  Everybody remember their new position.  Everybody, except the original top couple, face down and hold hands.  The original ‘tops’ start a ‘dip and dive’ i.e. alternately ‘duck under’ and ‘arch over’ approaching couples.  Other couples either push apart to ‘arch’ or pull together to ‘dive’, moving forwards until they join in (by following the couple in front).  When they reach the ends, couples can either turn about individually…  or (as an embellishment), since their inside arms are already raised (into an arch), the lady can swap places with the man using a California Twirl (to stay on his right).  They then continue the wave by ‘diving’ under the arch made by the oncoming couple - back to their places.  They then wait for the others to complete i.e. back to where they started the ‘waves’.  (16)

Alternative Waves of Tory

Music:  5 x 48-bar jig.  The Blue Mountain Band (WttD, CD1, 11) - WoT.

Form:  Longways set of 5 or 7 couples.

    * * *
A1:  Each line join hands and advance four steps & retire.  (4)

Lines advance & pass through by the right shoulder (8 steps).  (4)

A2:  Advance & retire.  (4)

Advance & pass left shoulder.  (4)

B1:  Swing partner.  (8)

B2:  Top couple cast off: men following the man, ladies follow the lady.  The top couple form a two-handed arch at the bottom of the set and the others, following, pass through and up to the top of the set.  (8)

The original top couple finishes as the bottom couple.

B3:  Holding inside hands, new top man turns his lady under his arm, faces down the set and they ‘duck and dive’ with the set.  (16)

Repeat as required until everyone has been the top couple.

Weaver’s Galopede

Music:  32-bar jig.  32s: Jimmy Blair and his Scottish Dance Band - Lord Rosslyn’s Fancy, Trinculo - *Drummond Castle/Shorty’s Revenge;  31s: Caitlin Warbelow & Friends - *Father Kelly’s/Reconciliation/… /… set, The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra - *Jake’s Jig/Going to the Well for Water/… set;  30s: Danú - Brown-Eyed Bridget, Blazin’ Fiddles - *Thursday Night in the Caley;  29s: Altan - The Wedding Jig.

Form:  5-couple longways.

    * * *
Both lines hold hands.  The bottom couple join free hands to make a horseshoe-shaped set.

A1:  The top two men make an arch and the women ‘Thread the Needle’.

A2:  Still holding hands, the top two women make an arch and men ‘Thread the Needle’.

B1:  The top couple galop down… as they pass, the rest cross by the right hand; top couple galop back up, the rest cross back with left hand.

B2:  Top couple galop down again and the rest cross by the right hand; all swing, ending-up back on their own side.

The Willow Tree

Author:  Hugh Rippon

Music:  48-bar jig four or eight times through.  55s:  Damien O’Kane & David Kosky - Morgan Rattler;  50s:  ITMA Staff - Humours of Ennistymon/Cliffs of Moher/Out on Ocean;  47s:  Spiers & Jon Boden - Oswestry Wake/Morgan Rattler;  44s:  Blowzabella - *Horizonto, Eliza Carthy - *Zycanthos Jig/Tommy’s …;  42s:  Threepenny Bit - Coffee Zycanthos.

48-bar reel:  54s: Keith Smith - Clutha, Noel Hill - Duke of Leinster;  50s: Mark Arrington - Sweets of May, Blazin’ Fiddles - *Fiddle Cushion;

Form:  8-couple longways set.

Difficulty: 2

    * * *
A1 (1-8):  Top couple take two hands and galop to the bottom of the set; 1st man takes bottom lady with two hands and slips back to the top, leaving 1st lady behind.

A2 (9-16):  1st lady and bottom man galop up the set; bottom man returns with his own lady.

B1 and B2 (17-32):  End couples right elbow turn once and ‘Strip the Willow’ i.e. left cupped-elbow down the opposite line, alternating with right cupped-elbow with partner, to the middle (i.e. past 3 couples), then form an arch of four in the middle of the set (the 4th and 5th couples will need to have space between them).

C1 and C2 (33-48):  Sides cast (top six people cast down, bottom six cast up), in through the side arches - out through the end-arches, back to place; swing if there’s time.

The Wizard’s Walk

By Ruth Ungar

Music:  32-bar.  Own tune: Wizard’s Walk by Jay Ungar.  Folk Godalkanje - W. W. after 32s & 1m05 (unstructured after 1m38), Snowflake? (also Craig Duncan);  Celtic Spring - W. W.. {after 1m10 & 1m41}.

Form:  longways duple lines or… Sicilian circle - i.e. a large circle comprising couple-facing-couple.

Preparation:  Hands four from the top.  Couples facing down are ‘1’s or, if a circle, ‘1’s face Cw., ‘2’s face Acw..

Watch at:

    * * *
A1:  In circles of four holding hands, starting on l. f. circle left half-way (4 steps/beats); balance (raise hands to chest height, step forward into the circle, small ‘stomp’ on the other foot while pulling together.  Two steps back out. (4 beats).

A1:  Repeat the circle left to get back to place…  and balance.

A2:  In circles of four - starting with neighbour - grand chain (r. hand first - men go Cw.) four places, i.e. chain right round (four ‘hands’); then smoothly gypsy Cw. (passing right shoulders) 1¼ times round your neighbour - on to a new couple - progressing.

B1:  In circles of four, holding hands, balance (pull & step inwards, tap, lean back, tap) and swing partner (in a ballroom hold).  Finish with ‘1’s facing Cw. and ‘2’s facing Acw. - men on their partner’s left.  If no new couple, swap designation, turn back and wait-out a turn.

B2:  Wizard’s Walk (a bit like a ‘reel of three’ - but where, throughout the ‘Walk’, participants don’t generally change the direction in which they’re facing): everyone walks forward, ‘1’s now separate outside (twirling outwards - if there’s enough space) the ‘2’s, who’ll be moving forward, together and up towards them, meet (with an optional inward twirl) and continue down to split the next ‘2’s (who’ll be moving apart and up) - ‘1’s now separate (with a twirl again - if desired) and back up outside those ‘2’s (who’ll also be backing), meet and back-up between the ‘2’s (whom they met at ‘B1’), with whom they re-form a four-person circle, to restart the dance.

Alabama Jubilee

Music:  32-bar reel.  31s: Bela Fleck - Rocky Road (2 + 32 bars), Kenny Baker - Black Mountain Rag;  29s: The Newton Boys or Kentucky Colonels - Alabama Jubilee;  26s: Leahy - Alabama Jubilee/Bowing the Strings… .

Form:  One big circle (so, not a square dance).  All face-in, lady on man’s right.

    * * *
A1:  All join hands and move four steps into the middle… and four steps out, repeat.

A2:  Allemande left with neighbour; do-si-do partner once-and-a-half…  and hold out right hand.  5 + 8 + 3 steps

B1:  ½ Allemande right with the hand coming towards you, who’ll be your new partner.  End facing back towards your original partner; swing original partner.  Both end-up facing anticlockwise (Acw.) round the circle.

B2:  Promenade Acw. c. 10 steps round the circle.  Men move-on to their new partner…  all reform the circle and face in.  16 steps.

Apple Tree Square

Music:  32-bar jig/reel.  37s: Tiger Moth - La Bastringue;  35s: Adam Agee & Jon Sousa - *The Maids of Holywell/Cor Pheait/… Reel set;  33s: The Gothard Sisters - Celebration Reel, Patrick Street - The Shores of Lough Gowna/Contentment is… (jig) set, Corrina Rose Logston - Charleston No. 1, Session Tunes - The Silver Spear/Gilbert Clancy’s/Road to Ballymac (reel) set;  32s: Liz Carroll - *The Silver Spear/The Earl’s Chair/The Musical Priest, Ghurt-Yo-ghurt - The Musical Priest, Jenna Reid, Aly Bain and Friends - *Fiddle Blast, Patrick Street - Killanin’s Fancy/… Portobello/… (reel) set.

Form:  Four couples in a square.

    * * *
A1:  Head couples (‘1’s and ‘3’s) go forward and back; ‘1’s cross-trail: ‘1’s cross the set to pass between ‘3’s - changing places with each other as they go (lady in front), separate and go back to place round the outside.

A2:  All do-si-do corner, do-si-do partner.

B1:  Allemande left with your corner;  give right hand to your partner and start a R-L Grand Chain (men proceed Acw. round the circle, ladies go Cw., by pulling past alternate people using alternate hands).

B2:  When you meet your partner, do-si-do and promenade home.

Repeat – with sides leading.

The New Mrs Arrowsmith

Author:  Gordon Potts

Music:  Hornpipe or Polka.  45s hornpipe (step-hop): Patrick Street - Down by the Old Fairy Fort/The Whistler… ;  41s hornpipe: Stömp - Scan Tester’s;  35s: Corrina Rose Logston - Honeycat Hornpipe;  Brian Roe - Sean Ryan’s Polka;  34s: Craig Duncan - Grandfather/Clarinet Polka set;  33s: Ghurt-Yo-ghurt - Sean Ryan’s Polka set;  32s: Art Stamper - Barndance Polka, Ronan Hardiman - *Irish Polka.

Form:  Four couples in a square.

    * * *
A1:  Head couples take one hand with partner and lead ‘forward’ four steps in to the middle of the set and ‘back’.

Head couples forward, then separate - taking their ‘opposite’ by the hand and turning to pass between their adjacent side couple (who’ll need to separate slightly)…  then each return to place.

A2:  Sides ‘forward & back’ four steps.

Side couples forward, separate and out, taking their ‘opposite’ between their adjacent head couple (who’ll need to separate slightly)…  and then each return to place.

B1:  The four ladies ‘right hand star’, men cast out (Acw.), circulate Acw. round the outside to the next man’s place.  When, after completing ¾ circle - c. 5 steps, the ladies encounter their partner, they ‘peel-off’ to meet him by the left hand and he courtesy turns (or Cw. twirls) her Acw., around him. (c. 3 steps)

B2:  Repeat the ‘star’ and courtesy turn then, either repeat it one last time (by which time men will have completed a full circuit …) or, to ‘progress’, simply turn/swing the current person - your new partner - for the last eight beats.

Reel of Ballymore

Leslie Haworth

Music:  32-bar jig.  Welcome to the Dance, ‘WttD’, CD2, 01 The Ranchers - Reel of Barrymore;  reel:  Mick O’Brien & C O’R - Rolling in the Ryegrass set  (16 bars in 20s);  33s: Angelina Carberry - *Dermot Grogan’s/Hardiman’s;  32s: Trinculo - Drummond Castle/Shorty’s Revenge and Any Jig Will Do;  31s: Natalie MacMaster - Mahone Bay Jig

Form:  Big circle mixer.

Difficulty: 2

    * * *
A1:  All into the middle for 4 steps and back out.  (4 bars)

Repeat.  (4 bars)

A2:  Promenade partner (‘Gay Gordons’-style) eight steps anti-clockwise, then, remaining in-hold, all turn back.  Men move-on to promenade the woman in front, eight steps clockwise - she is his new partner (ladies have moved-on one place… or men have moved-back one place).  End the promenade with partners facing - men facing out, ladies facing in.  (8 bars)

B1:  Facing your new partner, the person beside him/her on your diagonal left is your left-person and the person on the other side is your right-person.  (The left-person was your previous partner.)

You’re now going to Allemande these three people.  Walk a tight figure-of-eight: give right hand to pass your new partner, everyone turns their right-person halfway with the left hand to face their partner again.  Then, after passing their partner with right hand to face their left-person, everyone turns their left-person halfway with the left hand to face their partner again.

B2:  Long swing with partner (alternatively: Kick balance twice and swing).

Belfast Duck

Music:  16-bar hornpipe;  23s:  WttD 1 - 20 Belfast Duck;  24s:  Banter-Bellowhead - Kafoozalum;

32 bars:  49s:  Altan - *Dance of the Honeybees;  41s:  Stömp - Scan Tester’s.

Form:  a large Sicilian circle, but men inside…  or also longways, duple, proper.  Step-hop (vigorous) or slow walk (gentle).

Difficulty: 1.

    * * *
A:  In fours, circle left, 8 steps;  circle right, eight steps. (8 bars)

B:  Lead down the room (or clockwise, Cw.) with two slow walking steps (easiest to start on the outside foot) - taking inside hands; take both hands and chassé (side, close, side) down.

Ditto up the room - or anticlockwise (Acw.).

Ditto down the room.

Ditto up the room but ‘1’s, stationary, make an arch and ‘2’s either reverse, or turn to face forward, under it - so progressing.

On reaching an end, swap designation and ‘wait-out’ a turn.


Summary of B:

Down 2, chassé down 2, up 2, chassé up 2.

Down 2, chassé down 2, ‘1’s arch and ‘2’s pass under - so progressing.

Blaydon Races

Music:  32-bar march.  30s: ‘Welcome to the Dance’ (‘WttD’) CD 2 Greensleeves County Dance Band - 20 Blaydon Races/Tramp, tramp, tramp/Home Boys Home (.wma), Woodley Yeomen - 13 B. R. (mp3), 2nd South Carolina String Band - *Cripple Creek/Old Joe Clark/… .

Form:  circle or concentric circles.

    * * *
A1:  Join hands, go into the middle and back.  8 beats

A1:  Repeat (middle and back).  8 beats

A2:  Ballroom hold: a double chassé in, double chassé out, and swing/polka two turns.  16 beats

B1:  Cross-hand promenade (man towards the centre) eight steps.  During the last few steps, men move-on to the lady in front.  16 beats

B2:  Kick balance.  Repeat.  8 beats

B2:  Couples cross-hand swing.  (Men finish with the new lady on their right.)  8 beats

Restart:  into the middle again.

Borrowdale Exchange

Music:  32-bar reels.  13 B. E. (mp3 is lo-res);  36s: Sláinte - Scully’s Reel, Deanta - Scarta Glen Road set;  34s: Liz Carroll - Ronan Boys;  33s: Crannog - Red-Haired Lass/Blacksmith/Tulla, The Gothard Sisters - both *The Bandit and Celebration Reel;  Chieftans - *Ladies’ Pantalettes (speeds from 34s to 30s per 32-bars).

Formation:  3-couple (with the lady on the man’s right) in a circle.  Scatter mixer.

Difficulty: 1

    * * *
A1:  All circle left eight steps…  and back.

A2:  All advance into the middle four steps and back; do-si-do partner.

B1:  Right-hand star, holding hands with person opposite and nobody else.  Finish by raising hands into an arch.

Undo the star:  keep holding hands - the lady whose hand is lowest goes under the arches (made by the other two couples) first, then the next lady.

B2:  Promenade (or polka) around the room for 4 bars…  then form new, 3-couple sets.

The Carousel

Author:  Bill Wolding

Music:  reel.  35s: Dominique Dupuis - Reels des Naufrages, The Elderberries - Torn Jacket/Boy …/Toss …;  34s: Wild Asparagus - The Big Reel/Rare, Fahey’s/Woman …/Sligo …;  31s: Mean Lids - Waterbound;  35s - 27s!: Leahy - Jimmy McBride’s Reel.

Form:  Sicilian Circle.

    * * *
A1:  Do-si-do person opposite;
do-si-do partner.

A2:  Hold hands in circles of four.  Balance in, out, twice;
circle left eight steps.

B1:  Balance in, out, twice;
circle right.

B2:  With arm around one’s partner’s waist, balance forward and back once.  Men link left elbows to form a line; swing line around ½-way.  Men release elbows, couples continue rotating a further ½-turn to face the next couple.

B2:  Circle left eight steps, ‘crash thru’ (going to the left of one’s ‘opposite’) on to the next couple.

Chain Double Quadrille

Music:  48-bar jig.  50s: ITMA Staff - Humours of Ennistymon/…Moher/…Ocean;  48s: Steeleye Span - The Mooncoin Jig;  47s: The Elderberries - Banish Misfortune;  45s: Kevin Burke - *The Humours of Ennistymon/Old as the Hills;  44s: Eliza Carthy - Zycanthos Jig/… Foot/… set;  42s: Threepenny Bit - *Coffee Zycanthos.

Form:  Double Sicilian.  (Need a wide room…  and at least 32 dancers.)  Two adjacent couples face another pair of couples in an extended, double-spoke of a wheel.  The first 32 beats can be danced with a travelling step, the remainder is ‘walked’.

Note:  The degree of ‘courtesy-turn’ differs (¼ or ¾) between couples - affecting timing.

    * * *
The middle four people r. h. star, then return to left arm turn their partners one-and-a-half times so they end-up changing places.  8 beats + 8 beats

The middle four people, who were the outer four people, r. h. star, then return to left arm turn their partners one-and-a-half times to finish back in their original place.  8 beats + 8 beats

Kick balance to partner, repeat… and swing.  8 beats + 8 beats

Ladies’ Chain across the set, Ladies’ Chain down the set (the line).  8 beats + 8 beats

Ladies’ Chain across the set, Ladies’ Chain down the line.  8 beats + 8 beats

Holding hands down the line, forward and back.  8 beats

Forward and cross through (couples part and each pass thru’ to the left of the facing person) to the next set.  8 beats

La Champenoise/Chapelloise

A simple, progressive, two-hand, circle dance.

Music: 16-bar jig/gigue - Own tune.  33s-27s: Die Irrlichter, Duivelspack, Les Genoux - *Chapelloise;  15s: Blazin’ Fiddles - *Thursday Night in the Caley.

Form:  Circassian Circle.  Cercle Circassien.  For more than six couples.  Couples face Acw., men on the inside - so that each couple is a ‘spoke’ in a wheel.

Watch at:

    * * *
Promenade (‘Varsouvienne’-style - the man places his right arm over his partner’s shoulders and holds both his partner’s hands), three steps forward (start on r.f., half-second paces), half-turn Cw. (Gay Gordons-style - still holding both hands), three steps back, touch/close.  (4 bars)  {"Hommes à gauch/interieur.  Dans le sens antihoraire:  Marche, marche, marche, tourn, recule, recule, recule, touch/pause."Variation: the man faces Cw. round the circle - holding the lady’s extended l. hand with his right hand, and extending his left arm to hold her right.  He then walks backwards for three steps, after which, they turn Acw. - so the couple’ll need to extend their r. arms instead - and he walks forward.

Promenade three steps forward, (start on l.f.) half-turn Acw., three back - returning back to place - close.  Variation continues:  the man’s first few steps are backwards, the lady’s last few steps are an under-arm twirl to place.  (4 bars)

Everyone faces Acw. around the circle - holding adjacent hands only.  Couples pull together with either a little leap & ‘tap’ or a Pas de Basque, then spring out - again with a P. de B..  The man then feeds his partner across (she rotates Acw.) in front of him to his left-hand side, as he slides right (across to the outside) - so they swap places.  (4)

Couples pull together, spring apart…  then make an arch with their ‘inside’ arms for the lady to duck Cw. under, offering her free, left hand to the following man.  He collects it with his left hand as he slides back to the ‘inside’ position and she completes her Cw. rotation allowing him to place his r. arm over her shoulders.  (4)

{Les couples s’approchent, s’écartent, s’échange de place. "Tirer près ensemble", "Side, touch", "Change de place - la fille passe devant le garçon, face-à-face", "En sa proche", "La fille passe en sous"}

Cotton-Eye Joe - Circle Dance (progressive mixer)

Source:  YouTube.

Sounds impressive on suspended wooden floor-boards.

Music:  16-bar (32 step) Bluegrass polka.  17s: Geslison & Groberg - Cotton Eye Joe;  31s: Bruce Molsky, Rednex (29s) - C.-E. J..

Form:  Two, adjacent, concentric circles - all the men, in the inner circle, face Acw., their partners face Cw. in the outer circle.

Prep.: Brace/link right hands (vertically, at chest height, palm-to-palm) with one’s partner.

    * * *
A:  With the right foot, stomp, stomp, chassé right, i.e. ‘side-close-side’ - swapping hands whilst crossing in front of one’s partner.  (2 bars)

A:  With the left foot, stomp, stomp, chassé left - swapping hands.  (2 bars)

A:  Repeat.  (4 bars)

For the last 8 bars, either:

B:  Allemande right to turn one’s partner ¾ Cw..  (4 bars)

Advance 8 steps forward to partner the next-but-one person.  (4 bars)


B:  Right elbow-turn one’s previous partner once Cw., left elbow-turn one’s current partner ½ Ccw., right elbow-turn the next person (your next partner) once, ready to restart - facing around the circle.  (8 bars)

Cumberland Square Eight

Watch at:

Music:  64-bar reel.  35s: Boden et al. - C. S. E.;  32s: WttD CD 2, Greensleeves Country Band - C. S. E.;  33s: Brittany & Natalie Haas and Friends - Bill Malley’s/*The E-B-E Reel, Jim Macleod Band - My Love She’s But a Lassie Yet.

Form:  Square set.

    * * *
A1:  Heads galop across the set in a ballroom hold (men back-to-back) and return (women back-to-back).

A2:  Sides do the same.

B1:  Heads right hand star, left hand star.

B2:  Sides do the same.

C1:  Heads make a basket: ladies hold hands - keeping their arms raised in arches.  Men grip hands behind the ladies’ backs, duck their heads under the ladies' arms, and all four circle left.

C2:  Sides do the same.

D1:  All circle left for 16 steps.

D2:  Promenade back to place.

Repeat - but with ‘side’ couples leading.

Danish Double Quadrille

Music:  64-bar marches.  ‘WttD’ CD 2 (4-bar intro.) 03 D. D. Q.

Form:  Double Sicilian - 2 couples side-by-side facing 2 couples.

Difficulty: 2

    * * *
A1:  All four couples, in their set, circle left for 16 steps (twice as long as you’d expect).

A2:  Circle right for 16 steps - back to place.

B1:  The outside two couples take inside hands, and lead between the others towards the middle of the big circle and back.

B2:  The inside two couples likewise lead to the outside of the circle and back.

A3:  Right and left through in fours… and back.

A4:  In fours, circle left eight steps and then right.

B3 and B4:  Each couple dance (polka-step? pas-de-bas?) right round the opposite couple two or three times, then go half-way round again to progress and form a new line ready to restart.

The Dashing White Sergeant

Music:  32-bar reels.  32s:  The Jingbang Ceilidh Band - The Dashing White Sergeant/Kate Dalrymple/Barrowburn;  31s: Crowdie House, and Shoestring - The D. W. S., The Chieftans - *Ladies Pantalettes (speeds-up from 34s per rpt. to 30s).

Form:  One big circle of sets each comprising three people facing three people i.e. a man between two ladies or lady between two men.  (If there are more than two surplus ladies, one of them could replace one of the men in a two-man ‘threesome’.  The ousted man can then make an additional ‘threesome’ with two surplus ladies.)

    * * *
1-8:  Join hands in a circle of 6 and circle round to the left for 8 steps (4 bars) and then back to the right.

9-12:  The person in the middle of the threesome turns to the person on their right and sets to them, then, by the right hand (variation: both hands), turns them around Cw. once.  The other partner stands still.

13-16:  Repeat with the other partner.

17-24:  Dance a reel of three, passing right shoulder with 1st partner to start.  (Variation: cup r. elbows to half-turn 1st partner, then l. elbow with 2nd partner, then 1st partner, then 2nd partner.)

25-28:  In lines of three, advance two skip-steps and retire…  alternative: forward, stomp, stomp, stomp… back, stomp, stomp, stomp.

29-32:  Both lines dance forwards, one line (say ‘1’s) raise their hands in an arch and the other line dancing underneath (passing opposites by the right shoulder).

Dance-on to meet and repeat with the next, advancing set of three.

If the room’s not wide enough for the large circle, the dance can be done in lines.  On alternate ‘goes’, a threesome will be left spare at each end…  they just turn around, as individuals, to face back towards the rest of the dancers, miss the circling (1–8), then carry-on as normal.

Dorset Four Hand Reel

Tends to be performed by ‘display’ sides rather than socially.

Music:  2 x 64 + 8 bars, AABB + 8 final swing; rant, WttD II - 06 Dorset Four Hand Reel.wma;  33s per cycle (sprightly!): Blowzabella - D. F. H. R..

Form:  cross-ways 2-couple set, ladies back-to-back in the middle facing out towards their partner. M-L, l-m

    * * *
A1:  Hey (reel of four), all start by passing right shoulders.  Finish after 1¾ circuits (10 places) with men in the middle (facing each other). l-m, M-L

A2:  Men ‘set’ to each other i.e. pas de basque (3 steps) - twice to each side.

A2:  Men turn to their partner and ‘set’ to her.

B1:  Hey again.  Finish with ladies back in the middle.

B2:  Ladies ‘set’ to each other - twice to each side.

B2:  Ladies turn to their partner and ‘set’ to him.

So, first time through: walking reel, then walking reel with hands, (or: step-hop reel, step-hop reel with hands), ranting reel (“heel” stepping), ranting reel with hands.  Each reel ends-up with ‘inners’ having swapped with previous ‘outers’.

Final 8 bars – swing partner.

Eightsome Reel

Music:  Lively reels, played 40 bars for the first time through, plus 8 lots of 48-bar repetitions (phrased 24+24), plus a final 40 bars (464 bars: 40 + 8x48 + 40).  The De’il Amang the Tailors is commonly used for the first and last 40 bars.
52s (for 48 bars): Jim McCloud Band - Eightsome Reel; 50s: Gordon Pattullo Band - Eightsome Reel.

Formation:  Square, lady on the man’s right.  1st couple have their backs to the band.


1-8:  All join hands to circle round to the left for 8 steps (four bars) and back.

9-12:  Ladies join right hands in the middle, partners join-in putting right hands around their partner’s waist, and all wheel in a big star.

13-16:  Swing round (couples still holding around the waist) so the men join left hands in the centre, and dance back with a left-hand star.

17-20:  Face partners and set twice.

21-24:  Turn partner.

25-40:  Giving right hand to partner, dance a grand chain around the set (keep going in the same direction then give left hand, right, left… until you get back to place).  If you get back early, swing until the end of the phrase.

    * * *
Main Figure - repeat 8 times

1-8:  1st lady goes into the centre of the set and ‘set’s while the other seven circle round to the left and back.

9-16:  1st lady sets to partner, turns him, sets to opposite man and turns him.

17-24:  1st lady dances a reel of three with partner and opposite man, giving left shoulder to partner to start.  (Variation – lady turns partner, opposite man, partner, opposite man).

25-32:  Repeat bars 1-8.

33-48:  Repeat bars 9-24, but with 2nd and 4th men - start the reel by passing left shoulder.  1st lady retires.
Repeat figure with, in the centre, 2nd lady, 3rd lady, 4th lady, 1st man, 2nd man, 3rd man, 4th man.


Repeat the 40 bars of the start of the dance.

Goathland Square Eight

Music:  32-bar rant.  35s: WttD, CD1, 03 - Orange and Blue - G. S. E.;  38s: Trinculo - Old Mrs Wilson.

Form:  4-couple square set, rant step throughout except for A2 and swing.

Sing (during A1):
Old Mrs Wilson how d’you do?
Very well thank you - how about you?
Some folk laugh and some folk cry
But you’ll never do the dance if you never try

    * * *
A1 (4 bars):  Holding hands, circle left.

A1 (4 bars):  circle right.

A2 (2 bars):  ‘1’s and ‘3’s cross, ‘3’s arching, ‘1’s dipping.

A2 (2 bars):  ‘2’s and ‘4’s cross, ‘4’s arching, ‘2’s dipping.

A2 (2 bars):  ‘1’s and ‘3’s return, ‘1’s arch.

A2 (2 bars):  ‘2’s and ‘4’s return, ‘2’s arch.

B1 (4 bars):  Grand chain (start with right hand to partner).

B1 (4 bars):  halfway round - swing partner.

B2 (4 bars):  continue grand chain (passing partner, but offering one’s left hand to the next dancer).

B2 (final 4 bars):  meet partner and swing.

repeat from start…

The Heartbreaker

Author: Peter Coe

Music:  32-bar jig/reel or Charleston (Goodman/Steamchicken-style).  Viscounts (54 bpm) or Don Reno (60 bpm) - Five Foot Two; French Charleston Orchestra - Ain’t She Sweet (53 bpm);  The Belgrade Dixieland Orchestra - Yes Sir, That’s My Baby (61 bpm).  For slower Charleston, one could use a swaggering gait.

32s reel:  Natalie Macmaster - The Beaumont Rag.

Jig:  29s (so slow it by c. 10%):  Black Donald - *Stool of Repentance.

For a finale:  63 bpm:  Michael Holliday - *Swanee (from [0m38] 1m40 up to 2m43).

Form:  Four-couple square.

Watch us doing it at: - video by SHOCC organiser, Ian Nichols.

    * * *
A1:  All holding hands, circle left for 8 steps (ranting - if proficient).  (4 bars)

Circle right for 8 steps (back to place).  (4 bars)

A2:  Three couples - not the Head couple - make a single-handed arch with their partner.  The Head couple ‘Split the Heart’:  they dance in to the middle of the set, then, as individuals, dance out the set - each through their adjacent arch, round the outside of the set to meet and join hands (man on the left) at the bottom, back in under that arch and cross the set (where they can, if they wish, California Twirl) back to place.  (8 bars)

B1:  Four Ladies Chain:  ladies right hand star for half-a-turn, peeling-off to meet the opposite man by the left hand.  The man then courtesy turns her (or, as a flourish, the lady meets him with an underarm Cw. twirl - Rock ‘n’ Roll-style - he then checks her forward trajectory ready to fling her back) to…  (4)
…continue the Four Ladies Chain, back to her partner (where, if inclined, the lady can raise her partner’s hand with her left hand to twirl backwards, Cw., under it).  The man half-turns her around him - gliding into…  (4)

B2:  …everyone do-si-do their corner/neighbour, then do-si-do their partner…  and swing if time.  (8)

Repeat:  Circle, then the next couple Acw. ‘Split the Heart’.

To progress occasionally:  for the ‘return’ Ladies’ Chain, call “Ladies continue circling to the third man round”.

Hullichan’s (Hooligan) Jig

Music:  6/8 or 9/8 jig – but 64 bars in total.  33s: Dave Swarbrick - Hullichan’s Jig/!Chorus Jig (both are very short, Chorus is too fast);  64s: Gordon Pattullo’s Band - Hullighan’s Jig;  30s: The Jingbang Ceilidh Band - Hullichan’s/The Curlew/Skyeman’s/Troy’s …;  James Keane - *The Geese in the Bog.

Form:  Sets of two couples crossways, ladies in the middle standing back-to-back facing their partners, i.e.  M-L l-m

Preparation:  Each set should have men of similar physique i.e. size and weight - as swinging can get a bit boisterous.  Demonstrate a Pas-de-Basque step.

    * * *
1-8:  Everyone Pas-de-bas (P-d-b) their partner for 16 beats i.e. 8 bars

9-16:  Link right arms and turn partner (see below) for 16 beats (ensure that all dancers are proficient at the swing hold described below), but men finish facing each other in the centre of the set. -  L-M m-l

17-24:  Men P-d-b each other 16 beats, ladies admire.

25-32:  Men link arms/elbows and swing each other for 16 beats, but finish facing their opposite lady. -  L-m M-l

33-40:  P-d-b new partner for 16 beats.

41-48:  Link arms and swing new (original ‘opposite’) partner for 16 beats, but ladies finish facing each other in the centre of the set. -  m-L l-M

49-56:  Ladies P-d-b to each other for 16 beats, men admire.

56-64:  Ladies link arms and swing each other for 16 beats, but finish facing their original partners. -  m-l L-M

Repeat - as desired.

The stable ‘swing’ or ‘turning’ hold:  link right elbow with one’s partner’s, both put their left hands behind their back (palm facing outwards – as is natural).  With one’s right hand, grip one’s partner’s left hand i.e. the one behind one’s partner’s back.

Lucky Seven

Music:  32-bar jigs/reels, ‘WttD’ CD 2 Greensleeves Country Dance Band - 11 Lucky Seven;  34s: Sharon Shannon reels - *The Woodchoppers or *Bonnie Mulligan, Gerry O’Connor - *Mountain Road/Ash Plant/Josie McDermott’s, La Famille Arsenault - *La Reel Mon Oncle Albert/Whiskey Before Breakfast;  33s: Kristin Scott Benson - The Woodchoppers Reel, Abrams Brothers - Nashville Skyline Rag, Arty McGlynn - Walter Sammon’s Grandmother/Concertina Reel/Brendan … ;  31s reel: Rún - *Road to Lisdoonvarna, Ceilidh Minogue - King’s Reel/… Laoish/Janine’s … /… set, The Demon Barbers - *Kiss Me Quick My Mammy’s … ;  30s jig: Lissa Schneckenburger - *Jimmy Boyle’s/The Roaring Bar Maid/… .

Form: circle mixer.  Avoid having multiples of six couples.

Difficulty: 1

Start standing side-by-side with your partner (lady on the right) and all holding hands in a circle.

    * * *
A1:  All Circle left for 8 steps.  4 bars

A1:  Four steps in, four steps out.  4 bars

A2:  Do-si-do neighbour, do-si-do partner.  8 bars

B1:  Grand chain:  everyone face partner, all the men go anticlockwise (Acw.), all the ladies go clockwise.  Take right hands, count “One” and pass partner, hold out left hand to the next person, count “Two” and go past, etc..  8 bars

B2:  Swing the seventh person.  Taking a crossed, two-hand hold with your new partner (one person crosses their arms and the other takes their hands), swing clockwise round for 16 steps.  8 bars

When dancers are proficient, call “Now swing the eighth person”.

Mouth of the Valleys

Author:  Gordon Potts

Music:  32-bar, reel (suits ‘A’s and B1).  38s (“Plenty of time for some creative twirling”): Celtic Fiddle Festival - *Loch Leven Castle/… /Goat Island …/… set, Lissa Schneckenburger - The Old Maid of Galway, Angelina Carberry - Pluckin’ Mad;  37s: Liz Carroll - both *Ricky’s White Face and Smokies in Arbroath;  34s: Jerry Holland - *Horse Tigers/Billy Macleod’s, The Brock McGuire Band - *The Moving Cloud, Keith Smith - *The 9lb Chicken, Solas - *Sproggies, Caladh Nua - *By Heck, Nathan Gourley - *Heights of Muingbhatha;  33s: The Gothard Sisters - *The Bandit and Celebration Reel, Malachy Doris - *Bonnie Kate/… Monaghan, Ashley & D MacIsaac - Silver Spear set, Tune Makers or Shaskeen Céilí Band - *Bucks of Oranmore, We Banjo 3 - Road to Eirogee/President Garfield set;  32s: Kevin Griffin - *Green Mountain/… Westport/… Oranmore, Lissa Schneckenburger - Melissa without the “Me”/Eric’s Birthday… .

Form:  Five/six couples - each facing their partner - in a circle.

    * * *
A1:  Men dance/walk a figure-of-eight:  first Cw. around their partner then Acw. around their neighbour (the lady behind).  8 bars

A2:  Ladies dance/walk a figure-of-eight:  first Cw. behind their partner then cross-over to go Acw. around their neighbour (the man behind).  (8)

B1:  Men half-turn their partner by either a ‘short’ right arm, i.e. a forearm grip, or ‘cupped’ elbow - but no thumbs!; half-turn their neighbour by the left arm, then half-turn their partner again by the r. arm.

Offering their left hand back to their neighbour (their new partner), men (only) curl ½ Acw. placing their r. arm over their new partner’s shoulders - so everyone faces Acw. around the circle.  (8)

B2:  New couples promenade (‘Varsouvienne’-style) around the circle - roughly back to place - and face one’s (new) partner in a re-formed circle.  (8)

Panshanger Sicilian Circle

by Barry Goodman

Music:  32-bar polka or jig.  32s jigs: Tiger Moth - Oats and Beans and Barley Grow, Alban Fuam - The Wishing Well/Apples in Winter/… set;  32s polkas: Art Stamper - Barndance Polka, Ronan Hardiman - *Irish Polka;  30s: Danú - Brown-Eyed Bridget;  31s polka: Sláinte - Britches full of Stitches/Munster Bank/Bill Sullivan’s set;  29s: Blazin’ Fiddles - Braehead Cottage, The Bothy Band - Old Hag… set;  28s: The Elderberries - *The (Old) Hag… set (double jig, some vocal content), Reelroad - *Maurice Manley’s/Egan’s Polka [6¾ min. long];  27s: Green Lands - Maurice Manley’s/Ballydesmond Polka/Bill Sullivan’s Polka.

Form:  Sicilian Circle.  Cw.-facing couples are ‘1’s.

In circles of four, holding hands:

    * * *
1-4:  Circle left eight quick-ish steps.

5-8:  Still holding hands, circle right.

9-12:  Do-si-do partner.

13-16:  Do-si-do opposite.

16-24:  Ladies’ chain.

25-26:  ‘1’s arch and ‘2’s duck under.

27-28:  ‘2’s arch and ‘1’s back under.

29-32:  ‘1’s arch and ‘2’s duck under to progress-on to the next couple.

Pat-a-Cake Polka

Music:  16-bar polka.  ‘Welcome to the Dance’ (WttD) CD 1 - 19, The Blue Mountain Band - Nick Nack Paddywack/Little Brown Jug/Polly Wolly Doodle/So-so Polka;  2nd South Carolina - Buffalo Gals (vocals);  Geslison-Groberg - Cotton-Eye Joe (16 bars in 17s);  15s: Sham Rock - Tell Me Ma;  14.5s: Gaelic Storm - Tell Me Ma.

Form:  Couples in a circle: the men face Acw., ladies face Cw. - or, if space is limited, two concentric circles - ladies on the outside facing in, their partners facing out.

    * * *
With both arms stretched out to the side, hold hands with partner.

‘Heel-toe’ - ‘Heel’ into the circle (or, if space is limited, Acw. around the circle), ‘toe’ - heel by ball of outer foot… repeat.  4 beats

Slide four times (eight steps) to man’s left i.e. into the middle of the circle (or Acw. round the circle).  4 beats in total

With outside foot, ‘heel-toe’ twice towards the outside (or Cw.).  4 beats

Slide four steps - back to place.  4 beats

Clap right hands with partner three times (fast-ish), clap left hands with partner three times.  4 beats

Clap both partner’s hands three times, clap own thighs/knees three times.  4 beats

Either progress:

Right elbow turn once.  4 beats

Continue-on, passing one’s partner (men go Acw.) to the next person round.  4 beats

or: keep the same partner and polka around.  8 beats

Variation:  Change Places (using about five steps) - cross to the left of partner while also turning Acw. a ½-turn (so pass back-to-back), then march on-the-spot - hands on hips, raise alternate feet.  8 beats in total.

La Russe Quadrille

Music:  64 bar reel.
32-bar:  32s: 15 ‘WttD’ CD 2, Greensleeves Country Band - 15 La Russe;  34s: Boden - 01 La Russe (FSCD02, 2005), Sharon Shannon - *Woodchoppers, *Bag of Cats with *Bonnie Mulligan, Tiger Moth - Larousse, Patrick Street- Killanin’s Fancy set, Caladh Nua - *By Heck, Arcady - *The Sally Gardens/Miss McLeod’s/Foxhunter’s/… Spear set;  33s: Matt Molloy - London Lasses/Farewell to Ireland, The Tune Makers - The Bucks of Oranmore, Natalie MacMaster or Sláinte or Elderberries or Session Tunes or MacIsaacs (32s) - *Silver Spear;  30s: Alban Fuam - Hand Me Down…/Fermoy Lasses/Gravel Walks set.

Form:  4-couple square.

    * * *
A1:  All pass their partner by the left shoulder i.e. men pass outside ladies, to meet the next person of the opposite gender - who should be coming towards them, for a Kick balance, repeat and swing.  To end the swing, the man rolls the lady off his right arm towards her home position, rather than just dumping her.

A2:  Face partner (who should be oncoming), Kick balance, repeat…  and swing.

B1:  The leading couple (‘1’s) keep swinging, others drop-back to place.

B2:  ‘1’s promenade inside the set, successively greeting (nodding/bowing) ‘2’s, ‘3’s and ‘4’s, ending in place.

A3:  ‘1’s and ‘3’s cross, the leading couple, ‘1’s, ducking, ‘3’s arching.  At the far side, ladies turn Acw. under their partner’s arm to change place and reverse direction; cross back (‘1’s arching), then ladies turn under-arm to change places with their partner again.

A4:  Repeat A3 i.e. couples cross-over again.

B3:  All join hands, circle left all the way (16 steps).

B4:  Promenade (anticlockwise) back to place.  Linger holding left hands to half-turn the lady ready for her to advance for the ‘balance’ with the adjacent man.

Repeat for ‘2’s (but ‘2’s & ‘4’s cross first), ‘3’s, and then ‘4’s (‘2’s & ‘4’s cross first again).  Finally both ‘1’s & ‘3’s dance B1 followed by B2 at the same time, then both the ‘sides’ do B1 & B2 together.

Note:  To enliven A3 and A4, the ‘passive’ couples could, if they’re very nifty, cross close on the heels of the ‘working’ couples.

Suicide Square

Watch at:

Music: 32 bar jig (for the galop).  15s: Blazin’ Fiddles - Thursday Night in Caley;  30s: The Gothard Sisters - Midsummer Jigs;  28s: The Elderberries - The Hag set.

Form: One big square.

    * * *
1-8  Everyone in ballroom hold - head ends of the room galop eight steps across the room and back.  (8)

9-16  Sides do the same.  (8)

17-24  Two-handed Kick balance twice, (4) swing your partner. (4)

25-32  Men form an inner circle facing out, women form an outer circle facing in, everybody circle left 8 steps.  (4)  Find a new partner.  (4)

Sybil’s Roundabout

Watch at:

Music:  32 bar jig.  38s: Seelyhoo - *Sarah MacFadyen/Farewell … ;  35s: Sláinte - Celtic Jig/Leitrim Fancy (or 54bpm: The Viscounts - Five Foot Two).

Form:  Couples in a large circle - men on their partner’s left.  All hold hands, facing in.  Progressive.  Can also, with minor modification, be performed as a Contra.

    * * *
A1:  Walk four steps in to the center of the circle, and retire (four step back-out).  Walk four steps in again, then only the lady retires, the man just half-turns to face her.

A2:  Do-Si-Do partner.  (8 beats)
‘Side-close’ left twice (or galop left), (4 beats)
‘Side-close’ right twice, (4 beats).  End with your partner diagonally to your left.

B1:  Take left hands with your partner and right hands with the person on your right diagonal (to form a wavy line).  Balance (four beats: forward, tap/kick…  step/lean back, tap) (4 beats), then Allemande left a ½-turn with your partner to change places.  (4 beats)

Balance the new wave, then Allemande right your new partner ½-turn to change places with them.

B2:  Allemande left your third partner ¾-turn to return to your second partner.  Swing (buzz step) your second partner, then fall back into a circle to repeat.

Wring out the Dishrag / Dive for the Oyster

Music:  32-bar polka.  35s: Brian Roe - Sean Ryan’s Polka;  34s: Craig Duncan - Grandfather/Clarinet Polka  {Grandparents Polka};  32s: Art Stamper - Barndance Polka.

Formation:  Two-couple sets - for as many as will, or a Sicilian circle - ideally for ten couples or more.

Watch at:  with a slightly ‘busier’ B1.

Difficulty: 3

    * * *
A1:  In fours (two-couples) holding hands, circle to the left eight steps…  then swap to a star left (grip right wrists at waist height).

A2:  Star right,  (4)
circle right.  (4)

B1:  Still holding hands, ‘2’s (couples facing anti-clockwise) make an arch and ‘1’s pass under it, turn away from each other, raise (and twist) their still joined hands over their own heads.  All, now facing-in, lower their crossed-hands in front of themselves - making a ‘four-leaf clover’.  Admire!

The ‘1’s, now facing Acw., turn towards each other - without releasing hands, - raise an arch, ‘2’s pass under it and turn away from each other to unwind i.e. ‘Wring out the dishrag’.

B2:  Polka-off to find a new couple (need to designate new ‘1’ & ‘2’s) or, for the Sicilian Circle version, take four steps forward, four steps back, ‘2’s arch for ‘1’s to pass under and move-on Cw..

Zig Zag

Music:  32-bar jig or reel.

Jig:  34s: Celtic Fiddle Festival - Old Apples in Winter/Knocknagow Jig;  33s: Patrick Street - *The Shores of Lough Gowna/Contentment is… set;  32s: Arty McGlynn - The Humors of Kilclogher;  31s: The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra - *Jake's Jig/Going to the Well for Water/… set, Candleford Ceilidh Band - Devon Jig set, Bothy Band - Strayaway Child;  30s: Patrick Street - *Mrs O’Sullivan’s Jig/Calliope House .

Reel:  42s (slow enough for a ‘swagger’ step): Johnny Cash - Casey Jones;  39s: Liz Carroll - Old Maid of Galway;  37s: The String Sisters - *The Crow’s Visit;  36s: We Banjo 3 - *Good Time, Old Time set;  35s: Caladh Nua - *By Heck, We Banjo 3 - Road to Eirogee/President Garfield, The Elderberries - *Torn Jacket/Boy in the Boat/Toss … set;  34s: Graeme MacKay - The De’il Amang The Tailors set (suitable for a sprightly ‘walking’ step), Déanta - The Lansdowne Lass set, La Famille Arsenault - *La Reel Mon Oncle Albert/Whiskey Before Breakfast;  33s: Tidal Wave - **Reel a Bruce/Terrebonne/du Nord set, Banjo & Fiddles - *Irish Set, Alasdair Fraser & Paul Machlis - *Tommy’s Tarbukas, The Retrospectacles - *Farewell to Tchernobyl/Tommy’s Tarbukas, Caitlin Warbelow & Friends - *Father Kelly’s/Reconciliation/… /… set, Becky Tracy - *Folan’s/Corner …/Red-haired Lass set, Brittany Haas & Friends - Bill Malley’s/*The E-B-E Reel;  32s: Altan - Drowsy Maggie/… /… , Séamus Egan - Mason’s Apron (a double reel - for which a ‘walking’ step is suitable), Randal Bays - Jenny’s Welcome to Charlie.

Contemporary (33s equivalent): The Gothard Sisters - (from 42s) *The Bandit.

Form:  Sicilian Circle - alternate couples facing each other.  For ten couples or more.

    * * *
A1:  Men cross the set by pulling ‘l. h. through’ with the opposite man (4 beats, 2 bars);  men continue in the same direction, pulling ‘r. h. through’ with the man approaching from the adjacent set.  All the men have now changed sets.  (2 bars)

All l. h. star in new sets.  (4 bars)

A2:  Ladies follow their men - but they use their r. h. to cross with the opposite lady, followed by l. h. pull-through to the next set.  (4 bars)

All r. h. star in new sets.  (4 bars)

B1:  Ladies chain across.  (4 bars)

…and back again.  (4 bars)

B2:  Allemande left your ‘neighbour’;  dance a two-couple R-L Grand Chain (starting with your partner, pass four hands) back to place.
Swing your partner.  (8 bars)