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longways duple improper (reverse progression)

32 bar polka (RING O’ BELLS:one more dance and then...; lulu; battle of aughrim)

[]   Do-si-do neighbour;  Swing neighbour, face across

[]   Promenade across; 1st couple half-figure-eight down

[]   Turn contra corners (with current 2’s below and the 2’s above)

[]   1st couple right-hand turn and fall back into lines (improper)

     WHILE 2nd couple cast up one place, cross over, and cast down one place;

     All star through (with partner) and circle left halfway with the couple you are now facing



four couple becket

32 bar polka (BLUE MOUNTAIN: nick nack paddiwack; little brown jug; polly wolly)

[]   In lines of four, reel halfway (pass partner left shoulder to start); Swing partner

[]   With opposite couple, Ladies Chain halfway; Flutter-wheel

[]   Middle men cross, passing left shoulder, then middle ladies cross, passing right shoulder; In fours, star right

[]   Do-si-do opposite person; In fours, right-and-left halfway

Progression: men counter-clockwise; ladies clockwise



longways 4 couples

32 bar reel (PORTLAND SELECTION: macleod’s farewell)

[]   Top couple cross and cast down 2 places and cross below 3rd place and dance up to  

      2nd place    WHILE bottom 2 couples do complete right & left (4 changes) starting

      with partners.  NB: 1st couple will be crossing between 4s and 3s as they cross with

       partners second time.

[]   At both ends, star right;  Middle four star left

[]   In lines of four, reel up and down own side

      (start by dancers at ends of the lines passing their neighbour right shoulder)

[]   Couple now at the top (original 2s) make arch as do 3rd couple, other 2 couples lead

      up under one arch;  2s maintain arch:  1st couple cast to the bottom as 4th couple followed by 3rd couple lead up through the arch and cast down to end 2 3 4 1



longways 4 couples (3s & 4s improper)

32 bar jig (MACPHAIL: weathercock)

[]   At both ends, star right; Middle four star left

[]   Huntsman reels (see notes below)

[]   Middle neighbours continue to start dolphin reels (see below) up or down the lines

      halfway (start passing left shoulder); Lines forward and back

[]   At ends, right-and-left halfway (i.e. 2 changes); Middle four right-and-left halfway (i.e. 2 changes)

A reel of three (or a “hey”) involves three individual dancers looping around each other in figures of eight.  If the middle dancer is a couple (so there are 4 dancers in total) working as a single unit, there are several possibilities – including:

Tandem reel: (with one of the couple leading, the other follows closely behind without overtaking at any stage).

Dolphin reel: As tandem reel, but when the couple reach the end of the line, the following dancer turns in front of partner to become the leading dancer in the opposite direction.

Huntsman reel: As tandem reel, but the “couple” consist of the middle neighbours, moving through the nearer end couple in the direction from which they emerge from the star.  The “couple” will end on the sides, but in each other’s starting place.

In all of these cases, the other two dancers perform the reel of three, treating the couple as a single person.



square set

32 bar american reel 

(PORTLAND SELECTION: hole in the hedge; mist-covered mountain; munster ) <chorus>

[]   Grand Square

[]   Reverse Grand Square

[]   Do-si-do Corner; Do-si-do Partner

[]   Promenade (complete)


[]   Head Couples go forward to meet and fall back to place;

      Same couples Ladies’ Chain halfway, ending with roll away with half sashay

[]   Head Couples Star Through with Partner and face Side Couple,  all balance;

      Swing the person you face to end in lines of four on the sides

[]   Lines go forward and back; Original Head Couples cross-trail through, all face Partner (Heads have changed partners)

[]   Grand Chain halfway (Head men finish in opposite places,  Head Ladies finish at home);  Swing


Chorus ... Heads lead ... Sides lead ... Chorus ... Heads lead ... Sides lead ... Chorus



square set

32 bar american reel 

(RODNEY MILLER: o'donal abhu; rocks of brae; meeting of the waters)


[]   Heads go forward and back WHILE Sides balance;

      Heads pass-the-ocean and balance WHILE Sides swing

[]   Heads TARGE to home positions WHILE Sides promenade around the outside

[] []   Repeat A1/2 with Sides leading


[]   Heads pass through and cast round two to lines of 4; Lines go forward and back

[] []   SPURTLE

[]   Active couple cast back to place

     WHILE others do-si-do partner and swing to home positions

Sequence: Chorus – 1st couple lead – 2nd couple lead – chorus – 3rd couple lead – 4th couple lead – chorus.

Targe:  Leading ladies (i.e. Heads first time, Sides second time) turn ¾ with left hand WHILE their partners move clockwise around them (¼), these same dancers turn partner with right hand; repeat but ending with right-hand turn

Spurtle: This is a series of half-reels across the set.  Active couple start with 2nd couple (in longways set) with Actives passing right shoulder, then Actives do right-hand turn in centre, moving down; Repeat with 3rd couple; then with 4th; Then all cross over with opposite person and set



longways 4 couples (3s & 4s improper)

64 bar reel (GEORGE WILSON: royal circus)

[]   Ends balance, cross and cast to lines across; In fours, right & left halfway with opposite couple

[]   Bomb-burst from Square, lead in;

      Middles star right halfway WHILE Ends balance and cross (giving right hands)

[] []   Repeat A1/2 to places

[]   Ladies Dog-Leg reel; In fours, left-hand star

[]   Men Dog-leg reel; Two-hand turn partner

[]   Lines go forward & back; Middle men cross, middle ladies cross

[]   Lines go forward and back; Set and turn single



square set

48 bar polka (PEEPING TOM: schottis fran norrbotten)

[]   Leading couple swing

[]   Leading couple promenade around outside of set to place

[]   Leading couple do-si-do right shoulder individually with right-hand couple; then left shoulder with left-hand couple

[]   Leading couple and couple opposite Right-and-Left through

[] []   These two couples right-hand star ¾, all four gather first person of opposite sex (“parcel”), continue star, dropping “parcel” on opposite side, then continue ¾ to own place

Sequence: Each couple lead in turn; then Heads simultaneously; then Sides simultaneously



square set

32 bar american reel (BURSLEDON VILLAGE BAND: kerry polka)


[]   Circle left halfway; all in to centre and out

[]   Repeat A1

[]   Four Ladies Star Chain (full)

[]   Balance & Swing


[]   Heads lead in, set; then gypsy opposite person

[]   Dolphin reels across the set, starting with Head Men passing Side Lady by the right

      shoulder and Head Ladies following their partner

[]   Heads star right;  Turn Corner with left-hand

[]   Promenade Corner to Men’s home positions (progression)

Sequence:  Chorus,  Heads Lead (twice), Chorus,  Sides lead (twice),  Chorus



4 couple becket

32 bar minuet (OLD SWAN BAND: sherborne waltz; lovely nancy)

[]   With opposite couple, two changes (Right & Left) halfway, then from this position

      continue with 4 changes of a Grand Chain (so end dancers start going across the 

      ends WHILE others start crossing with middle neighbours), then with opposite

      couple, two changes (Right & Left) halfway.

      This is quicker than it seems – one change per bar

[]   Middle four star right and left

       WHILE ends lead out and turn with a california twirl, set and lead in

[]   In lines of four, 6 changes of a hey, then two-hand turn the next person

[]   Lines go forward and back; Swing new partner



longways 3 couples

40 bar jig (FRASER & SMITH: 3x40 jig)

[]   Middle man crosses up through top couple for half reel-of-three across;

      then middle lady joins in front of her partner for half dolphin reel across

[]   Middle couple move down for half dolphin reel across with bottom couple;

      middle man drops out WHILE middle lady continues with half reel-of-three across

[]   Three-handed left-hand stars (middle lady with top couple and middle man with

       bottom couple); Middle couple turn with right hand to 2nd place proper.

[]   Bottom four lead up centre and cast down All turn partner with two-hand turn

[]   Top four lead down centre and cast up; All swing

Optionally, omit the turn in B2 and let the two casting moves flow into each other (across the music) and then swing.



circle 5 couples

40 bar reel (MCQUILLEN: snowshoer's hornpipe; peace river breakdown; high level)

[]   Grand Chain 4 places (start facing partner, end facing original corner);

      Set, right-hand turn (with original corner) ¾ to star-shape with ladies in centre

[]   Ladies star left WHILE men chase around outside clockwise; Turn corner 1½ with right hand

[]   Men star left WHILE ladies chase around outside clockwise;

      Turn corner with right-hand into promenade position

[]   Promenade to men’s home positions (progression)

[]   All into the centre and back; Swing



longways 6 or 12 couples

32 bar jig (STEAMCHICKEN: cock o’ the north)

All EVEN number couples improper

[]   Hold hands in lines of 3: slip left to face new line (curling clockwise if at ends), set right & left; join in circle of six and circle left

[]   Repeat A1, moving to next line of three

[]   Facing across: Cross with person diagonally to the right (if you can); then cross diagonally left (if you can); Repeat (two more crossings)

[]   In foursomes, full ladies’ chain

For 6 couples, dancers end at home.

With 12 couples, the set finishes inverted


Easier version:

[]   slip left; two-hand turn opposite person

[]   same again

[]   diagonal left cross, then right, then left, then right

[]   ladies’ chain



circle of 4 couple longways sets

32 bar hornpipe (BOYS OF THE LOUGH: steamboat; sheffield hornpipe)

Men are on outside

[]   All eight in the set circle left and right

[]   Still holding hands in circle, head couple move down centre of set and go under arch made by 4th couple; then head couple break circle and bring the lines up outside to place (4th couple will need to twist at end of this figure)

[]   Head couple start progressive dip & dive by arching over 2nd couple; all end in original places.

[]   Head couple lead down to bottom of set and make an arch.  Others, with 2nd couple leading, go under arch of couple above (who become 4th couple in this set)



big circle

32 bar jig (LATTER DAY LIZARDS: thompson’s jig)

[]   Do-si-do partner and swing

[]   In big circle, all advance to centre and retire; then ladies only advance, turn and come back to form ocean wave (or alamo ring) holding partner’s right hand and neighbour’s left

[]   “Rory O’More”: Balance right and left, then slide to right, passing partner, and reform ring; Balance left and right, and slide left to place

[]   Right-hand turn with partner;  gypsy left with neighbour, pass partner by right shoulder to face new partner

Option: Start the dance on A2 and so end with the swing



horseshoe 5 couples

32 bar polka (RATTLE ON THE STOVEPIPE: fred pidgeon’s no.1)

[]   Dishrag: All hold hands.  Two dancers at the bottom make an arch, top couple lead all down under arch, twist away from each other (under own arms) and come back to top over the other dancers.  Throughout this figure, nobody lets go hands.

[]   All with partners: In-line siding (right shoulder), set right and left, turn single

[]   Top couple turn to couple on their right, others face couple diagonally on their left:  Half right-and-left (one end couple is neutral); 

      Repeat, new top couple facing to left, others to right

[]   New top couple arm right and left WHILE couples on sides do same with opposites



longways becket

32 bar american reel (RODNEY MILLER: gypsy stomp; in walked bud)

[]   Ladies dance figure-of-eight around their men, starting by passing each other by the right shoulder

[]   Men gate their partners round into ... Ladies Chain halfway

[]   Men cast left and orbit anti-clockwise halfway; Swing partner

[]   Circle left halfway, break hold with other couple and slide to the left (progression); Long lines go forward and back                



longways 4 couples (3s & 4s improper)

48 bar american reel (HOGHTON BAND: ranch house)

[]   Lines go forward and back; 1st couple gallop to bottom of set

[]   Lines go forward and back; 1st couple gallop back to top of set

[]   In fours at both ends, right-hand star once round (to end with 1s and 3s facing Ladies’ wall and 2s and 4s facing Men’s wall); Chase out towards facing wall into lines of 4 across the hall, turn single out and end facing up or down

[]   In fours at both ends, left-hand star once round (to end facing up or down);

      Chase out to lines of 4, turn single out and face across

[]   Middle men pass neighbour by left shoulder, turn back to make right-hand star, gathering partner (into texas star, but “improper”) and rotating until 1st couple are back at the top of the set (as a square set)

[]   Swing partner; Couples in Head positions go forward a double and Ladies’ Chain halfway WHILE Sides set and cross with partner

The set is now going across the room in the order 3142, with 2s at the “top” ... so the set has rotated anti-clockwise.

Options in B1 & B2:

v      Omit the turn singles, and just turn to face in the approriate direction in lines of 4

v      Replace the turn singles with mini-casts from both ends of the lines

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