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These dances are in longways sets (ie a line of men facing a line of women, men's line is on the right from the caller's point of view). Some are for specific numbers of couples, others are more flexible.
Last update: 15 July 2016
Anderson Ferry Reel by Eric Conrad Longways for 5,6 or 7 couples 32 bar reel Easy (mixer!) Begin with everyone facing up, holding inside hand with partner A1 (8) 4 steps forward, 4 steps back (8) Repeat A2 (8) Dosido partner slightly more than once, to face a new partner (leaving two loners at the ends) (8) Swing this new partner. Finish on the sidelines, facing this person B1 (16) The two loners “ride the ferry”: the lone man weaves down the women’s line to the bottom of the men’s line, while the lone woman weaves up the men’s line to the top of the women’s line B2 (8) Lines forward and back while shifting left (to face another new person across) (8) Swing this new partner (person directly across) and end facing up
Axes to Grind Peter Foster 7 July 2014 4 couple longways 4x64 jig or reel Medium-Hard A1 (16) Top couple lead a cast off, pick up partner (taking inside hands) and lead back up (no arch!) A2 (16) Top 3 couples peel off as couples to finish in head lines (see note), Lines go forward and back B1 (8) Ladies chain up and down, finish facing across (8) Ladies chain across, finish facing up and down B2 (8) Ladies chain up and down, finish facing across (8) Ladies chain across, finish facing up and down C1 (16) Give and take (women take) and swing, finish facing across C2 (16) Give and take (women take) and swing, finish facing up and down D1 (16) Give and take (women take) and swing, finish facing across D2 (16) Everyone forward and swing partner, finish facing up with the woman on the right Finish in order 2341 (standard progression) Notes: A2 - first couple cast left, second couple cast right, third couple cast left, finish in head lines (so couples 4 and 1 are in a line facing up, couples 2 and 3 are in a line facing down). NOTE that the bottom couple does NOT participate in this cast off! For the give and take, the lines go forward, then take opposite by both hands and the women pull the men back with them (so women back, men forward) Instead of always having the women take, can instead alternate men take, women take, men take (rather surprisingly, this still leads to the same progression). This is probably more interesting but also more confusing. I prefer to stick with "women always take", being the simpler alternative Inspired by Pam Gainsford's Delight by Noreen Grunseit
Boston Tea Party 6 Couple Longways (or 5 or 7) 32 bar jig or reel Easy A1 (8) Advance and retire (8) Top couple galop to the bottom A2 (8) Advance and retire (8) Same couple galops back to the top B (32) Everyone face up and take inside hand with partner, except top couple who face down (stay on own sides): Top couple (and only the top couple) dip and dive to the bottom. Everyone else, as they pass the dip and dive they cast off. Top couple makes an arch at the bottom, other couples come through the arch to progress. Swing to use up any remaining music
Bottoms Up My variation of a dance by Graham Spencer Longways for 5 couples 32 bar jig or reel Easy Start by taking hands along the side, bottom couple also take hands across the bottom to make a horseshoe A1 (16) Women thread the needle (men 1 and 2 make a single arch) A2 (16) Men thread the needle (women 1 and 2 make a single arch) B1 (8) Bottom couple galop up to top (8) The two couples at the top galop to bottom (top couple taking bottom place for next turn). The rest of the set moves up as the 2 couples are galloping down B2 (16) All swing partner
Canberra Trams 5 couple longways (all proper) 5x32 bar jig or reel by Peter Foster 9 May 2011 (based on Melbourne Trams by Jane Bullock) A1 (8) Couple 1 cross right hand and cast 2 places, couples 2 and 3 move up (couple 1 finish in third place on the wrong side) (8) Take hands on the side and advance and retire (don't go too far back!). Lead couple let go of hands, other couples retain hands on the side (this is making tram lines on the side) A2 (8) Man 1 dance up between couples 2 and 3, woman 1 dance down between couples 4 and 5. Cast right, around the end person only. Support couples then make tram lines across the set, ie they drop hands with that person, turn to face that person, and take their partner's inside hand (8) Man 1, woman 1 dance through the tramlines and cast left, finishing in third place on their own sides Now repeat this in the other direction: B1 (8) Support couples make tramlines on the side. Man 1 dance down between couples 4 and 5, woman 1 dance up between couples 2 and 3. Cast right, around the end person. Support couples then make tram lines across the set (8) Man 1, woman 1 dance through the tramlines and cast left, finishing in third place on the wrong sides B2 (8) Middle couple (the original couple 1) cross and cast to the bottom, couples 4 and 5 move up (8) Everyone advance and retire
Cheltenham Flyer Longways for 3 couples 32 bar jig Easy A1 (16) Ladies weave (lady 1, followed by ladies 2 and 3, weave behind 1st man, in front of 2nd man, behind 3rd man and up to place) A2 (16) Men weave (men weave around the ladies) B1 (16) Tops galop down and back, finishing at the bottom of the set (don't come all the way back!) B2 (16) All galop down and back
Country Bumpkin 4 Couple Longways 32 bar jig or reel Easy A1 (8) Man 1 and lady 2 set to each other twice, man advancing as he sets (8) Man 1 swing lady 3 and return to place A2 (8) Woman 1 and man 2 set to each other twice, woman advancing as she sets (8) Woman 1 swing man 3 and return to place B1 (16) Couple 1 lead down the middle, separate and come back to the top behind their own lines B2 (8) Couples 1 & 2, couples 3 & 4 circle left only (not back to the right!) (8) Couple 1 cast to the bottom, everyone else moves up
Digger’s Jig by Mark Dabbs Longways Set for 4,5 or 6 couples 32 bar jig A1 (8) Lines forward and back (8) Change places with partner passing right shoulder A2 (8) Lines forward and back (4) Go forward again, join right hand with partner, left hand with next (4) Set once, then raise hands in air to form arches (do not let go!) B1 (16) Top lady lead set (with hands loosely joined) down centre of set under arches, let go and cast up outside of set on own side B2 (16) Top couple only swing down centre of set to bottom The arches in B1 represent a trench. Note that after going through these arches, you cast off on your own original side. The dancers may need to be reminded what side they started on
Downsides 4 Couple Longways 32 bar jig or reel Easy By Peter Foster (adapted from Upsides) A1 (16) Top couple galop down the middle and back A2 (16) Couples 1 & 2, couples 3 & 4 do right hand stars and left hand stars B1 (16) Couples 2 & 3 do right hand stars and left hand stars while the other couples swing B2 (16) Top couple lead a single cast, make an arch at the bottom, everyone else come through the arch (progression) The cast off needs to be fairly efficient, as the dance restarts with the new couple charging down the middle and collecting anyone who is still coming through the arch The stars and swing sequence is from Upsides
Empire Reel by Colin Towns Longways for 5 couples 32 bar reel A1 (8) Top couple individually galop down the outside to the bottom WHILE bottom couple take hands and galop up to the top (8) Couple now at the top individually galop down the outside to the bottom WHILE couple at the bottom take hands and galop up to the top. All are now back where they started A2 (16) Middle 3 couples right hand star and left hand star B1 (16) Top 2 couples and bottom 2 couples circle left and right WHILE the middle couple do whatever they want (but finish back in place!) B2 (16) Top couple weave to the bottom (crossing between couple 2, outside couple 3, between couple 4, outside couple 5). They meet at the bottom and take hands, ready to galop up
Falling Masonry by John Kirkpatrick 5 Couple Longways (but see note) 32 bar jig or reel Easy A1 (8) Advance and retire (8) Pass through but do NOT turn around (stay facing out) A2 (8) Retire and advance (8) Pass through backwards (no peeking!) B1 (4) Couple at the top galop to the bottom, everyone else move up (4) Couple at the top galop to the bottom, everyone else move up (4) Couple at the top galop to the bottom, everyone else move up (4) Couple at the top galop to the bottom, everyone else move up B2 (4) Couple at the top galop to the bottom, everyone else move up (4) Couple at the top galop to the bottom, everyone else move up (8) All swing partner In B1/B2, each couple in turn galops to the bottom. Then the original top couple go down one more time, which is the progression. Make sure the next couple goes down at the right time, even if the previous couple haven't quite reached the bottom yet. When doing this dance for non dancers (at weddings, parties etc) I don't insist on 5 couples. Instead, I change B1/B2 to simply continue the galoping down the middle until the music runs out.
The Fire Hose Reel Longways for 5 or so couples Jig or reel, any length (the dance is not very structured) Easy (8) Advance and retire (8) Advance again and take hands: take partner with man's right and woman's left. Then men reach their left hand over the joined hands and take the free hand of the next woman. Check: everyone is holding 2 people, only the men have their arms crossed. Top woman and bottom man have a free hand Now, no-one is to let go hands for a long time: (??) All raise their joined hands to make a tunnel. The top woman goes through, dragging everyone with her. When she gets to the bottom she turns right and goes clockwise around the others. The bottom man needs to *keep still* - do not move, do not turn around, do not do anything: as the others continue moving clockwise they will wind up around the bottom man until everyone is in a solid clump. Then... Bottom man (in the middle of the mess, can't move and probably can hardly even breathe) needs to unwind the set. To do this, he should crouch down and make his way through to the outside. When he gets to the outside he turns left and leads everyone around anticlockwise into a circle (a reminder, no-one is to let go hands during any of the winding/unwinding moves) From the circle, everyone swing partner and reform into a longways set with different couples at top and bottom. This is a fun dance with the right crowd. Sets tend to wind/unwind at their own pace, so I don't usually try to keep the sets together.
Five Around Three By Peter Foster 3 June 2013 Longways for 4 couples 32 bar jig or reel Easy-Medium A1 (16) Man 1 cast, women follow (top man lead the women around the other 3 men) A2 (16) Woman 1 cast, men follow (top woman lead the men around the other three women) B1 (16) Right hand stars, left hand stars at top and bottom B2 (16) Top couple swing to the bottom while the other couples move up After getting home in A1, the top couple need to immediately turn around to lead back the other way. This dance is amusing to watch, as dancers go the wrong way with the wrong people at the wrong time
Galopede Longways for up to 8 couples 32 bar jig or reel Easy (very easy) A1 (8) Advance and retire (8) Pass through A2 (8) Advance and retire (8) Pass through B1 (16) Swing partner B2 (16) Top couple swing to the bottom, everyone else move up
Haymakers Jig Longways for 3 (or 4) couples 32 bar jig or reel Easy Top man and bottom woman are first corners Top woman and bottom man are second corners A1 (8) First corners right hand turn (8) Second corners repeat A2 (8) First corners do si do (8) Second corners repeat B1 (8) First corners honour (8) Second corners repeat B2 (16) Just the top couple do a single cast to the bottom, everyone else move up (progression), everyone swing partner An honour is a really fancy bow or curtsy. I like to tell people that the second corners must do a fancier honour than the first corners. There are many, many, many versions of this dance. This particular one is probably the shortest and simplest. I suggest no more than 4 couples in a set, otherwise there is too much standing around doing nothing.
The Long and Winding Road Peter Foster 5 July 2014 Longways for 4 or 5 couples. Level: easy Start by taking hands along the side, bottom couple also take hands across the bottom to make a horseshoe. These hands are held for most of the dance A1 (16) Woman 1 lead a thread the needle (woman 1 leads everyone through an arch made by the top 2 men) A2 (16) Man 1 lead a thread the needle (through an arch made by the top 2 women) B1 (16) Couple 1 lead down through an arch made by the bottom couple and cast up to place (so man 1 and woman 1 both thread the needle through the bottom couple) B2 (16) Couple 1 swing down to the bottom, everyone else move up A very easy dance. As you are holding hands for most of the dance it is almost impossible to go the wrong way
Mount Ainslie Reel By Peter Foster 2 November 2013 Longways for 3 couples Level: Intermediate Begin with everyone facing up, holding inside hand with partner A1 (8) Walk forward for 4 steps, then back for 4 (8) Dosido partner A2 (16) Reels of 3 on the sides, men start right shoulder, women start left shoulder (so the 1s start by going through the middle) B1 (16) Progressive grand chain: 1s face across, others face up; 1s pass by right hand, then give left to 2s, etc, the 2s and 3s joining in as the 1s reach them. Keep going until everyone is back where they started B2 (16) 1s cross right hand and cast to the bottom as the other couples move up. Then all swing partner, finish facing up with the woman in the right The reel of three into progressive grand chain is from Gipsy Hill Jig. Although in that dance the reels are specified as right shoulder, which does not flow as smoothly
Opera Reel Longways for 6 couples 32 bar reel Level: Easy-Medium A1 (8) Lines go forward and back (8) Top couple take 2 hands and galop (slip step) to the bottom as the others move up A2 (8) Lines go forward and back (8) Couple that is now at the top, galop to the bottom (others do NOT move up this time) B1 (16) 2 couples at the top do a right hand star and left hand star Next 2 couples do a circle left and circle right 2 couples at the bottom do rights and lefts B2 (8) Couple at the bottom galop back to the top (8) All swing partner An easier B1 is to have the bottom couples also do stars (instead of rights and lefts)
OXO Reel 6 couple longways 32 bar jig or reel Easy A1 (8) Advance and retire (8) Turn partner right hand A2 (8) Turn partner left hand (8) Advance and retire B1 (16) OXO: top 2 couples circle left and right next 2 couples star right and left bottom 2 couples circle left and right B2 (16) Top couple swing to the bottom, everyone else move up Designed for 6 couples but more are easily accommodated: either add more stars/circles (I've done OXOXO) or have more than 2 couples in the various stars/circles.
Snowball Jig 5 couple longways 48 bar jig or reel Easy A1 (16) Top couple right hand turn, then left hand turn A2 (16) Top 2 couples, star right and left B1 (16) Men 1,2,3 and women 1,2,3 do arches: Hold hands on the sides, 2 and 3 raise hands to make arches, man/woman 1 goes under the arch and goes around the centre person, finishing in original place (centre person needs to turn under their own arm to avoid breaking anything). Then man/woman 3 goes under an arch made by 1 and 2. (Note that this all takes place on the sides, you are not dancing with your partner in this figure) B2 (16) Top 4 couples advance and retire twice (couple 5 need to fight the temptation to join in!) C1 (16) Everyone circle left, once around C2 (16) Top couple lead a cast off, make an arch at the bottom, everyone else come through the arch (progression) It takes more than 16 beats to complete the cast off, but that's all right as the dance can still restart on time with the new top couple
Speed the Plough 4 couple longways 32 bar hornpipes - step hop throughout Easy (except for the step hop) A1 (8) Top couple take inside hands and advance and retire to woman 2 (can do a quick circle if desired) (8) Top couple repeat with man 2 A2 (16) Top couple down the middle and back (they can go a long way, it's 8 step hops down, then 8 back) B1 (16) Top couple lead a single cast, make an arch at the bottom, everyone else come through the arch (progression). All face across B2 (16) Plough the field: pass through and keep going. After 8 step hops, turn around and come back. Encourage the dancers to do "free form" ploughing in random directions
Tea Break Waltz Peter Foster - 11 November 2013 Waltz Sicilian circle (or in a column) Music: 32 bar waltzes Level: Medium A1 (4) Ladies chain along the set (4) Partner dosido A2 (4) Circle right 3/4 around, take neighbour in ballroom hold (4) Waltz across the set (go halfway around the other couple) B1 (2) Forward 2 steps, take 2 hands with partner (2) Men take partner back with them (women forward, men backward), take ballroom hold and aim at the other couple (4) Waltz partner across the set (go halfway around the other couple) B2 (8) Ladies chain across the set (8) Left hand star, finish facing a new couple There are 2 ladies chains, one along the set, the other across the set In A2, after the circle right, ooze into your neighbours arms and continue in the same direction, this time with a waltz In B1, men pull their neighbour back and slightly around so that you can take a ballroom hold, aimed across the set This dance was written during the tea break at the Monday night dance classes.
Tea Break Reel Peter Foster - 26 May 2014 Longways for 3 couples 32 bar reel Level: Medium A1 (16) Couple 1 face down, right hand in right. Lead down the middle, then cross over (woman in front of man) and come up the outside of the set, finish at the top but on the wrong sides A2 (16) Second couple swing while the other couples dance rights and lefts (starting right hand to partner). Finish with couple 1 facing down, others facing up for... B1 (16) Dip and dive (start with 1s going under 2s arch) B2 (16) Couple 1 (only) continue to dip and dive to the bottom, all swing partner (finish on your own side) In B2, you may prefer 1s lead a cast off (others follow), 1s make an arch and the others come through to progressed places. Or 1s cast to the bottom, others move up and all swing partner Another dance written during the tea break at the Monday night dance classes. This dance was adapted from Bideford Bridge
Thady You Gander 4 couple longways 40 bar jig (suggest playing a 32 bar tune AAABB) Easy A1 (16) Top couple take right hand in right and face down. Lead down to the bottom, cross over (woman in front of the man), come to the top behind the lines. Finish at the top on the wrong sides A2 (16) Top woman lead the 3 men around the women's line A3 (16) Top man lead the 3 women around the men's line B1/ (32) Strip the willow: top couple turn once by the right B2 arm, turn man/woman 2 by the left, meet in the middle and turn right etc until you get to the bottom. Finish on your own sides 40 bars is an unusual length. Simplest is to take a 32 bar tune and add an extra A or B. I suggest AAABB, because then if you forget to play the extra A you still have time to play an extra B.
Trip to Gunsburg Longways for 4 couples (reverse progression) 32 bar reel Peter Foster - 26 May 2016 Level: Medium A1 (16) Top 2 couples and bottom 2 couples, right hand star and left hand star A2 (16) Woman 1, followed by women 2, 3 and 4, dance anticlockwise around the men's line. Except that woman 4 takes a shortcut, passing between the top 2 men to finish at the top of the women's line B1 (16) Men go around the women's line, with man 4 taking the shortcut B2 (16) All swing partner Note that it is a reverse progression, with the bottom couple finishing at the top Adapted from the Scottish country dance Trip to Gatlinburg
Virginia Reel Longways for 6 or 7 (or possibly 8) couples 32 bar reel, 32 bar jig, 16 bar march Easy (reel) A1 (8) Advance and retire (8) Turn partner right hand A2 (8) Turn partner left hand (8) Turn partner both hands B1 (8) Do si do partner right shoulder (8) Do si do partner left shoulder B2 (16) Top couple galop down the middle and back (jig) C/D(64) Strip the willow: top couple turn by the right arm, turn man/woman 2 by the left, meet in the middle and turn right etc until they get to the bottom. Then swing back to the top and keep swinging until... (march) E1/2 (32) Top couple lead a single cast, make an arch at the bottom, everyone else come through the arch (progression) Some bands play reels throughout and leave it to the dancers to make it fit. I like to have distinct tunes for the various parts of the dance.
Waves of Tory 5 couple longways 48 bar reel Medium A1 (8) Advance and retire (8) Pass through A2 (8) Advance and retire (8) Pass through B1 (16) Swing partner B2 (16) Top couple lead a single cast, make an arch at the bottom, everyone else come through the arch (progression) C1/C2 (32) The waves: couple that is now at the top turn around and go under an arch made by the next couple, go over the next couple, under the next etc. As each couple gets to the top they turn around and go under. Similarly, as each couple gets to the bottom they turn around and go under. Continue until the couple that started the waves get back to the top. The others continue until they too get back to where they started the waves. Note that the progression happens before the waves: the original top couple is at the bottom when the waves start, so when the waves finish that couple will be at the bottom In the waves, when turning around I suggest doing a california twirl (swap sides, man turning the woman under their joined hands). That way there is no need to let go hands and you always have man on the left, woman on the right. There is only just enough time to do the waves, so you can't dawdle. In the cast off, remind the top couple not to go too far, otherwise the cast off will take too long and dancers will struggle to finish in time. Note that there is no need to wait until the cast off is completed before starting the waves: the first couple through the arch can start the waves as soon as they get to the top. The dance can be made a bit more forgiving by moving the swing to the end. That gives people much more time for the waves, and those sets that finish quickly just get a longer swing.
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Last modified 29 June 2008