The Countess of Dunmore’s Reel
RSCDS Book 49
32-bar reel for three couples in a four-couple longwise set
1 – 6 1st couple set, dance down between 2nd and 3rd couples and cast up to second place. 2nd couple step up on bars 3–4.
7 – 8 1st couple set advancing, passing by the left to face first corners.
9 – 16 1st couple turn first corners with the right hand, pass partner by the right, turn second corners with the right hand and, passing partner by the right, face out in second place on own sides. Corners dance for four bars.
17 – 24 2nd, 1st and 3rd couples dance a chain progression for three couples, all finishing facing clockwise.
25 – 28 3rd, 1st and 2nd couples dance clockwise halfway round the set.
29 – 32 2nd, 1st and 3rd couples set and, giving right hands, cross to own sides.
Repeat, having passed a couple.
Devised by Deirdre MacCuish Bark, Toronto Branch.
In the mid 19th century, the Earl of Dunmore owned the whole of the Island of Harris. After the passing of the 1872 Education (Scotland) Act, Catherine, Countess Dowager of Dunmore, gave lands in favour of the School Board of the Parish of Harris for the building of schools. These included Finsbay School, which was attended by members of the deviser’s family.
Video: The Glenora Ferry
The Glenora Ferry
An Itch to Dance, A Collection of Scottish Country Dances by Terry Glasspool
A 40 bar jig for 3 couples
by Terry Glasspool
1 – 8 First couple set and cast then dance half rights and lefts below with the third couple.
9 – 16 Second couple set and cast then dance half rights and lefts below with the first couple.
► The order is now 3 1 2, with third and second couples crossed over.
17 – 24 First couple dance down the middle and up, finishing in second place in the center of the dance, facing up in promenade hold.
On bar 24, third and second couples step in to the middle of the dance to take promenade hold with partner, facing down.
25 – 32 Third, first, and second couples dance a circulating allemande:
First couple dances the center couple’s part of a “normal” three couple allemande to end in second place on own side
while third and second couples change places by dancing the lead and trailing couple’s parts of an “upside down” three couple allemande:
Third and second couples, after dancing out to their own right, dance down the men’s side of the dance, across the bottom, and up the women’s side.
► The order is now 2 1 3, with second and third couples crossed over.
33 – 36 First couple dance a half figure of eight up through the second couple, while second couple set and cross giving right hands in passing.
37 – 40 First couple dance a half figure of eight down through the third couple, while third couple set and cross giving right hands in passing.
Repeat, having passed a couple.
This dance is dedicated to Sheila Keller and the Picton, Ontario, Scottish Country Dancers for their patience and warm welcome.
While driving from Kingston to Picton on a balmy summer evening, Kay “Pretty Face” Munn took us by way of the Glenora ferry. Halfway to to the Island of Prince Edward County she turned to me and said, “You should write a dance about this ferry.” My immediate response was, “The wind is so pleasant the dance will need a down the middle and up.”
The figures of the final dance represent a trip across the Bay of Quinte. First, the cars arrive at the dock and drive on to the open ferry deck. (There are two ferries, one on each side of the bay.) During the voyage you can leave your car and stand on the deck with the wind in your hair while you watch the ferries pass each other in mid-channel. Finally, the ferries unload on the opposite shore.
Music: Any good jig, not too fast.
For example: “The Golden Pheasant” on Scottish Dances Vol. 4 by Ian Holmes and his Scottish Dance Band with Ian Powrie, Highlander Music, HRMCD504.
Notes: To work, the circulating allemande requires only that the dancers trust their body to dance a three couple allemande correctly. This variation of the allemande does, however, enforce the initial step to the right and looks best when the men advance while turning the women under so that all three couples are lined up in the middle and can retire together.
To introduce the circulating allemande I suggest having the top three couples of a set step in to walk a normal three couple allemande. Then have all three couples cross over to partners side and walk an upside down allemande. Finally, have only the middle couple cross back to their own side and, after the couples step in and have a moment to get their bearings, walk the circulating allemande by telling them to “do what you just did.”