Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Balance (In Line)

The Balance in line Figure is the most generalized form of Balancing in Scottish Country Dancing. Diagram 15 shows a vertical elevation for four dancers, primarily to show hand Positions but also indicating that the two Ladies, who are further away, are Facing the viewer and that the two Men have their backs to the viewer.

Diagram 50 shows a plan view of the same dancers performing the Figure on the First corners' Diagonal; the view shown in Diagram 15 is as seen from the lower left corner of Diagram 50 but excluding the Second corners who are not involved in the Figure.

Diagram 50 emphasizes the importance of dancing Pas-de-basque On the spot; any sideways movement would be ugly. It is polite to acknowledge the adjacent dancers while Setting, the Middle dancer making Eye contact with the dancer to the right during the first bar of Pas-de-basque and with the dancer to the left during the second.

It is convenient to define the axis of the Figure as the line joining the joined hands; the dancers Face this imaginary line while Setting. Note that, in the example of Diagram 50, this axis is not exactly the same as the First corners' Diagonal since the Corners merely rotate slightly to Face appropriately, without moving from their Standing places.

When the Figure for 4 dancers occurs on the Centre line of The set, as in The Wild Geese, the axis coincides with the Centre line since in this case none of the dancers is in an Original Place. When the Figure occurs around a Circular set, as in Rothesay Rant and Clutha, the axis is an arc of the circle joining the dancers Original Places rather than a straight line.

The Figure cannot be performed using the Strathspey setting step because this would involve sideways movement with alternate dancers going in opposite directions (though it would work if alternate dancers were to start with the left foot).

Innovative use of the Highland schottische setting step in Monadh Liath does allow it to be used in that Strathspey; the dancers Take hands on the odd bars of each step (Danced On the spot) but release the Hold during the even bars so that they can pass each other, Face to Face. If the example in Diagram 15 is treated as the beginning of the Figure, by the end of the second bar, the Middle dancers will have Exchanged places with their adjacent End dancers, while still Facing as before; at the end of the fourth bar, all are back as at the beginning.

For example, here are some Scottish Country Dances in which the term, Balance in line, is used in either the MiniCrib or the MaxiCrib Dance instructions or both -
Border Lassies
Flock Of Geese
Inimitable Derek
Lindisfarne Reel
MacFarlane's Geese
Miss Elizabeth Johnson
Swilcan
Toast To St Andrews
Wild Geese


Links To Pages Related To 'Setting'

Figures

Back to the top of this Scottish Country Dancing 'Balance (In Line)' page

To
Top