Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Courage Reels

This 6-bar Figure is sometimes called, Dance to each Corner and Set; while this does describe the movements of the Dancing couple for the first 4 bars, it does not cover bars 5-6 in which they Dance back to the Centre, Pass, Giving right shoulder, and Finish Facing the next Corner position anticlockwise.

The Scottish Country Dancing Courage Reel Figure occurs in Quick tempo dances and Strathspeys, using the Travelling step and Setting step appropriate to the Tempo.

When performed by 1st, 2nd and 3rd couples after a Progression which has Finished with 2nd Couple in 1st Place and 1st Couple right shoulder to right shoulder Facing their First corners, it consists of:

Bars 1-2
Second corners Set Facing each other on the Second corners' Diagonal While 1st Couple Dance Out to their First corners' positions (Giving right shoulder to the approaching First corners) and Finish Facing each other along the First corners' Diagonal While the First corners Dance In towards each other, Pass Giving right shoulder and immediately Turn on the spot slightly more than one quarter to Finish Facing the Second corners in their Starting Places;


Bars 3-4
these movements are repeated from the new Positions, i.e., the 1st Couple (in First corners' positions) Set Facing each other on the First corners' Diagonal While the First corners Dance Out to the Second corners' positions (Giving right shoulder to the approaching Second corners) and Finish Facing each other along the Second corners' Diagonal While the Second corners Dance In towards each other, Pass Giving right shoulder and immediately Turn on the spot slightly more than one quarter to Finish Facing the 1st Couple in the First corners' positions;

Bars 5-6
these movements are again repeated from the new Positions, i.e., the First corners (in Second corners' positions) Set Facing each other on the Second corners' Diagonal While the Second corners Dance Out to the First corners' positions (Giving right shoulder to the approaching 1st Couple) and Finish Facing each other along the First corners' Diagonal While the 1st Couple Dance In towards each other, Pass Giving right shoulder and immediately Turn on the spot slightly more than one quarter to Finish Facing the First corners in the Second corners' positions.

In summary, the 6-bar Figure starts with the Dancing couple each Facing one of their Corners and Finishes with them each Facing the same Corner (but not the same Corner position) after all the Corners have moved one Place anticlockwise around the 3-couple Longwise set; it is most commonly repeated three more times so that all four Corners Finish in their Starting Places; when repeated only once, each Corner Finishes Diagonally Opposite his/her Starting Place.

Where Courage Reel occurs in many dances (for example, Burnieboozle), the preceding Figure naturally Finishes with the Dancing couple Giving right shoulder as they each Face a Corner ready to Start this 6-bar Figure, i.e., apart from the overall clockwise rotation, they Start this Figure (as shown by the dancer symbols in Diagram 88) in the same Position as they will Finish it (as shown by the arrow heads in Diagram 90). However, in the eponymous dance, Courage Reel, and also in the Strathspey, Foxhill Court, the preceding Figure is Espagnole and so to Start they Give left shoulder to each other before Dancing Out to their Corners' Position.


For example, here are some Scottish Country Dances in which the term, Courage Reels, is used in either the MiniCrib or the MaxiCrib Dance instructions or both -
Alder Burn
Clootie Well
Courage Reel
Gothenburg's Welcome
Ian And Joan McKenzie's Strathspey
Jamie's Jig (Buckle)
Little Strathspey
Splat The Tattie
Spring In Helensburgh

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Courage Reels

Courage Reels Video Clip

Links To Pages Related To 'Courage Reels'

Complex Figures

Additional search terms: Dance to Each Corner and Set (MiniCrib).

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