Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Grand March

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

The Grand March
Anon
March   n x 8 bars   n Couple Repeat   n Couple Set

    -0   All couples (Ls on partner's right) form a queue led by the host and hostess or the MC or a piper or any or all of these;

  1-4   The leading couples wait WHILE couples continue to join the queue;

  5-     Starting with the right foot, all march around the room as necessary and up the centre WHILE couples continue to join the queue;
as directed by the MC, couples march to the left and right alternately and proceed around the sides of the room WHILE couples continue to join the queue;
on meeting at the bottom of the room, alternate couples join up and march up the centre as foursomes;
as directed by the MC, foursomes march to the left and right alternately and proceed around the sides of the room;
on meeting at the bottom of the room, alternate foursomes join up and march up the centre as eightsomes;
when all eightsomes are made up, they form sets for the first dance.

(MAXICRIB, Scottish country dancing instructions compiled by Reuben Freemantle)


Dance Notes

This is not a Scottish Country Dance as such but it is a traditional and elegant way to start a Ball. It is most commonly followed by a square set dance such as The Buchan Eightsome Reel but any 4-couple dance is appropriate.
The MC must take charge, acting like a benign shepherd to make sure that:
all couples have joined the queue before the leading couples join up as foursomes;
all foursomes are marching up before the leading foursomes join up as eightsomes; and
all eightsomes are made up before the music stops.
The queue is best formed in a foyer with the couples entering the hall from it.
It is a common practice for spectators (especially infirm former dancers and a parent with a bairn) to march with a couple and to walk off the floor before the first dance starts.
If the numbers leave three or fewer couples in the last group and if the first dance requires a square set or a 4-couple repeat in a 4-couple set, those couples must walk off; if the dance is a 3-couple repeat in a 4-couple set, the MC can use his/her initiative to suggest 5- or 3-couple sets to suit the numbers.

  5-     If led by a piper with military rather than dancing training, s/he will probably start with the left foot and so all should march in step with him/her. No Scottish Country Dancer should have the slightest difficulty in changing to the correct foot if need be; simply dance the right foot step of skip change in place of the next, incorrect, right foot step of the march.


Dance Instruction Videos

The Grand March - YouTube Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

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