Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Mary MacNiven's Sash Pin

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

Mary MacNiven's Sash Pin
Reuben Freemantle  www.scottish-country-dancing-dictionary.com
Reel   8 x 40 bars   3 Couple Repeat   4 Couple Set   Lengthwise Set

  1-2   1s cast;

  3-6   1L up, 1M down, half figures of 8 across;

  7-8   1s turn by the left to finish side-by-side, facing first corners;

  9-16 sash pin reel with first corners:

  9-10 1s dance one quarter of a diagonal reel of 4 with first corners WHILE second corners set facing each other;

11-12 1s chase across the set to partner's second corner's position WHILE first corners complete the path of the half diagonal reel of 4 (but with no dancer approaching) WHILE second corners advance to take right hands;

13-14 1s chase on the sides to partner's first corner's position WHILE first corners chase across the set to the second corners' positions WHILE second corners turn halfway by the right to finish each facing his/her own corner position;

15-16 1s advance and turn ¼ by the left to finish facing second corners' positions WHILE first corners chase on the sides and second corners dance out to finish with the corners all in their original positions, facing diagonally in;

17-24 1s repeat the sash pin reel with second corners dancing as first corners, first corners as second corners, 1s finishing facing partner's first corner's position;

25-32 1s repeat the sash pin reel with partner's first corners, 1s finishing facing partner's second corner's position;

33-38 1s repeat ¾ of the sash pin reel with partner's second corners;

39-40 corners complete the sash pin reel normally, finishing facing partners WHILE 1s cross by the right to 2nd place on own sides, finishing facing out (except on the final repeat when they face in).

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


Dance Notes

This dance is intended to flow seamlessly from one figure to the next as far as possible so that, at the end of every phrase, the dancers are facing in the correct direction for the beginning of the next phrase.

  1-2   2s step up;

  9-40 All three couples are moving continuously in these sash pin reels, never stopping. As an aide-mémoire, each corner reaches and passes through his/her original corner position at the end of each 8-bar phrase, stopping only at the end of bar 40.

  9-16 The sash pin reel with first corners is an 8-bar combination of a half reel of 4 on the first corners' diagonal with a chase clockwise halfway around the corners' square; 1s are followed by partner's first corner, 2 bars behind; second corners dance in to the centre to meet and turn so that 1s and first corners can chase through second corners' positions, unimpeded. Timing is of the essence: 2 bars for each quarter of the diagonal reel of 4 and for each side of the corners' square in the chase; second corners have a quite sedate movement and so must be particularly careful not to get ahead of the music. The chase should follow the rectilinear shape of the corners' square, with a sharp change of direction at the halfway corner, rather than a sloppy oval; this helps with timing as well being more satisfying to the dancers and any spectator.

17-24 The sash pin reel with second corners is an 8-bar combination of a half reel of 4 on the second corners' diagonal with a chase clockwise halfway around the corners' square; first corners dance in to the centre to meet and turn so that 1s and second corners can chase through first corners' positions, unimpeded.

25-32 This sash pin reel is exactly as in bars 9-16 but starting with 1s facing partner's first corners.

33-40 This sash pin reel is as in bars 17-24 but starting with 1s facing partner's second corners. Corners finish facing in, 1s cross by the right to finish in 2nd place on own sides, facing out (except on the final repeat when they pull right shoulders back to face in).

    -40 On the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th repeats, 1s finish in 2nd place, facing out, ready to dance as 1st couple again.
On the 2nd, 4th and 6th repeats, 1s also finish in 2nd place, facing out, ready to cast to 4th place of the full set in bars 1-2 of the next repeat WHILE the new 3s step up.
On the last repeat, 1s finish in 2nd place of the active set (3rd place of the full set), facing in.


Dance Notes

Laurence's alternative description of Mary MacNiven's Sash Pin from the dancer's perspective, starting from the first sash pin reel, bar 9.
The dancing couple (1s) individually dance ¼ of a diagonal reel of 4 with their first corners, then chase clockwise 2 places and turn by the left ¼ in the centre of the dance to finish facing their second corners.
The dancing couple then individually dance ¼ of a diagonal reel of 4 with their second corners, then chase clockwise 2 places and turn by the left ¼ in the centre of the dance to finish facing their third corners.
The dancing couple then individually dance ¼ of a diagonal reel of 4 with their third corners, then chase clockwise 2 places and turn by the left ¼ in the centre of the dance to finish facing their fourth corners.
The dancing couple then individually dance ¼ of a diagonal reel of 4 with their fourth corners, then chase clockwise 2 places and cross by the right to 2nd place on own sides to finish facing out ready for the repeat.
WHILE
The first corners perform a half diagonal reel of four on the first corners diagonal line then chase clockwise 2 places to finish in original places.
The first corners then set to each other, then turn by the right to finish in original places.
The first corners then perform a half diagonal reel of four on the first corners diagonal line then chase clockwise 2 places to finish in original places.
The first corners then set to each other, then turn by the right to finish in original places.
WHILE
The second corners set to each other, then turn by the right to finish in original places.
The second corners then perform a half diagonal reel of four on the second corners diagonal line then chase clockwise 2 places to finish in original places.
The second corners then set to each other, then turn by the right to finish in original places.
The second corners then perform a half diagonal reel of four on the second corners diagonal line then chase clockwise 2 places to finish in original places.

(Dance Notes by the deviser, Reuben Freemantle)


Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams


Dance Information

Mary MacNiven was the singer for whom John Bannerman wrote the Gaelic song Mairi Bhàn (literally, Fair Mary, in English but usually known as Mairi's Wedding after the translation by Sir Hugh Roberton); it is sung to the traditional tune, Lewis Bridal Song. This dance is so-named because it is a derivative of James B. Cosh's dance, Mairi's Wedding, on the fairly safe assumption that Mary would have worn a sash at her eventual wedding to John Campbell.
Also see the dance John Campbell's Kilt Pin by Reuben Freemantle.

Dance Information by the deviser, Reuben Freemantle.
Additional search terms: MacNivens, McNiven.

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