Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Stirling Castle (Laidlaw)

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

STIRLING CASTLE (R4x32) Circle Dance Ruary Laidlaw Clapyerhands
Circle for up to 8 couples, Men on inside, Ladies outside, all facing partners

1- 8 All clap 2 bars (1-2-3-4), all clap partner's hand (2 bars), all turn on spot (2 bars), all clap partner's hand (2 bars)
9-16 All stamp foot 2 bars (1-2-3-4), Men dance RSh round partner (4 bars), all stamp foot (2 bars)
17-24 Repeat bars 9-16, Ladies dancing RSh round partners. End with nearer hands joined with partner facing anticlockwise
25-32 1s make arch and other couples dance under and round circle to places

(MINICRIB, Dance Crib compiled by Charles Upton, Deeside Caledonian Society, and his successors)


Stirling Castle
A 4 x 32 bar Reel, for up to eight couples standing in a double circle partner facing partner. It helps to make the circle fairly wide. This will stop crowding when doing bars 17-24.

1 - 8 All couples clap their own hands high for two bars: 1, 2, 3 and 4.
They then clap hands with their partners for two bars: 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Next each person turns round on the spot for two bars: 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Last they clap hands with their partners for two bars: 1, 2, 3 and 4.
9-16 All couples in the circle stamp one foot for two bars: 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Then the inside partners skip round their partners passing right (not essential, any shoulder will do initially) shoulders for 8 steps back to place.
All stamp one foot for two bars: 1, 2, 3,and 4.
17-24 All couples in the circle clap hands high for two bars: 1,2, 3 and 4.
Outside partners skip round their partners passing right (not essential) shoulders for 8 steps back to place.
NB This is where it is best to have a nice wide circle to stop crowding as the outside partners dance in.
All couples in the circle clap hands high for two bars: 1, 2, 3 and 4.
All couples finish in original places facing anti-clockwise (to the teacher's right) with inside hands joined, except for the top couple (the couple nearest the teacher). They make the Stirling Castle Gate by standing still so that the other couples can dance between them. If they like, they can hold their arms up high to make an arch over the heads of the other children as they pass between them. It is better if they don't try to touch hands as it makes the space that the other children are dancing through too cramped.
25-32 All couples then march or skip round in a circle passing under the gate as they do so for 12 steps and use 13, 14, 15 and 16 to turn into original places by marking time: 1, 2, 3 and 4, ready to start again from the same place.
Repeat the whole dance another three times.

(Dance Crib compiled by the deviser, Ruary Laidlaw)


Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams


Dance Information

Also see the dance Stirling Castle (Dingley) by Keith W Dingley.

The shape of the set represents the castle itself.
Bars 1 to 16 show the garrison going about their duties
Bars 17 to 24 demonstrate besiegers trying to find a way into the castle.
Bars 25 to 32 shows that the only way in is through the main gate if the defenders permit it.

Stirling Castle is one of the largest and most important castles, both historically and architecturally, in Scotland.

Stirling Castle Image
Stirling Castle


Dance Information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence.
Text from this original Stirling Castle article on Wikipedia.
Image Copyright Finlay McWalter.

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