Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Figures Of Eight On The Sides

In Figures of eight on the sides two dancers each perform a separate Figure of eight, one on each Side of The set. The paths may be symmetrical in some way or parallel; to make it clear which form is intended, the deviser or teacher will usually specify which Standing dancers are involved and specify Giving right (or left) shoulders to start.

In the most common, mirror, form (see Diagram 39), the Dancing couple, starting in 1st Place, Take Nearer hands and Lead down between the next Couple, Cast down Below the Couple in 3rd Place, Take Nearer hands as they meet, Lead up between that Couple and Cast up to their Starting Positions.

In the parallel form, the Dancing lady (or Man) begins by Casting While her/his Partner begins by dancing Down in front of the dancer one Place Below on the same Side; each follows a path exactly parallel to her/his Partner and there is no opportunity to Take hands. In the better-devised dances, the dancer (the Lady in Diagram 40) who starts by Casting will naturally be Facing Out at the end of the previous Figure and will need to be Facing Out for the following Figure, as in bars 9-16 of the Scottish Country Dance The Meeting of the Waters.

For example, here are some Scottish Country Dances in which the term, Figures of eight on the sides, is used in either the MiniCrib or the MaxiCrib Dance instructions or both -
Acadian Jig
Autumn Leaves (Lataille)
Cousin Jim
Dagmar's Fancy
Greenwich Hill
Inverugie Castle (Drewry)
Kiss In Time
Miller Of Sessnie
Out Of The Blue
Shakin' The Bottle

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