Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Grand Chain Halfway

Sometimes called 'half grand chain', Grand chain halfway is exactly half of the full Grand chain.

In a Square set, the dancers Finish opposite the Place in which they started; in a Longwise, Active set of 4 Couples, the dancers Finish diagonally opposite. Normally, 2 bars are allowed per dancer passed, i.e., 8 bars in all, though sometimes, especially in Strathspeys, only one per dancer, i.e., 4 in all.

In all Scottish Country Dancing Strathspeys, and in any Quick tempo dance where 2 bars are allowed per dancer passed, Taking hands should be quite graceful; where only 1 bar is allowed as, for example, in bars 1-4, 17-20, 65-68 and 81-84 of Nottingham Lace, some elegance may have to be forgone in favour of accurate Phrasing.

Diagram 29 shows an example from bars 21-24 of The Garry Strathspey; the dancers start the Figure in the order 1 4 3 2 on Opposite Sides and Finish in the order 2 3 4 1 on their Own sides. Perhaps because the final Places are not strongly intuitive, it is common practice, even at a Ball, to find the dancers counting the four passing movements in unison.

In a Circular set with 3 Couples or a Longwise, Active set with 3 Couples, this half Figure normally takes only 4 bars; the phrasing is as for the first half of the full Grand chain in a Longwise, Active set with 3 Couples.

For example, here are some Scottish Country Dances in which the term, Grand chain halfway, is used in either the MiniCrib or the MaxiCrib Dance instructions or both -
An Gearasdan
Angus Reel
Bright And Breezy
Buchan Eightsome Reel
Cairnsmore Of Carsphairn
Elizabeth Hunter's Strathspey
Kendoon Strathspey
Lothian Lads
Round Reel Of Eight
Sloane Square

Links To Pages Related To 'Chains'


Additional search terms: ½ Grand Chain, Grand Chain ½ way.

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