Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Nearer Hands

Normally, Nearer Hands, i.e., the adjacent hands of Dancers who are side-by-side, are Held:
when dancing in a circle (Hands round);
when two or more Dancers Face the same way in a line and then Set or Advance or Retire; and
when more than two Dancers Travel together, side-by-side.

It is the preferred way for two Scottish Country Dancers to Travel together, side-by-side, whenever the next Figure requires them either to Take Both hands or to Cast away from each other or to Take (the other) Nearer hands and reverse the direction of Travel. For elegance and to improve Covering, Nearer Hands should be Taken when briefly meeting and separating as, for example, in symmetrical Figures of eight on the sides and in Mirror reels of three.

When Travelling together, the joined left and right hands should be between the Dancers at chest height; for all other movements, the hands should be as described above in Take hands with no relative movement.

For example, here are some Scottish Country Dances in which the term, Nearer Hands, is used in either the MiniCrib or the MaxiCrib Dance instructions or both -
Beauty Of The North
Bydand (Drewry)
Dalkeith's Strathspey
Fifty Years On
Lochalsh Reel
Old Nick's Lumber Room
Royal Deeside Railway
Trefoil Badge
Welcome To The Dance

Links To Pages Related To 'Holds'

Hand Positions

Back to the top of this Scottish Country Dancing 'Nearer Hands' page