Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary


The Scottish Dance Term Pas-de-basque is usually pronounced in the anglicized form, "pah-d'-bah". In Quick tempo Scottish Country Dances, it is mostly used for Dancing On the spot (Setting) but occasionally for Travelling.

Diagram 5 and Diagram 6 show the basic step, starting with the right foot from a stationary Position and taking two bars, one for each foot. The first step is almost always with the right foot; if specified otherwise, start at the beginning of bar 2 but standing with both feet in first Position.

For clarity, each separate movement in the step is shown on a separate line, starting from the bottom of each diagram. Since the step in Diagram 6 is shown as it would naturally follow that in Diagram 5, Diagram 6 is placed above Diagram 5.

At the end of the last beat of each bar, one foot is extended diagonally forward (in the jeté movement in ballet terminology); this is the left foot in Diagram 5. If the step is to continue, as in Diagram 6, on the first beat this foot must be moved back to the original stationary Position (ballet first Position) for the spring.

If the step is not to be repeated, move the extended foot to the normal Standing Position without springing onto it; if Skip change or some other step should follow, move the extended foot directly to the first Position of the new step.

It is important not to make any movement to the side on the first beat of each bar unless the Figure in which the step is used specifically requires the limited Travelling movement which can be achieved as, for example, in the first bar of Petronella turn. With Pas-de-basque, the Travelling can only be on the first beat of the bar and, if sideways or diagonally, should preferably not be to the left on the step starting with the right foot or vice versa. Perhaps because many dancers were still using Pas-de-basque for all Travelling in Quick tempo dances when the Scottish Country Dance Society was first formed, the RSCDS has never banned this awkward movement; indeed, the 2005 edition of "The Manual of Scottish Country Dancing" retains it in Crown triangles though most dancers would normally perform the Figure as described in Figures.

When sufficient Time is allocated, rotation should also only take place on the first beat of the bar, as in the second bar of Petronella turn; when it is not, rotation may take place on the later beats of a bar following the Travelling which has occurred on the first beat, as in the left foot steps of Hello goodbye setting.

For example, here are some Scottish Country Dances in which the term, Pas-de-basque, is used in either the MiniCrib or the MaxiCrib Dance instructions or both -
Brechin Lassies
Earl Of Errol's Reel
Flying Spur
Johnnie's Welcome Hame
Lost In Edinburgh

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Pas-de-basque

Pas-de-basque Video Clip

Links To Pages Related To 'Steps for Jigs, Reels and Hornpipes'


Additional search terms: Pas de basque, Pah de bah, Pah d bah, Pah da bah.

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