Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Pass And Turn

The Pass and turn Figure occurs in Longwise sets in Quick tempo dances and Strathspeys, using the Travelling step appropriate to the Tempo throughout; it starts with the Scottish Country Dancing couple Facing one of their Corners' Positions (which must be specified either explicitly as, for example, Pass and turn with Partners' First Corners or implicitly from the previous Figure).

The Figure bears some resemblance to a Diagonal Half reel of four though the Corners do not Exchange places: While the Corners Turn By the right quickly and return to Places, the Dancing couple Give right shoulders to the Corners they are Facing and Dance the End loop of a Diagonal Half reel of four; the Finishing Positions for the Dancing couple will depend on the subsequent Figure.

When inexperienced dancers are involved, each Corner must be careful, when approaching the other Corner ready to Turn By the right, to avoid appearing to offer to Take hands with the Passing Dancing man/Lady.

Diagram 97 and Diagram 98 show the 4-bar version as it appears in bars 21-24 of Midnight Oil, a 5-Couple Jig in which the 3rd couple are performing the same Figures in the Bottom of The set as are the 1st couple in the Top of The set.

Diagram 97: Pass and turn with second corners: bars 1-2.
Men's paths shown as full lines, ladies' broken, 1st couple's emboldened; arrow heads show finishing points.


Diagram 98: Pass and turn with second corners: bars 3-4.
Men's paths shown as full lines, ladies' broken, 1st couple's emboldened; arrow heads show finishing points.

The exact form of the beginning and ending are strongly dependent on the preceding and succeeding Figures.

In this example, the preceding Figure is Pass and turn with First corners and the succeeding Figure is a Reel of four on the Centre line of the Longwise set. In another example, in bars 25-28 of The Black Black Oil, the preceding Figure is Balance in line with First corners; the Dancing couples must move very quickly to Give right shoulder to the approaching Second corners.

4 bars are normally allocated though, in some Strathspeys, such as Scotch Mist, it is to be performed in 2 bars and so the Corners must move very quickly and be especially careful over preparatory hand movements.


A modified form of the Pass and turn Figure occurs in bars 17-20 of Ramadan-ce. Here, the Dancing couple perform exactly the same movements but First corners Turn halfway, release the Hold, Pull right shoulder back and Dance Out to Exchange Positions.
For example, here are some Scottish Country Dances in which the term, Pass And Turn, is used in either the MiniCrib or the MaxiCrib Dance instructions or both -
Bothwell Brig
Chequered Court
Christie's Strathspey
Doobri
Falkirk Lass
Get Your Skates On
Mideltone Silver
Misses Farrell Of Alloa
My Cary Valentine
Sprig Of Ivy (Mitchell)

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Pass And Turn

Pass And Turn Video Clip

Links To Pages Related To 'Pass And Turn'

Complex Figures

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