Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Polite Turn

A Polite turn is not a Figure in its own right but is an adaptation of any Figure which would otherwise end with a dancer Facing Out of The set so that s/he Faces Inwards; the dancer Travelling on the Inside of The set completes the Figure by making a partial Turn on the spot, in the natural direction, so as to Finish Facing Inwards.
For example, if a diagram shows the end of the Reel of four on the Men's Side, 4th Man would Turn on the spot halfway clockwise.

When (as is shown in Diagram 33 in Right and lefts for the 1st and 2nd Couples of a Longwise set after their Places have been interchanged as a result of the Progression) the dancers are Crossing on the Sides, it is helpful if 2nd Lady retains the Hold with the 1st Lady (who is going Down) for fractionally longer than normal so that the latter can more readily Turns On the spot in an anticlockwise direction so as to Finish in 2nd Place Facing Inwards.

This movement merely modifies the end of a previous Figure to provide a more elegant completion; no additional Time is allowed for it though it is at its best when the dancer is due to be stationary on the following bar of music and so can encroach a little into the next phrase. It should be used at all times unless either it is specifically proscribed by the Scottish Country Dance deviser or the following Figure requires the dancer to Face in some other direction.

For example, here are some Scottish Country Dances in which the term, Polite Turn, is used in either the MiniCrib or the MaxiCrib Dance instructions or both -
An' Thou Wert My Only Dear
Black Donald
Braes Of Breadalbane
Cadgers In The Canongate
Westminster Reel

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Polite Turn

Polite Turn Video Clip

Links To Pages Related To 'Polite Turn'


Back to the top of this Scottish Country Dancing 'Polite Turn' page