Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Reel(s) Of Five

This Reel is a very rare Scottish Country Dancing Figure for 5 Dancers which is similar to the Reel of four but includes an extra loop in the Middle; the path may be considered as an oval folded three times. Since the Reel of five is for an odd number of Dancers, it has similar characteristics to the Reel of three; in particular, the path followed by the Dancers has a clockwise loop at one End and an anticlockwise loop at the other. There are two passing points in the Middle, one By the left and the other By the right.

Once the Reel of five has become established, the Dancers should be evenly spaced around the path, thereby ensuring that there is no risk of collision and avoiding any unwarranted concern about Precedence. Unless the following Figure requires otherwise, all Finish where they started from.

The Reel of five occurs in the mirror form in bars 11-20 of The Cooper's Crown where it is danced on the Side lines of a Longwise set for 5 Couples. The precursor Figures have left the Dancers exactly evenly spaced ready for the Reel.

Diagram 110: Idealized Mirror Reels of Five.
The ladies' path is shown as a broken line; arrow heads show the positions of the equally spaced dancers after each half bar. The dancers' symbols show the idealized starting (and finishing) positions.

Diagram 110 shows the 20 successive Positions, each requiring half a bar, which, together, make up the full, idealized Reel of five, as it occurs in this example; the Dancers are shown in their Starting Positions. Each Dancer should reach the Position vacated by the Dancer immediately ahead of her/him on the path after 2 bars; this movement, repeated five times, completes the full Figure in 10 bars.

Note that, in this mirror form, Taking hands briefly whenever Partners meet on the Centre line looks more elegant and aids Covering.

Timing this 10-bar Figure to the Music for Scottish Country Dancing is straightforward if music with 10-bar Phrases is used (as in The Cooper's Crown); with the much more common 8-bar Phrases, it would probably be best to begin the Figure on bar 7 of a Phrase.

In bars 25-32 of the 5-Couple Strathspey Loch Doon Castle, 8 bars of this Figure (in the mirror form) are used to Progress the Dancers from the order, 1s2s3s4s5s to 2s4s1s5s3s but note that the Dancers Start and Finish as they would for a Reel of four or a Reel of three On the sides and so have to develop the evenly spaced Positions around the path on bar 25 and exit from these on bar 32.

Although there is a dance called The Reel of Five, it does not contain this Figure; perhaps a better name for the dance would be "A Reel for Five", since it is for five Dancers with the set format as in Domino Five.

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