Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Reel(s) Of Six

This Reel is a rare Scottish Country Dancing Figure for 6 Dancers which is similar to the Reel of four but includes two extra loops in the Middle; the path may be considered as an oval folded four times. Since the Reel of six is for an even number of Dancers, it has similar characteristics to the Reel of four. The path followed by the Dancers has a clockwise loop at each End; a reverse form with anticlockwise loops at each End is possible. There are three passing points in the Middle, two By the left and one By the right.

See Reel for an exhaustive comparison of Reels for three or more Dancers. Note also that the Triangular reel of six is not a form of Reel of six; it is an alternative name for the One third schiehallion reel.

Once the Reel of six 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 idealized form of the Reel of six is shown in Diagram 111. It occurs in exactly this form in bars 3-14 of The Dark Island where it is danced by the 3 Couples on the Centre line of the Longwise set following the precursor Figure, Turn by the right, which has left the Dancers exactly evenly spaced around the track of the Reel.

Diagram 111: Reel of Six, Idealized.
The arrow heads in Diagram 111 show the 24 successive, equally spaced Positions, each requiring half a bar, which, together, make up the full, idealized Reel of six; the Dancers' symbols show their most likely Starting (and Finishing) Positions for this idealized form. Each Dancer should reach the Position vacated by the Dancer immediately ahead of her/him on the path after 2 bars; this movement, repeated six times, completes the full Figure in 12 bars.

The Reel of six also occurs in bars 5-16 of O'er the Forth to Fife where it is danced by the Top 3 Couples on the Centre line of the Longwise set. In this example, the precursor Figure has not left the Dancers exactly evenly spaced ready for the Reel; they are actually in what for many is the more familiar Starting Position with all in line, Facing alternately Up and down. However, this does require 1st lady and 3rd man to adjust their initial movements to reach their correct Positions after half a bar, at which time, all will, in fact, have reached the Starting Positions of Diagram 111.

Diagram 112: Reel of Six, Starting with Dancers in Line.
Just as in Diagram 111, the arrow heads show the Positions of the equally spaced Dancers after each half bar. The Dancers' symbols show the idealized Starting (and Finishing) Positions with all most nearly in line; the shaded symbols for 1st lady and 3rd man show their Starting Positions when all are actually in line.

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