Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Strathspey Poussette

The Strathspey poussette is a formally prescribed Figure for two adjacent Couples in Strathspeys.

Diamond poussette and Roundabout poussette are common synonyms. Poussette all round and All round poussette are also used occasionally as synonyms but these terms are better reserved for the Pas-de-basque form (Poussette all round).

Unlike the Strathspey half poussette, the Couples start from the Side lines, bar 1 being used to bring the Dancers in to the centre of The set. The whole Scottish Country Dancing Figure requires 8 bars.

Formal teaching (as in the 2005 edition of the RSCDS's The Manual of Scottish Country Dancing) prescribes the Strathspey setting step throughout though this has to be modified to be much more like the Strathspey travelling step on bar 8 for all four Dancers and on bars 1, 4 and 7 for those Dancers Travelling to the left on a right foot step. While the normal alternation of left foot step and right foot step applies throughout, at any instant one dancer of each Couple will be using the left foot step whereas her/his Partner will be using the right. As an aide-mémoire, the Dancers Start with the foot which is on the Outside of the rectangle formed by their Starting Places, e.g., for 1st and 2nd Couples from their Original Places, 1st Lady and 2nd Man Start naturally with the right foot whereas 1st Man and 2nd Lady must Start with the left foot. The latter Dancers must change foot, i.e., perform two left foot steps in succession if they were not Standing immesiately beforehand.

The Couples Take Both hands at the beginning of bar 2 and retain this Hold until the end of bar 7; the arms should initially be in an Open hold with the elbows only slightly bent and the hands as widely spaced as is practicable though during the Turns in bars 4 and 7 a tighter Hold is needed.

The following description assumes that the 1st and 2nd Couples are to perform the Strathspey poussette Figure from their Original Places:

Bar 1
1st Lady and 2nd Man Dance forwards and pass each other, Giving left shoulders, Finishing back to back on the Diagonal line (see Diagram 72) which is at right angles to the line joining 1st Lady's and 2nd Man's Places While 1st Man and 2nd Lady, starting with the left foot, Dance forwards, Pulling right shoulder back to Face their Partners on the same Diagonal line;


Bar 2
Taking Both hands with Partners and continuing with the natural foot, both Couples take a step on the first beat so that 1st Man and 2nd Lady reach their Own side lines, 1st Couple Dancing towards 1st Man's right, 2nd Couple Dancing towards 2nd Lady's right and then, on the third beat, both Turn slightly less than one sixth clockwise, 1st Man and 2nd Lady rotating On the spot While their Partners take a large step;

Bar 3
continuing with the natural foot, 1st Couple Dance towards 1st Man's left While 2nd Couple Dance towards 2nd Lady's left until 1st Man and 2nd Lady have passed back to back, both Couples Finishing on the Centre line, 1st Couple in 2nd Place and 2nd Couple in 1st Place;

Bar 4
continuing with the natural foot but dropping the elbows to Take a tighter Hold (as in Poussette using Pas-de-basque), both Couples Turn clockwise approximately five sixths and then revert to the Open hold;

Bar 5
continuing with the natural foot but taking a long step on the first beat so that 1st Lady and 2nd Man reach their Own side lines, 1st Couple Dance towards 1st Man's left While 2nd Couple Dance towards 2nd Lady's left and then, on the third beat, both Turn slightly less than one sixth clockwise, 1st Lady and 2nd Man rotating On the spot, their Partners taking a large step;

Bar 6
continuing with the natural foot, 1st Couple Dance towards 1st Man's right While 2nd Couple Dance towards 2nd Lady's right until 1st Man and 2nd Lady have passed back to back, both Couples Finishing on the Centre line, 1st Couple in 1st Place and 2nd Couple in 2nd Place;

Bar 7
continuing with the natural foot but dropping the elbows to Take a tighter Hold (as in Poussette using Pas-de-basque), both Couples Turn clockwise approximately two thirds and then release their Hold;

Bar 8
continuing with the natural foot, all Dance backwards to their Original Places.

The Turns on bars 4 and 7 are very quick with only one bar allowed for an almost complete Turn in each case.

Note that Miss Milligan's instructions in 99 More Scottish Country Dances have all starting with the right foot, thus requiring 1st Man and 2nd Lady to change feet at the end of the 1st bar; the 2005 edition of the RSCDS's The Manual of Scottish Country Dancing more sensibly starts these with the left foot as above. Both of these Scottish Country Dancing authorities prescribe quarter Turns on bars 2 and 5 and expect the Couples to be back on the initial Diagonal line at the end of bar 4 with their Positions, as at the end of bar 1, interchanged. After quarter Turns, the Travelling movement in bar 3 would be parallel to the initial, back to back line and so the Couples would never reach it; the interchanged Positions could only be achieved by making a substantial Travelling movement towards the initial Diagonal line while Turning during bar 4.

The normal shape of The set (in which the width is approximately twice the spacing on the Side lines) requires a little less than one sixth of a Turn on bar 2 (as in Diagram 73) though even this does not make it possible to reach the initial Diagonal line without either encroaching on the 3rd Couple's domain or Travelling while Turning during bar 4. It is neither necessary nor desirable to reach that line, especially when these movements are used in the Strathspey half poussette.


For example, here are some Scottish Country Dances in which the term, Strathspey Poussette, is used in either the MiniCrib or the MaxiCrib Dance instructions or both -
Craven Strathspey
Double Diamond Strathspey
Elizabeth Hunter's Strathspey
Gentleman
Minister On The Loch
My Jo
Sauchie Haugh
Thirty Years On
Walled Garden

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Strathspey Poussette

Strathspey Poussette Video Clip

Links To Pages Related To 'Poussette Movements'

Complex Figures

Additional search terms: Diamond poussette, roundabout poussette.

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