Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Weasel Reel

Like the Celtic reel and the St George's Cross form of the Sash pin reel, the Weasel reel is an 8-bar Figure for 3 Scottish Country Dancing Couples, all moving at once and all Finishing where they Started. All three Couples Travel on a path which is a combination of the path of a Half reel of four, whose axis is on the Centre line of The set, and a clockwise Chase halfway around the Corners square. Unlike the Celtic reel and the Sash pin reel, the Weasel reel has three Dancers on one path and the other three on a mirror image path; the Half reels of four in these paths have the same axis so that, by interlocking, a continuous, full Reel of four, albeit with changing Dancers, is performed on the Centre line.

In most implementations, 1st couple Start in 2nd place on Opposite sides so that the Men are all in one path, Travelling Up in the Half reel of four and Down when Chasing While the Ladies Travel Down in the Half reel of four and Up when Chasing. Ideally, 2nd couple should Start, right shoulder to right shoulder, on their Own side of the Centre line, halfway between 1st and 2nd positions and 3rd couple, similarly, halfway between 2nd and 3rd positions, as shown in Diagram 125. From these Positions, in detail:

Bar 1
1st couple Chase to their First corner positions While 2nd and 3rd couples Dance ¼ of a Half reel of four on the Centre line Finishing with 2nd man on the Centre line in 1st position Facing the Ladies' side, with 3rd lady on the Centre line in 3rd position Facing the Men's side and with 2nd lady and 3rd man left shoulder to left shoulder on Opposite sides of the Centre line in 2nd position;

Diagram 125: Weasel Reel: Bar 1.
Men's paths shown as full lines, ladies' broken; an unshaded arrow head indicates the direction in which the dancer finally faces.


Bar 2
1st couple Chase clockwise to the Centre line While 2nd man Chase to 1st lady's Place While 3rd lady Chase to 3rd man's Place While 2nd lady and 3rd man continue the path of the Half reel of four (but with no Dancer approaching);

Diagram 126: Weasel Reel: Bar 2.
Men's paths shown as full lines, ladies' broken; an unshaded arrow head indicates the direction in which the dancer finally faces.


Bar 3
1st lady, at the Top, and 1st man, at the Bottom, join the Half reel of four with the approaching Dancers (3rd man, who Finishes at the Top, and 2nd lady, who Finishes at the Bottom, both Facing Opposite sides) While 3rd lady and 2nd man Chase to 2nd place on Opposite sides;

Diagram 127: Weasel Reel: Bar 3.
Men's paths shown as full lines, ladies' broken; an unshaded arrow head indicates the direction in which the dancer finally faces.


Bar 4
1st couple continue their Half reel of four Finishing left shoulder to left shoulder on Opposite sides of the Centre line in 2nd position While 3rd and 2nd couples Chase, clockwise, one Place Finishing 3rd couple in 1st place and 2nd couple in 3rd place, both Couples on Opposite sides;

Diagram 128: Weasel Reel: Bar 4.
Men's paths shown as full lines, ladies' broken; an unshaded arrow head indicates the direction in which the dancer finally faces.


Bar 5
1st couple continue the path of the Half reel of four (but with no Dancer approaching) While 3rd and 2nd couples Chase, clockwise, one Place Finishing 2nd lady and 3rd man in 2nd place on Opposite sides, 3rd lady on the Centre line at the Top and 2nd man on the Centre line at the Bottom;

Diagram 129: Weasel Reel: Bar 5.
Men's paths shown as full lines, ladies' broken; an unshaded arrow head indicates the direction in which the dancer finally faces.


Bar 6
3rd lady, at the Top, and 2nd man, at the Bottom, join the Half reel of four with the approaching Dancers (1st man, who Finishes at the Top, and 1st lady, who Finishes at the Bottom, both Facing Opposite sides) While 2nd lady Chase to 1st man's Place While 3rd man Chase to 3rd lady's Place;

Diagram 130: Weasel Reel: Bar 6.
Men's paths shown as full lines, ladies' broken; an unshaded arrow head indicates the direction in which the dancer finally faces.


Bar 7
3rd lady and 2nd man continue their Half reel of four Finishing left shoulder to left shoulder on Opposite sides of the Centre line in 2nd position While 2nd lady and 3rd man Chase, clockwise, one Place Finishing on the Centre line, 2nd lady at the Top and 3rd man at the Bottom, While 1st couple Chase, clockwise, one Place Finishing in their First corner positions;

Diagram 131: Weasel Reel: Bar 7.
Men's paths shown as full lines, ladies' broken; an unshaded arrow head indicates the direction in which the dancer finally faces.


Bar 8
1st couple Chase clockwise to 2nd place on Opposite sides While 2nd and 3rd couples complete the Half reel of four, all Finishing in their Positions as at the beginning of bar 1.

Diagram 132: Weasel Reel: Bar 8.
Men's paths shown as full lines, ladies' broken; an unshaded arrow head indicates the direction in which the dancer finally faces.


Although the overlapping paths create a Reel of four on the Centre line, the Phrasing is not exactly that of a normal Reel of four: at the beginning of bars 2 and 5, the Dancers side-by-side in the Middle of the Reel of four have no Dancer approaching; in bars 3 and 6, those Dancers will find that the approaching Dancers in the Reel of four appear to be late by one bar. This arises because there are only three Dancers on each path for which there are eight Positions. The spacing here is 2+3+3 bars; if the, superficially more intuitive spacing, 2+2+4 bars, is attempted, the Dancers joining the Half reels of four will find themselves on a collision course with those leaving.

In The Happy Weasel, The Laird of Dalnair and A Trip around Salt Spring, 2nd and 3rd couples Start on the Centre line; this means that they have to move very quickly on bar 1 in order to catch up (one whole bar for the End Dancers and half a bar for those in the Middle) in order to avoid this problem of Precedence for those entering and leaving the Ends of the Half reel of four. The same consideration arises in The White Rabbit (Skelton) where the Men's and Ladies' Starting Positions are interchanged (and so the Men Dance Up on their Own side and Down in the Half reel of four While the Ladies Dance Down on their Own side and Up in the Half reel of four).

Since the Dancers are all in the same Positions at the end of bar 8 as they were at the beginning of bar 1, it is clear that the Weasel reel could start at any point in this sequence, run to the end of bar 8 and then complete the 8 bar Figure from bar 1. At the beginning of bar 5, the Dancers are all in Positions which occur quite commonly in 3 couple, Longwise sets and so this is a particularly convenient place to Start (and Finish) the 8 bar sequence, i.e., dance bars 5-8 followed by bars 1-4, as in bars 17-24 of Pop! Goes the Weasel.


Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Weasel Reel

Weasel Reel Video Clip

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