Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Allemande for 2 Couples

In Scottish Country Dancing, Allemande for 2 couples requires a Travelling step to be used throughout the 8-bar Figure. It was originally intended as an elegant means of Progression and, as such, works well, especially in a Strathspey, provided the Timing is followed scrupulously. When danced by the 1st and 2nd Couples from their Original Places, the movements for bar 1 are shown in the first diagram, for bar 2 in the next diagram and so on; bars 7-8 are shown in the same diagram and the Finishing Places at the end of bar 8 in the following diagram.

To avoid a sloppy start, it is especially important that both Couples move in unison on bar 1; to avoid a sloppy Finish, they must move in unison on bars 5-8.

The Couples must start Facing Up on the Centre line and either Take hands in Allemande hold or convert an existing Hold, such as Promenade, into Allemande hold. Much hot air has been expended over the exact Timing of the transition to Allemande hold, whether at the beginning of the 8-bar Phrase or at the end of the previous Phrase. Since Allemande for 2 couples cannot be the first Figure of a dance, and since the Figure requires above average concentration, the end of the previous Phrase is much to be preferred.

Note that these instructions show a slightly different Phrasing from that in formal RSCDS teaching (as in the 2013 edition of "The Manual of Scottish Country Dancing" for which see Allemande For 2 Couples (RSCDS Definition)). The Phrasing on this page differs only modestly and only in bars 2-4; it is preferred because:
it involves less dramatic changes in tempo in bars 1-4;
bars 3-4 for 2nd couple are identical to bars 2-3 for the Top couple;
it is more readily and neatly adapted for 3 Couples; and
it encourages the Top couple to move quickly so that, in the 3-couple version, 2nd and 3rd couples are less impeded.

For the Top couple in this 2-Couple Figure:

Bar 1
with Allemande hold, Dance diagonally forwards and to the right so that the Lady reaches a point half a Place Above her Original Place in the Ladies' Side line;

Diagram, Allemande For 2 Couples Bar 1
Allemande For 2 Couples Bar 1 - Full Size

Allemande for 2 Couples in 3-couple Longwise Set, Bar 1.

Men's paths shown as full lines, ladies' broken, 1st couple's emboldened;
arrow heads show finishing points.
Bar 2
retaining Allemande hold, rotate anticlockwise (the Man Turning On the spot in the first half bar) to Face Across The set towards the Men's Side and Dance Across The set so that they almost reach the Men's Side line;
Diagram, Allemande For 2 Couples Bar 2
Allemande For 2 Couples Bar 2 - Full Size

Allemande for 2 Couples in 3-couple Longwise Set, Bar 2.

Men's paths shown as full lines, ladies' broken, 1st couple's emboldened;
arrow heads show finishing points.
Bar 3
retaining Allemande hold, continue Across The set to the Men's Side line, rotate anticlockwise and Dance Down to Finish Facing Down with the Man in his Original Place (the Man taking appropriately small Steps);
Diagram, Allemande For 2 Couples Bar 3
Allemande For 2 Couples Bar 3 - Full Size

Allemande for 2 Couples in 3-couple Longwise Set, Bar 3.

Men's paths shown as full lines, ladies' broken, 1st couple's emboldened;
arrow heads show finishing points.
Bar 4
retaining Allemande hold, Dance Down to 2nd Place with the Man Travelling on the Men's Side line;
Diagram, Allemande For 2 Couples Bar 4
Allemande For 2 Couples Bar 4 - Full Size

Allemande for 2 Couples in 3-couple Longwise Set, Bar 4.

Men's paths shown as full lines, ladies' broken, 1st couple's emboldened;
arrow heads show finishing points.
Bar 5
retaining Allemande hold, rotate anticlockwise (the Man Turning On the spot) to Face Across The set towards the Ladies' Side;
Diagram, Allemande For 2 Couples Bar 5
Allemande For 2 Couples Bar 5 - Full Size

Allemande for 2 Couples in 3-couple Longwise Set, Bar 5.

Men's paths shown as full lines, ladies' broken, 1st couple's emboldened;
arrow heads show finishing points.
Bar 6
retaining Allemande hold, Dance part of the way Across The set and unwind the Hold by passing the right hands over the Lady's head so as to Face each other with arms crossed, right over left, either side of the Centre line;
Diagram, Allemande For 2 Couples Bar 6
Allemande For 2 Couples Bar 6 - Full Size

Allemande for 2 Couples in 3-couple Longwise Set, Bar 6.

Men's paths shown as full lines, ladies' broken, 1st couple's emboldened;
arrow heads show finishing points.
Bar 7
release Hold and individually Dance a small step backwards away from each other;
Diagram, Allemande For 2 Couples Bars 7-8
Allemande For 2 Couples Bars 7-8 - Full Size

Allemande for 2 Couples in 3-couple Longwise Set, Bars 7-8.

Men's paths shown as full lines, ladies' broken, 1st couple's emboldened;
arrow heads show finishing points but not the facing direction.
Bar 8
continue to Dance backwards away from each other, Finishing Facing each other in the Side lines, in 2nd Place.
Diagram, Allemande For 2 Couples At End Of Bar 8
Allemande For 2 Couples At End Of Bar 8 - Full Size

Allemande for 2 Couples in 3-couple Longwise Set, at end of Bar 8.


The 2nd couple in this 2-Couple Figure follow the Top couple, as closely as is practicable, as follows:

Bar 1
as bar 1 for the Top couple;

Bar 2
retaining Allemande hold, Dance Up The set to Finish with 2nd Lady half a Place Above 1st Lady's Place;

Bar 3
as bar 2 for the Top couple;

Bar 4
as bar 3 for the Top couple;

Bar 5
as bar 5 for the Top couple;

Bar 6
as bar 6 for the Top couple;

Bar 7
as bar 7 for the Top couple;

Bar 8
continue to Dance away from each other, Finishing Facing each other in the Side lines, in 1st Place.

It is especially important that, at the end of bar 5, both Couples are in the Men's Side line, 2nd Man in 1st Man's Place, 1st Man in 2nd Man's Place. Note that in all the rotations and the unwinding, the Men Dance On the spot, or almost so, While the Ladies rotate.

In some dances, bars 7-8 for one or both Couples may have to be modified to suit the subsequent Figure.

In a few dances, this Figure appears in an inverted form, starting with both Couples on Opposite sides of the Centre line, Facing Down, the lower Couple leading; this is superficially similar to The knot but quite different in detail.


For example, here are some Scottish Country Dances in which the term, Allemande For 2 Couples, is used in either the MiniCrib or the MaxiCrib Dance instructions or both -
Admiral Nelson
Balmaha
Ca' The Ewes Tae The Knowes
Come Up To The Top
Crown Court
De'il Amang The Tailors
Ettrick Water
The following examples show forms with a modified ending or inverted:
Prince Of Wales
This Way Up
Craigievar
Border Barque

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Allemande for 2 Couples

Allemande for 2 Couples Video Clip

Links To Pages Related To 'Allemande'

Complex Figures

Additional search terms: 1s+2s dance Allemande.

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