Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary


This section covers Allemande as a Scottish Country Dancing Figure, though the term is often used to indicate that some other Figure should be performed using Allemande hold as, for example, in bars 73-80 of The Robertson Rant and bars 57-62 of Johnnie Walker where the Couples Chase anticlockwise around the 4 couple square set.

The formal Allemande Figure exists in versions for two, three or four Couples; all require a Travelling step to be used throughout the 8-bar Figure.

The Couples must start on the Centre line Facing Up at the beginning of the 8-bar phrase. There is no time at the beginning of the Figure to reach the Centre line from the Side lines; any stationary Couple must dance into the Centre line on the last bar of the preceding Figure, using the left foot step of Skip Change or of the Strathspey Travelling Step; those Couples performing the previous Figure must adapt the ending so as to Finish on the Centre line.

Allemande is best preceded by a movement which naturally Finishes on the Centre line, such as Turn by the right or Promenade which can be adapted to Finish there. 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 no Allemande Figure can be the first of a dance, and since all require above average concentration, the end of the previous Phrase is much to be preferred.

Note that all Allemande Figures have the Couples Travelling anticlockwise in bars 2-5, Men on the inside, Ladies on the outside and so the Men Travel a shorter distance than the Ladies. The Man must not take smaller Steps throughout as this produces a sloppy oval shape. The shape should be rectilinear with a quarter Turn at each corner. This is usually achieved by the Man Turning On the spot for half or the whole of a bar while his Partner continues with the normal, but often longer than usual, Step and so makes the desired quarter Turn around him; occasionally. the Man must take a small Step to reach the corner followed by another small Step along the adjacent Side While his Partner makes an extended quarter Turn around him.

The Couple must retain a firm Allemande hold throughout.

See Allemande for 2 couples, Allemande for 2 couples (RSCDS definition) (slightly differently phrased in bars 2-5), Allemande for 3 couples, Allemande for 3 couples (RSCDS definition) (slightly differently phrased in bars 1-5) and Allemande for 4 couples for precise details of these specific forms of the Figure.

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

See Allemande derivatives for more Complex figures, including Inverted allemande, Interlocking allemandes, Circulating allemandes and Allepousse which are based on Allemande for 2 couples or more.

The following Scottish Country Dances require one or other of these forms of Allemande:
Byron Strathspey
Duchess Tree
Jean Martin Of Aberdeen
None So Pretty
Peggy's Love
Peggy's Wedding
Shepherd's Crook (RSCDS Book 10)
Tribute To The Borders
Trip To The Drakensberg

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Allemande (for 2 Couples)

Allemande for 2 Couples Video Clip

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Inverted Allemande (for 2 Couples)

Inverted Allemande Video Clip

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Allemande for 3 Couples

Allemande for 3 Couples Video Clip

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Allemande for 4 Couples

Allemande for 4 Couples Video Clip

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Circulating Allemande (For 3 Couples)

Circulating Allemande (For 3 Couples) Video Clip

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Allemande Hold in Figure other than Allemande

Allemande Hold Video Clip

Links To Pages Related To 'Allemande'

Complex Figures

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