Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Balance (In Line)

The Balance in line Figure is the most generalized form of Balancing in Scottish Country Dancing. The following diagram shows a vertical elevation for four Dancers, primarily to show hand Positions but also indicating that the two Ladies, who are further away, are Facing the viewer and that the two Men have their backs to the viewer.

Diagram, Hand Positions

Hand Positions

Taking hands: ready for Balance in line in Scottish Country Dancing.
The triangular symbol on the Ladies' faces represents the nose and so indicates that they are Facing the viewer; the Men are Facing away.

The following diagram shows a plan view of the same Dancers performing the Figure on the First corners' Diagonal; the view shown in the upper diagram is as seen from the lower left corner of the lower diagram but excluding the Second corners who are not involved in the Figure.

Diagram, Balance In Line

Balance (In Line)

This shows Balance in line by First corners and 1st couple on the First corners' Diagonal.

The above diagram emphasizes the importance of dancing Pas-de-basque On the spot; any sideways movement would be ugly and uncomfortable for the adjacent Dancers. It is polite to acknowledge the adjacent Dancers while Setting, the Middle Dancer making Eye contact with the Dancer to the right during the first bar of Pas-de-basque and with the Dancer to the left during the second.

It is convenient to define the axis of the Figure as the line joining the joined hands; the Dancers Face this imaginary line while Setting. Note that, in the example of the lower diagram, this axis is not exactly the same as the First corners' Diagonal since the Corners merely rotate slightly to Face appropriately, without moving from their Standing places.

When the Figure for 4 Dancers occurs on the Centre line of The set, as in The Wild Geese, the axis coincides with the Centre line since in this case none of the Dancers is in an Original Place. When the Figure occurs around a Circular set, as in Rothesay Rant and Clutha, the axis is an arc of the circle joining the Dancers Original Places rather than a straight line.

The Figure cannot be performed using the Strathspey setting step because this would involve sideways movement with alternate Dancers going in opposite directions (though it would work if alternate Dancers were to start with the left foot).

Innovative use of the Highland schottische setting step in Monadh Liath does allow it to be used in that Strathspey; the Dancers Take hands on the odd bars of each step (Danced On the spot) but release the Hold during the even bars so that they can pass each other, Face to Face. If the example in the upper diagram is treated as the beginning of the Figure, by the end of the second bar, the Middle Dancers will have Exchanged places with their adjacent End Dancers, while still Facing as before; at the end of the fourth bar, all are back as at the beginning.

Here are examples of those Scottish Country Dances for which we have instructions on this site and in which the term, Balance in line, either appears explicitly or is implied; note that for a common term these will be a small selection; for a rare term, these may be all that exist:

Border Lassies
Flock Of Geese
In Balance
Inimitable Derek
Lindisfarne Reel
MacFarlane's Geese
Miss Elizabeth Johnson
Toast To St Andrews
Wild Geese

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Balance In Line

Balance In Line Video Clip

Links To Pages Related To 'Setting'


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