Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

By The Left

Sometimes called left hands, By the left is an alternative way for two dancers to Take hands when Crossing or Turning or Travelling together, side by side. When Travelling together, the joined left hands should be in front at chest height; for all other movements, the hands should be as described above in Take hands with relative movement.

Many Scottish Country Dancers forgetfully Turn by the right when Turn by the left is prescribed, with uncomfortable consequences on those many occasions when the next Figure fits only a Turn by the left.

By the left is also a qualification of a Figure, such as Cross, to indicate that the dancer should pass to the left of (i.e., Give right shoulders to) the approaching dancer (or Couple).

Here are examples of those Scottish Country Dances for which we have instructions on this site and in which the term, By the left, 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:

Alex Doig's Jig
Bottle Forest
Dundee Whaler
Geneva Park
Hamilton Rant

Links To Pages Related To 'Holds'

Hand Positions

Back to the top of this Scottish Country Dancing 'By The Left' page