Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Chain Progression

In its basic form, this Figure interchanges two Couples in adjacent Places in Scottish Country Dances with the Longwise set format. The central element of the Figure is similar to that in The targe where the Dancers Start in a line, alternately Facing in opposite Directions; from these Positions, the Middle Dancers Turn By the left While the End Dancers Chase clockwise to Finish in line again. However, in the Chain Progression, the Dancers Start and Finish on the Centre line at the Opposite End whereas, in The targe, they Finish on a line rotated 90° from their Starting line.

Chain progression requires 8 bars, using the Strathspey travelling step where it occurs in Strathspeys and Skip change in Quick tempo dances.

The Progression is conventional in that it interchanges Couples who are in adjacent Places; Starting with 1st and 2nd Couples in their Original Places, as it occurs in bars 17-24 of Summer In Assynt:

Bars 1-2
1st and 2nd Couples Turn ¾ By the right, all Finishing on the Centre line, 1st Lady at the Top and 2nd Man at the Bottom Facing clockwise with 1st Man and 2nd Lady in the Middle, Left hands joined and Facing Own sides;

Bars 3-6
1st Lady and 2nd Man Chase clockwise halfway around The set, Exchanging positions, While 2nd Man and 3rd Lady Turn By the left 1½ times, all Finishing on the Centre line in the reverse order, i.e., from the Top: 2nd Man, 2nd Lady, 1st Man, 1st Lady;

Bars 7-8
2nd and 1st Couples Turn ¾ By the right, all Finishing in their Own side lines, 2nd Couple in 1st Place, 1st Couple in 2nd Place.

Note that bars 3-6 are slightly counter-intuitive musically; the Chasing and Turning continue smoothly at the end of bar 4. With perfect Timing, all four Dancers will be in Line across at that instant.

The Chaperoned chain progression is a derivative form involving three Couples.
Here are examples of those Scottish Country Dances for which we have instructions on this site and in which the term, Chain progression, 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:

Chairman's Chain
Colin's Rebel Rant
College Echoes
Cooper's Wife (Will)
Farewell To The North
Roundabout (Gordon)
Shadows On The Scores
Thurling Strathspey
Turning The Key

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Chain Progression

Chain Progression

Links To Pages Related To 'Chain Progression'

Complex Figures

Back to the top of this Scottish Country Dancing 'Chain Progression' page