Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Balgeddie Reel

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

BALGEDDIE REEL (R5x32) 5C set Mary Shoolbraid Brandon Memories of Fyfe

1- 8 1M and 3M set turning on the spot (hands on hips), 1L and 3L dance toward partner and back to places
9-16 1L and 3L followed by partners cast 1 place, dance up between couple above, cast down 1 place (Men's side) and dance in give RH to 1st corner and LH to partner
17-24 1s and 3s Balance-in-Line with corners, dance on to 2nd corners, Balance-in-Line, 1s and 3s ½ turn LH into
25-32 All dance RH across (1L with 2s, 1M and 3L with 4s, 3M with 5s), 1s and 3s ½ turn LH and cast down 1 place

(MINICRIB. Dance crib compiled by Charles Upton, Deeside Caledonian Society, and his successors)


Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams


Dance Instruction Videos

Balgeddie Reel - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

Just north of Kirkaldy in the Kingdom of Fife, one finds the community of Glenrothes (pronounced "glen-roth-iss").

Currently the administrative headquarters of Fife, Glenrothes was built as "a new city" back in the 1950s to take advantage of the local coal mining industry. Not a clever move in retrospect, as the mines suffered from underground seepage and water damage, causing them to be abandoned in 1961.

Prior to this, however, the area was part of the Earldom of Rothes, the estates of which contained a number of grand old manors such as Leslie House (a home of Clan Leslie), Balgimie House, and Balgeddie House. Fortunately, the name "Balgeddie" still survives as The Balgeddie House Hotel, a well-established tourist hostelry on the outskirts of Glenrothes.

A local resident, who I understand was born at the aforementioned Leslie House, ultimately became a skilled Scottish country dance deviser. Her name is Mary Brandon, née Shoolbraid. She put together a book of dances called Memories of Fife that included not only The Balgeddie Reel, but also another dance well-known to us called Fife Ness. For the past many years, Mary has been very significant to the promotion of Scottish Country dancing, not only around Los Angeles and San Francisco, but also in Hawaii.

Word has it that Mary has never been particularly happy with the treatment meted out to The Balgeddie Reel over the years, due to the addition of cheeky hand and arm movements that she had not intended, and that she felt turned the dance into a "hoedown".

Nonetheless, The Balgeddie Reel is a great five-couple dance.

The Barry Pipes Canon 014- February, 2008. (With much appreciation for the research assistance of Georgina Finlay. BP)

Balgeddie, Glenrothes in Fife, Scotland
View Of Glenrothes


Dance information from Set&Link, RSCDS Toronto Newsletter - What's In A Name? The Barry Pipes Canon 2005 - 2018, reproduced here with kind permission. Copyright Barry Pipes. All rights reserved.
Image copyright James Allan under this Creative Commons Licence 2.0.

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