Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Border Reel

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

THE BORDER REEL (R8x32) 3C (4C set) Johnson

1- 8 1M dances Fig of 8 round 1L+2L dancing between them and down behind 2L, round and up behind partner back to place while 2M dances Fig of 8 round 1L+2L out between them and up behind 1L, round and behind partner back to place
9-16 1L and 2L repeat
17-24 1s+2s set diagonally, 1M+2L change places RH while 1L+2M set, 1L+2M change places RH while 1M+2L set, 2s cross RH while 1s turn RH down to 3rd place
25-32 3s+1s dance Poussette. 213

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

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams

Dance Information

The Border Reel was originally part of the 1938 edition of RSCDS Book 12. The source was a dance published in 1748 by a John Johnson in a collection called "Caledonian Country Dances". Ysobel Stewart (RSCDS founder along with Miss Jean Milligan) transcribed the dance and the RSCDS then interpreted the dance with the formations above.

Hugh Thurston (dance deviser, dance historian, and professional cryptographer) subsequently discovered in the 1940s that the poussette did not appear in manuscripts as early as 1748. This meant that poussette ending of The Border Reel was most likely an incorrect interpretation of "The 1st Man takes his partner by both hands and draws her quite round the 3d Cu. and round the 2d Cu."

In 1950 the republished book 12 replaced The Border Reel with The Laird Of Dumbiedyke's Favourite.

Caricature of a longways country dance by Rowlandson, late 1790's
Caricature Of A "Longways" Country Dance By Rowlandson, Second Half Of The 1790's

Images copyright Churchh.

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