Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Burning Of Paddy's Breeches

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

The Burning Of Paddy's Breeches 64S/R+64J Medley for 4 couples Rod Downey The Golden Bear Collection
A 64S/R+64J Medley in a 4C square set.

1-2 1C, 3C take hands and set advancing, 1C towards 3C.
3-6 1C, 3C 4 hands round finishing facing diagonally opposite person, hands still joined.
7-8 Dropping hands, 1C, 3C set on spot turning pulling back RS to face across in a line of 4 1C facing 2C and 3C facing 4C, ready for...
9-16 All dance reels of 4 across the set finishing as started.
17-20 3L passing 2M right shoulder, 1M passing 2L right shoulder 1M chases 3L clockwise around set finishing with 3L in 3M's position, and 1M in 3L's position. 3M chases 1L similarly.
21-24 1C, 3C dance a half LH ladies chain from current positions.
25-28 1C, 3C set and link.
29-32 1C, 3C turn twice with propelled pivot turn (and left arm raised).
If this is danced as a Strathspey, then 1C and 3C turn twice with 2 hands.
33-64 Repeat 1-32 with 2C and 4C as the active couples, and the reels up and down the set. All clap at the end of bar 64.

1-8 Ladies dance 4 hands across half way (RH), spiralling in so that they have their backs to opposite man, then pull back RS and cast around opposite man and dance clockwise around the set back to original place and face clockwise.
9-16 All dance 8 bars of Schiehallion reel around the set, men leading and travelling anticlockwise. (i.e. the men pass collective left shoulder to begin.)
17-24 Men dance 4 hands across with the left hand half way, spiralling in then pulling back left shoulder, then casting around opposite lady and then dance back to place anticlockwise around set and finish facing anticlockwise.
25-32 All dance 8 bars of Schiehallion reel around the set, ladies leading and travelling clockwise. (i.e. the ladies pass collective right shoulder to begin.)
33-40 1L followed by her partner dance half way round the set anticlockwise (4 bars), and turn her partner once LH to finish in first place in original positions. 3C similarly.
If the reel time music is used then propelled pivot turn could be considered here.
41-48 2M followed by his partner dance half way round the set clockwise and turn RH and finish facing partner. 4C similarly.
1C and 3C face partner at the end of bar 48.
49-56 All dance interlocking reels of 4 around the set.
57-64 8 hands round and back.

(Dance crib compiled by the deviser Rod Downey, Johnsonville SCD Club Tutor)

Dance Notes

The second Schiehallion reel is more challenging and emphasis should be on the direction, not the shoulder.

The first part of this music is a very quick strathspey. The recorded music needs to be slowed down at least 10% to make the jig dance-able. The music is listed as a reel, but the feel of the first part is down rather than up and to me feels more like an Irish Hornpipe, thought it is an old pipe tune. It can be dance as more of a Quadrille with gently flexing ankles, and soft pas de Basque. Or it can be dances as a fast strathspey, which might be easier.

If the alternative recorded music If the Gay Gordons set, then the first part can be danced as a reel, and this works quite well. Finally if the first part is dances as a strathspey, I suggest any reasonable recording of "Johnny Walker."

Alternative recorded music where the first part would definitely be a strathspey would be any reasonable recording of "Johnny Walker". For example, the version on "Special Requests, Vol. 1" by Colin Dewar and his Band. I found this the least satisfying when danced.

(Dance notes by the deviser, Rod Downey)

Dance Information

This medley, The Burning Of Paddy's Breeches, was devised on 13th March 2019 for an Irish-themed night and revised after dancing on 3/3/2020 (turns in the jig part).

Based around a lovely piece of music "The Burning of Paddy's Breeches/The Burning of the Piper's Hut" which is 64S+64J (or 64R+64J) for which I had been meaning to compose a dance for over several years.

The jig is too quick to be easily danced, and hence the music needs to be slowed down about 10% but the Strathspey part remains quick; perhaps how historical ones were danced.

To my non-musician ear it sounds like a Irish Hornpipe. The recording is by Bobby MacLeod and his band in "Highland Accordion Medley". I wanted to capture the evenness of the first part and the flight of the jig.

Finding a musician would solve all problems so that the first tune could be played as a reel and the second as a jig.

Alternative recorded music is "Gay Gordons" as recorded by "The Dancing Strings Of Scotland" (LP+) which is 64R+64J, consisting of The Barren Rocks of Aden/The Duke of Athols Highlanders.

(Dance information from The Golden Bear Collection Of Scottish Country Dances, reproduced here with the kind permission of the deviser, Rod Downey)

Published in The Golden Bear Collection, reproduced here with the kind permission of the deviser, Rod Downey.

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