Circassian (Big) Circle
Scottish Country Dance InstructionCIRCASSIAN (BIG) CIRCLE (R32)
All form circle around the room with partner on Man's right
1- 8 All dance in 4 steps and out, repeat
9-16 Ladies dance in 4 steps, clap and out again, Men do the same but turn to face partner as they dance out
17-24 All swing partners and end facing anticlockwise round the room
25-32 All Promenade anticlockwise 8 steps
(MINICRIB. Dance crib compiled by Charles Upton, Deeside Caledonian Society, and his successors)
Dance NotesThere are many variations to be found on the internet. The dance source is unknown.
Circassian (Large) Circle
Anon Collected on the Isle of Barra
Reel n x 32 bars n Couple Repeat n Couple Set Progressive Large Circular Set
Start with all couples (L on M's right) in one large circle, facing in.
1-2 All take hands and advance;
3-4 retaining hold, all retire;
5-8 repeat bars 1-4, finishing by releasing hands;
9-12 Ls advance, clap and retire;
13-16 Mn advance, clap, pull right shoulder back and dance out to finish facing partners;
17-24 all take birl hold (right arm elbow grip, left hands gripped above right forearms) and turn by the right twice or more to finish facing anticlockwise around the set;
25-30 all change to promenade hold and promenade around the set, finishing in a new place in the circle, facing each other;
31-32 all release right hands and turn halfway by the left to finish with Ls on the left of partner, ready to repeat with new partner.
(MAXICRIB. Scottish country dancing instructions compiled by Reuben Freemantle)
Dance NotesThis Isle of Barra version of the dance is one of the many local variations of the progressive form.
25- Retain left hand hold, release elbow grip and take right hands again above left hands.
31-32 Ls finish with polite turn.
In a common alternative form, the progression takes place at bar 16:
13-16 Mn advance, clap, pull right shoulder back and dance out to finish facing first corner (L originally on M's left);
17-24 all take birl hold with first corners (right arm elbow grip, left hands gripped above right forearms) and turn by the right twice or more to finish facing anticlockwise around the set;
25-32 all change to promenade hold with first corners and promenade around the set, finishing ready to repeat with first corner as the new partner.
Note that the videos show various alternative forms of the progressive version and that Keith Rose's Crib Diagram shows the non-progressive version.
Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams
Dance Instruction VideosCircassian (Big) Circle - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video
Circle Dance, Tom Friedman, c. 2010
Image copyright Tom Friedman Studio [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
Additional search terms: Ceilidh Dance, Cercassian, Sircassian.