Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Climbing Mont Ventoux

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

CLIMBING MONT VENTOUX (M-4x(S32+R32)) 4C set Erika Ritzau

1- 8 1s+2s also 3s+4s dance RH across and LH back
9-16 All set advancing and turn partners 2H, 1s+2s also 3s+4s circle 4H round to left
17-24 1L followed by 2L+3L+4L dance up and across then cast to weave in and out to end 2L+1L between 3M+4M and 4L+3L between 1M+2M and all Ladies cross to own side
25-32 Men repeat bars 17-24 all finishing 4321

1- 8 1s set with Highland Schottische or pas-de-basque twice, turn partner twice with elbow grip
9-16 4s+3s+2s+1s dance reflection reels of 4 (Ladies give LSh to start, Men RSh)
17-24 4s (in 1st place) and 2s (in 3rd place) set and turn partners 2H (pas-de-basque), 4s cast to 3rd place while 2s lead up nearer hands joined to 1st place
25-32 2s+3s also 4s+1s circle 4H round and back. 2341

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

Climbing Mont Ventoux
Erika Ritzau 2013
Medley 4 x (S32 + R32) bars 4 Couple Repeat 4 Couple Set Longwise Set


  1-8   1s2s 3s4s 4 hands across and back;

  9-10 all set advancing and take both hands with partners;

11-12 all turn partners with both hands;

13-16 1s2s 3s4s 4 hands round to original places;

17-22 1L2L3L4L chase across, cast around 1M, dance down and cast around 3M, finishing 4L3L between 1M 2M, 2L1L between 3M 4M;

23-24 4L3L 2L1L take nearer hands and lead across to finish 4L3L2L1L on own sides;

25-32 Mn repeat bars 17-24, all finishing 4s3s2s1s.


33-36 1s set with any suitable Highland step or pas-de-basque twice;

37-40 1s, taking elbow grip, turn by the right twice;

41-48 4s3s2s1s dance mirror reels of 4 (reverse reel, starting left shoulders at the ends, for the Ls);

49-52 4s (in 1st place), 2s (in 3rd place) set and turn partners with both hands (pas-de-basque);

53-56 4s cast to 3rd place WHILE 2s lead up with nearer hands joined to 1st place;

57-64 2s3s 4s1s 4 hands round and back.

(MAXICRIB. Scottish country dancing instructions compiled by Reuben Freemantle)

Dance Notes

This was collective project by Clan McBedoin, a small SCD group in Provence based at Bédoin, a village at the foot of Mt. Ventoux, an iconic mountain for cyclists world-wide. The dance was in celebration of the 100th edition of the Tour de France which climbed Mt. Ventoux from Bédoin on 14 July 2013. The group's teacher, Erika Ritzau, worked with the team and colleagues to devise choreography illustrating this challenge. The first half (strathspey tempo) represents the turning of the bike wheels and gears, and the struggle of the climb itself, with each couple in turn finally getting to the top. The second half (in reel tempo) starts with a brief victory dance by the first couple after they reach the summit - followed by a rapid descent! The video shows the medley being danced twice through only, as for demonstration purposes; but it is more satisfactory for the dancers to do it four times through so that each couple can "climb Mt. Ventoux".

17-24 Clan McBedoin call this slightly unusual weaving figure "The Serpent" in honour of the year 2013 in China ("the Year of the Snake") when the dance was devised.

23-24 The four ladies must cover as they cross to their own side of the set. It is helpful to start the dance with slightly wider spacing than normally on the sides.

31-32 The four men must cover as they cross to their own side of the set. It is helpful to start the dance with slightly wider spacing than normally on the sides.

33-36 With the change of tempo, the couple who have just "climbed Mt. Ventoux" (i.e. are now at the bottom of the set) must not hesitate for a nanosecond to launch straight into the "Victory Dance". These four bars allow them to dance whatever celebratory Highland steps or pas-de-basque they feel confident performing.

37-40 These four bars involve two fast turns in the style of the modern replacement for the Tulloch turn; both dancers must finish in 4th place on own sides ready to start the reel of four. This is a rapid sequence needing some practice for each couple...

41-48 Briefly taking nearer hands whenever appropriate helps covering in these mirror reels of 4 and also acts an aide-mémoire for the ladies who have the reverse reel of 4.

49-50 4s (in 1st place) and 2s (in 3rd place) must not hesitate at all before setting, advancing.

Although there is very little recorded music for the 4 x (S32 + R32) medley format, Alex Ross has composed a 32 bar strathspey and a 32 bar reel specifically for Climbing Mont Ventoux which he has generously made available in the public domain - Climbing Mont Ventoux - Scottish Country Dancing Music Video.

(Dance notes by Sir Christopher MacRae, KCMG)

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams

Dance Instruction Videos

Climbing Mont Ventoux - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

Mt. Ventoux (1910 m) is an outlier of the Alps which dominates the Rhone valley right down to the Mediterranean. Over 70,000 amateur cyclists of many nationalities climb it each year. Tour de France professionals have toiled to its summit from Bédoin for over 60 years (the ascent on 14 July 2016 will have been the 16th time). They have usually ridden well over 100km already before they even start the climb. This extreme challenge is a huge favourite with the public. In 2013 about half-a-million spectators were watching from the slopes of Mt. Ventoux. Many millions more were watching on TV around the world.

(Dance information by Sir Christopher MacRae, KCMG)

Cycling Up Mont Ventoux - Information Video

Climbing Mont Ventoux
Rond Point At The Entrance To Bédoin, Vaucluse, France

Image copyright Véronique PAGNIER

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