Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary


Scottish Country Dance Instruction

COVALENCE (S4x32) 4C set Tim Conrow

1- 8 All set, 1s+2s also 3s+4s dance RH across ½ way. 2s+1s also 4s+3s dance ½ double Fig of 8 (2s and 4s cross down to start)
9-16 All dance reflection 'Cross-Over' reels of 4 (Men's side RSh and Ladies' side LSh, each couple crosses in centre of set, Lady in front of partner, when dancing up (crossing order 3421). All end on opposite sides. (2)(1)(4)(3)
17-24 Top 3 couples (2s+1s+4s) dance ½ reels of 3 (1s out and up to start). 4s+1s also 2s+3s change places on sides (Men LH and Ladies RH) and set to person just passed. (1)(4)(3)(2)
25-32 All dance RSh 'Cross-Over' reels of 4, each dancer leaving top position Ladies' side and bottom position Man's side dance ½ RSh round each other quickly in centre of set to change places and join reel on own side. 2341

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

Dance Notes

The reels 9-16, and 24-32 have also been called "covalent" reels.
First covalent reel: the change-over couple, instead of passing left shoulder (bar 2) cross up to second place while the down-dancing couple ends (bar 2) in third place.
Second covalent reel: the top person Ladies' side and bottom person Men's side turn RH (bar 2) to change reels and directions.

Dance Information

The deviser named this strathspey Covalence after his "covalent" reels, as the reels seemed analogous to chemical covalence.

A covalent bond, also called a molecular bond, is a chemical bond that involves the sharing of electron pairs between atoms.

These electron pairs are known as shared pairs or bonding pairs, and the stable balance of attractive and repulsive forces between atoms, when they share electrons, is known as covalent bonding.

The term covalence in regard to bonding was first used in 1919 by Irving Langmuir in a Journal of the American Chemical Society article entitled "The Arrangement of Electrons in Atoms and Molecules". Langmuir wrote that "we shall denote by the term covalence the number of pairs of electrons that a given atom shares with its neighbors.

A Covalent Bond Forming H2 (Right) Where Two Hydrogen Atoms Share The Two Electrons

Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original Covalent Bond article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright Jacek FH (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

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