Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The End Of The Great Bridge

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

The End Of The Great Bridge (Maxwell's Fugue) 4x48 bar Jig for 4 Couples Rod Downey They Stole My Wife From Me last Night Collection
A 4 Couple Jig in a longwise set.

1-8 First couple dances a reel of three (on opposite sides) with the third and fourth couples crossing through third place to begin. Third couple dances out and up and fourth in and up to begin. Second couple steps up to first place on bars 1 and 2.
9-16 First couple and second couple dance crossing tandem reels with the third couple and fourth couples. First couple will be crossing back to own sides and second couple crossing to opposite sides (through third place). They will cross in order 1L, 1M, 2M, 2L. Fourth couple should phrase this carefully. On bars 12 and 13 first and second couples will swap over at the foot of the set so that second man and second lady will be in the lead, as per what are called "tandem" reels in the manual.
17-24 As the first couple dance up to first place (on bars 17 and 18), second couple slowly cross down, fourth couple cross up and third couple cast OFF, so that fourth couple, third couple, and second couple dance mirror reels of three again through places 2, 3 and 4. This time fourth couple will be on opposite sides and second couple will return to own sides. Phrasing is needed for the second couples. Fourth couple should finish near the centre of the set in fourth place, ready to cross over.
25-32 Fourth couple and third couple will now dance a reel of three (in tandem) with the second and first couples in third, second and first places. First couple begin BY DANCING IN AND CASTING into the reel, second couple must dance DOWN BUT THEN LOOP UP fourth couple cross over so that fourth man will be in tandem with the third man and fourth women in tandem with the third woman. Third and fourth couple will be dancing out and UP to begin. Fourth and third couple will swapover in top place so that the fourth couples will be leading down in the second half of the reel. Fourth couple finishes the reel on own side in fourth place.
(Remember, now third place is the "top" of the reel.)
33-40 Third, second and first couples continue this reel with the third couple casting up, second couple dancing in and down and first couple casing to begin. All finish in original places on own side, first couple facing out.
41-48 First couple cast one place, cross giving right hand below the second couple and cast to fourth place, where they cross over giving right hands.
Second, third and fourth couples step up on bars 45 and 46.

Repeat with a new top couple.

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

Dance Notes

The idea behind this dance is that each couple will take turns leading the reels, with the reels of varying kinds, most akin to "Maxwell's Rant."

There are five reels in total.

Third couple are involved in all of them and are the only couple who remain on their own side. They dance two reels up, then one down, then two more up.

The second couple always dance down, but do so differently as time goes on. They need to remember the first three reels are in the bottom three places and the last two are the top three places.

The crossover and swapover idea is from the dance The Dancing Fool.

Be warned, this dance is not for the feint hearted.

(Dance notes by the deviser, Rod Downey)

Dance Information

This jig, The End Of The Great Bridge, was devised in 24 March 2010 and inspired by the challenge of Hugh Foss's Waverley Fugues and, as the name suggests, modelled around Maxwell's Rant.

The title of this dance is the name of one of the great Piobaireachds from the classical repertoire. It was composed by a member of the Maccrimmons clan in 1427 in the midst of the Battle of Inverlochy. In that battle, Donald Balloch was victorious over the Royal Forces. This wonderful piece of music is one of my very favourites.

Recommended music is "Airdrie Lassies". Acceptable recordings would include "Book 26. Twelve Scottish Country Dances" (Alan Gardiner and his Scottish Dance Band), track 1.

Alternative music would be Argyll's Fancy and a suitable recording can be found on the RSCDS recording of The Graded Book.

(Dance information from They Stole My Wife From Me Last Night Collection Of Scottish Country Dances, reproduced here with the kind permission of the deviser, Rod Downey)

The End Of The Great Bridge
"Inverlochy Castle" Horatio McCulloch (1805-1867), Oil On Canvas, c. 1857

Published in They Stole My Wife From Me Last Night Collection, reproduced here with the kind permission of the deviser, Rod Downey.
Image copyright Horatio McCulloch, public domain, National Galleries of Scotland, via Wikimedia Commons.

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