Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

First Foot And Friend

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

First Foot And Friend 8x32 bar Strathspey for 3 Couples Rod Downey They Stole My Wife From Me last Night Collection
A three couple, 32 bar Strathspey

1-4 All three couples half turn and twirl. (That is, with two hands turn partner half way, for a brief time retain hands, and then cast pulling right shoulder back to finish on opposite sides.) I should remark that I prefer to think of this as half turn, hesitation, and cast. It certainly makes the covering easier. This is the way that Alec Hay devised it.
5-8 Repeat back to original places.
9-12 First couple cross right hands and cast off one place finishing in second place facing down.
13-16 First couple dance a half figure of eight down round the third couple, crossing down and giving left hands, finishing passing left shoulders to face first corners.
17-20 First couple turn first corners with both hands (2 bars) and pass right shoulder to face second corners (2 bars).
21-24 First couple turn second corners with both hands (2 bars) and pass right shoulder to finish in second place on own side (2 bars).
25-32 All three couples dance six hands round and back.

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

Dance Information

This strathspey, First Foot And Friend, was devised in March 2007 as a teaching dance for half figure of eight and to have similar simple corner movements to "Delvine Side".

Given to Joanne Ang and Selwyn Ng, the latter being the "First Foot" at Hogmannay in the beginning of 2007.

Recommended music is "Willie's Awa", by Neil Gow, and a suitable recording is for "Bydand", track 12 on "Dancing Forth", by Gordon Shand and his band.

(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)

In Scotland, people have different traditions for New Year. They often give gifts and visit their friends and neighbors. There's a special focus on the "first-foot," which is the first person to visit someone's home in the new year.

The first-foot is traditionally expected to bring good luck and prosperity to the household. While the characteristics of an auspicious first-foot may vary, it is often considered favorable if the visitor is a tall, dark-haired male. Such a person is believed to usher in positive energy and blessings for the coming year.

Upon entering the home, the first-foot may present symbolic gifts, such as coins, salt, or traditional foods, symbolizing abundance and good fortune. This customary visitation is a social and communal aspect of Hogmanay, emphasizing the importance of shared moments and positive beginnings in the transition from the old year to the new.

The origins of first-footing is uncertain, although there may be a connection to the Viking Invasion of the British Isles: "This may go back to the time of Vikings when the arrival of a blond stranger at your door would be the cause of fear and alarm". Blonde hair is often associated with Vikings in popular culture, possibly influenced by descriptions in some historical texts.

the 'first-foot', the first person to visit someone's home in the new year
First Footing, Scotland, W. Duke, Sons And Co., Commercial Color Lithograph, c. 1890

Published in They Stole My Wife From Me Last Night Collection, reproduced here with the kind permission of the deviser, Rod Downey.
Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original First Foot article on Wikipedia.
Text from this original Hogmanay article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright W. Duke, Sons And Co., Creative Commons Licence 1.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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