Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Iona Cross

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

THE IONA CROSS (M-S3x32+3xR32) 6C Sq.Set John W Mitchell Whetherly Book 17
6C Square set 5s face 1s and 6s face 3s.

1- 8 1s+5s+6s+3s dance parallel RSh reels of 4 up/down set
9-16 1s+5s and 6s+3s dance DoSiDo as 2s and 4s advance and retire, 1s+5s and 6s+3s dance ½ R&L (1s and 3s end facing side couples)
17-24 2s and facing couple (1L+3M) with 4s and facing couple (1M+3L) dance parallel RSh reels of 4 across set
25-32 Each centre dancer (1s and 3s) dances RH across with nearest 2 corner dancers, centre dancers dance LH across once round in centre as outside couples (5s+2s+6s+4s) circle 8H round (or chase) to left ¾ way (quickly) to new positions with 2s at top, 6s in 2nd place, 4s in 3rd place and 5s in 4th place

Repeat twice as Strathspey then three times as Reel

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

The Iona Cross
John W Mitchell Whetherly Book 17
Medley S96 + R96 bars 6 Couple Repeat 6 Couple Set Square Set - 5s6s inside
5s6s (Ls on partner's right) back to back in the centre, 5s facing 1s, 6s facing 3s.


  1-8     1s5s6s3s parallel reels of 4 up and down the set;

  9-12   1s5s 6s3s dance dos-à-dos WHILE 2s4s advance and retire;

13-16   1s5s 6s3s rights and lefts halfway, 1s 3s finishing facing out;

17-24   4L1M1L2M 4M3L3M2L parallel reels of 4 across the set, 1s 3s finishing facing out;

25-28   4L5M1M 1L5M2M 4M6M3L 3M6L2L right hands across;

29-32   1s3s left hands across WHILE 5s2s6s4s chase ¾ round the set, finishing 2s6s4s5s with 1s 3s back to back in the centre, facing their partner's original places.

33-96   repeat twice from new positions, finishing 3s4s1s2s with 6s5s back to back in the centre, 6s facing up, 5s down.


97-192 repeat bars 1-32 three times from new positions, all finishing in their original starting places.

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

Dance Notes

25-28   1M 1L 3M 3L each dance hands across with the two opposite gender dancers to her/his right in the corner of the set.

29-32   This chase is almost impossibly difficult in only 4 bars with consequential damage to bars 1-8 of the next repeat; a chase of ¼ followed by 4s 5s 2s 6s set on the sides is much more comfortable.

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams

Dance Instruction Videos

The Iona Cross - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

Iona (Scottish Gaelic: "Ì Chaluim Chille") is a small island in the Inner Hebrides off the western coast of Scotland. It was a centre of Celtic Christianity for four centuries and is today renowned for its tranquility and natural beauty.

Iona Abbey, now an ecumenical church, is of particular historical and religious interest to pilgrims and visitors alike. It is the most elaborate and best-preserved ecclesiastical building surviving from the Middle Ages in the Western Isles of Scotland.

In front of the Abbey stands the 9th century St Martin's Cross, one of the best-preserved Celtic crosses in the British Isles, and a replica of the 8th century St John's Cross

Iona - Information Video

St Martin's Cross
St Martin's Cross And The Abbey, Iona

Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original Iona article on Wikipedia.
Text from this original Iona Abbey article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright Colin Smith under this Creative Commons Licence 2.0.

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