Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Kate Kennedy's Reel

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

Kate Kennedy's Reel (R8x40) 3C (4C set) Lewis N Derrick 1976

1-4 The 1st and 2nd couples join hands on the sides and set, then the 1st couple cast off one place while the 2nd couple dance up one place
5-8 The 2nd, 1st and 3rd couples join hands on the sides and set, then the 1st couple cast off one place while the 3rd couple dance up one place and the 2nd couple set turning to face down
9-16 The 2nd, 3rd and 1st couples dance a grand chain, to begin the 2nd couple dance down, the 3rd couple dance up and the 1st couple cross over in third place; on bar 16 the 3rd man and 1st woman make polite turns to end facing in while the 2nd couple remain facing out in top place
17-24 The 2nd and 1st couples dance a double figure of eight around the 3rd couple, to begin the 2nd couple cast down and the 1st couple cross up
25-32 The 3rd and 1st couples dance the chain progression, ending on sidelines
33-40 The 2nd, 1st and 3rd couples dance six hands round and back

Repeat having passed a couple

(Dance crib compiled by the deviser, Lewis N Derrick 2020)

Dance Information

This dance, Kate Kennedy's Reel, was dedicated to the mystical Lady Katharine Kennedy, the central figure of the annual Kate Kennedy Procession.

When I (Lewis N. Derrick) first discovered the chain progression devised by Eric Forbes, I was so taken with it that I set myself the task of producing three 40-bar 'St Andrews' dances which would all contain this figure and end with a circle.

These dances (then named The St Andrews Jig (now College Echoes), The St Andrews Strathspey (now Shadows On The Scores) and The St Andrews Reel (now Kate Kennedy's Reel)) were devised in 1976.

It was my original intention that they should be danced separately. However, they were first used by the Demonstration Team of the University of St Andrews Celtic Society at the Scottish Universities Scottish Country Dance Festival (SUSCDF) held in Dundee during November 1976. They were danced as a medley (jig twice, strathspey once, reel twice) called 'The St Andrews Suite'.

For those who might be interested in using these three dances as a medley for demonstration purposes, they were linked as follows:

Jig to Strathspey - The 2nd and 3rd couples, likewise the 1st and 4th couples, dance bars 1-8 of the strathspey (the chain progression), after which the 3rd, 2nd and 4th couples dance the strathspey bars 9-40.
Strathspey to Reel - The 3rd and 2nd couples dance bars 1-4 of the reel (setting and casting), this returns the 2nd couple to the top of the set where they stand out the final repetition.

For detailed instructions on the phrasing of the chain progression as devised by Eric Forbes see page 20 of the RSCDS Birmingham Book, 1973 (or, more conveniently, Chain Progression (RF)).

While preparing these dances for publication in 1988 I discovered that my original 'St Andrews' names were already in use. I therefore changed the names while retaining strong St Andrews connections.

Upon publication in 1988 the instructions for the jig and the strathspey were unchanged from 1976, but those for the reel were slightly modified and the copy published in 1988 was taken to supersede the earlier version.

While preparing the original typescripts of the printed leaflet for electronic circulation no changes were made to the published instructions themselves but the opportunity was taken to bring the descriptions more into line with RSCDS Standard Terminology.

Suggested tune: The Hopeful Lover.

Devised November 1976 (bars 17-24 revised December 1986); first published in print 1988; republished electronically 2020

Copyright 1976, 1986, 1988, 2020 Lewis N. Derrick

(Dance information by the deviser, Lewis N Derrick)

Kate Kennedy Procession - Information Video

University Of St Andrews
University Of St Andrews - Wardlaw Wing Of University Hall - The All-Female Section - Just Off Kennedy Gardens

Image copyright Jim Bain under this Creative Commons Licence 2.0.

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