Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Light On The Waters

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

The Light On The Waters 48 bar Reel for 5 Couples Rod Downey The Johnsonville Collection
A 5 couple 48 bar Reel.
The active couples are the first and third.

1-8 1C and 2C dance a reel of 4 across the set. First man and second lady begin by passing left shoulder, and first lady casts off, second man casts up into the reel. Those people who cast do not pass the last left shoulder of the reel, but simply dance directly across the set into places. First lady finishes facing out. All finish in original places 3C and 4C dance similarly, but changing shoulder. To wit:
Now 4M and 3L pass RIGHT shoulder, and their partners cast into a LEFT shoulder reel of 4 across the set, and 3M finishes facing out, the casters not passing last right shoulder.
9-16 1M and 1L dance parallel figures of eight around second and fourth couples on the sidelines passing the person to their right by the right to begin.
3M and 3L dance a figures of eight on the sides passing the person on their right to begin, and hence beginning by going up, and also around the 2nd and 4th couples.
As the couples pass through 3rd place at the end of bar 12, 1C has precedence.
17-24 Active couples dance a chase. To wit:
first lady followed by her partner casts off one place around second lady continues down between the 4th couple (who, like the 2C are stepping up on bars 3 and 4 of the phrase, and will be in 3rd place at the end of bar 20), and then 1L dances up around 4M (now in 3rd man's place), and then across the set into (slightly before) second lady's place facing out, first man in second man's place facing in.
3rd couple similarly, but the man leads the chase, and the initial cast is on the men's side and also down, involving the stationary 5th couple, and around the 5th lady.
25-28 First couple with second above, dance LEFT hands across once round.
First lady faces out.
Third couple with fourth couple similarly dance RIGHT hands across once round, third man faces out.
29-32 First couple with fourth couple dance RIGHT hands across once round and finish with 1L close behind 4L (near the sideline) facing down and out, and 4M close behind 1M facing UP and IN.
Note that the 4th couple dance two RH across in a row Similarly 3rd and 5th couple dance LEFT hands across once round, and finish with 5L close behind 3L facing in and up, and 5M dancing down to be close behind 3M facing OUT and up (5th and 3rd men "looping" slightly in on bar 32 slightly pulling back LEFT shoulder) more or less in 4th place facing up.
33-40 1L and 4L, 3L and 5L operating in tandem, and passing collective right shoulder, dance a reel of 3 on the sidelines with 2L. The first time the 1L, 4L pair reaches the end of set, the should lead change. Thus, 4L and 1L lead change at the bottom of the set, so that 4L leads initially and then 1L leads back in, and they have no lead change at the top; but dance straight into progressed places on bar 8, with 1L leading. 3L and 5L have no lead changes so that 3L will lead the second half of the reel and they simply dance into progressed places on bar 8. Note that there is only ONE lead change for ONE pair. At the end of the reels, couple curl into place.
For the men, 1M and 4M, 3M and 5M operating in tandem, and begin the reel with 1M and 4M passing 2M, LEFT shoulder to begin. The 1M,4M pair should lead change at the top of the set each time, with only one lead change. Again the 3M, 5M pair has no lead change.
Finish in order 2, 4, 1, 5, 3.
41-48 All dance 10 hands round and back.
Finishing order 2, 4, 1, 5, 3.

Repeat from new positions.

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


Dance Notes

Revised (fixing the reels) 23 February 2018, and then 20 March 2018, when it was first danced (changing the reels on the Men's side to be left shoulder).

(Dance notes by the deviser, Rod Downey)


Dance Information

This dance, The Light On The Waters, was devised on 2nd November, 2017.

A tribute to Iain Boyd, in recognition of 50 years (!) as a certificated teacher.

The idea occurred to me as we were walking through Iain's lovely dance The Meeting Of The Waters, at Island Bay's final night, probably due to my low attention span.

Evidently this dance is a tribute to Iain's dance.

I would like to suggest that you use Iain's recommended tune "The Meeting of the Waters (P/M Donald MacLeod)" if you have live music, but naturally there is no recording of this in a 5 x 48 R set.

Suitable recorded alternatives include "Reel", track 14 of Catherine Fraser and Duncan Smith, "Old Favourites and Odd Couples", The Sally Gardens, used as the lead tune for "Bean Shea Fancy" as recorded on Dancers Choice Vol 2. by Robert Whitehead and his band, or the music for "The Recumbent Stone" as recorded on "The Netherwoods Collection" by Ian Muir. Personally I would prefer "The Sally Gardens" from these 3.

The Light On The Waters
The Light On The Waters


Published in The Johnsonville Collection.
Dance information from The Johnsonville Collection Of Scottish Country Dances, reproduced here with the kind permission of the deviser, Rod Downey.
Image copyright Kenneth Muir, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.

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