Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Lightbulb Reel

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

The Lightbulb Reel (R8x32) A 32 bar reel for 3 couples in a 4 couple longwise set. Marian Jennifer Holmes

1- 4 1s lead down the middle; 2s step up on 3 and 4
5- 8 1s turn in place; cast up behind the 3s into 2nd place
9-16 1s and 3s Right hands Across; Left hands back
17-24 1s, 2s and 3s, right shoulder reel along own lines
25-28 1s and 2s Right hands across
29-32 Everyone (including the 4s) turn their partner with their right ready to begin the dance again; or new top couple.

(Dance crib compiled by the deviser, Marian Jennifer Holmes)

Dance Notes

29-32 This is a slightly unconventional adaptation of the 3-couple repeat in 4-couple set format; the standing couple of the full set, who would normally be in 4th or 1st place of the full set awaiting the next repeat, join in the turn by the right.

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams

Dance Instruction Videos

The Lightbulb Reel - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

Background story: None of these characters are brightest bulbs in the drawer.

2s need the 1s help to change a lightbulb.

1s are eager but in the confusion they end up helping the 3s instead. It isn't until they screw in the 3s lightbulb (right hands across) that they realize they were supposed to help the 2s. Therefore, they must unscrew the 3s lightbulb (left hands back). 2s and 1s are now looking for each other and the 3s, not having any idea of what is going on, follow the others (reel). Finally, the 1s get it right and help the 2s screw in their lightbulb (right hands across). Everyone celebrates getting it right (including the 4s)!

Music: Anything fun and lively

(Dance information by the deviser, Marian Jennifer Holmes)

Changing a lightbulb
Man Changing Lightbulb In Chandelier, 1935

Image copyright Harris And Ewing, photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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