Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Magic Roundabout (Freemantle)

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

The Magic Roundabout
Reuben Freemantle  www.scottish-country-dancing-dictionary.com
Strathspey   8 x 32 bars   2 Couple Repeat   4 Couple Set   Longwise Set

  1-6   All dance ¾ of a snowball form of rights and lefts:

  1-2   1s cross by the right, finishing facing down;

  3-4   1L2M 1M2L cross by the left on the sides;

  5-6   2s 1s cross by the right, finishing facing in, 1s in 2nd place, 2s in 1st place on opposite sides;

  7-8   2L1M 2M1L take hands on the sides and set;

  9-14 2s1s dance the first 6 bars of the circulating knot for 2 couples:
2s dance bars 1-6 of the inverted knot for 2 couples as the leading couple (from top place) WHILE 1s dance the knot for 2 couples as the leading couple (from bottom place), partners finishing with left hands joined, 1s in 1st position on opposite sides of the centreline, 2s in 2nd position on own sides;

15-16 retaining hold, 1s 2s turn by the left into allemande hold on the centreline, 1s facing down, 2s up;

17-24 1s2s dance the circulating allemande for 2 couples:
1s dance the inverted allemande for 2 couples as the following couple (from top place) WHILE 2s dance the allemande for 2 couples as the following couple (from bottom place), finishing 2s in 1st place, 1s in 2nd place on opposite sides;

25-26 taking hands on the sides, all set facing partners;

27-30 giving right hands, 1s cross up into half figures of 8 across;

31-32 taking hands on the sides, all set facing partners.

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


Dance Notes

  9-16 In the circulating knot for 2 couples, the top couple dance the inverted knot for 2 couples WHILE the bottom couple dance the knot for 2 couples, both as from the leading place. They dance anticlockwise around each other, normally finishing having exchanged places but here with a modification of the final 2 bars to suit the succeeding figure:

  9-10 2s 1s turn by the right into allemande hold, finishing back-to-back on the centreline, 2s facing up, 1s down;

11-11 retaining allemande hold, both couples make a quarter turn anticlockwise and dance out to the sideline;

12-12 retaining allemande hold, both couples make a quarter turn anticlockwise and dance one place along the sideline, 2s down the Mn's, 1s up the Ls';

13-13 releasing allemande hold but retaining left hand hold, both couples make a quarter turn anticlockwise to finish in the sidelines;

14-14 retaining left hand hold, both couples make a quarter turn anticlockwise, moving inwards to finish across the centreline;

15-16 this is the modification to prepare for the circulating allemande which follows.

17-24 In the circulating allemande for 2 couples, the top couple dance the inverted allemande for 2 couples WHILE the bottom couple dance the allemande for 2 couples, both as from the following place. They dance anticlockwise around each other, normally finishing in the sidelines having exchanged places as here:

17-17 1s 2s, already in allemande hold, dance diagonally to the right, finishing in a line across, 1s facing down, 2s up;

18-18 retaining allemande hold, both couples advance half a place (note that this is slightly different from allemande/inverted allemande where they would dance a whole place);

19-19 retaining allemande hold, both couples make a quarter turn anticlockwise and dance halfway across the set;

20-20 retaining allemande hold, both couples continue across the set to the sidelines and make a quarter turn anticlockwise to finish 1s facing down on the Mn's side, 2s up the Ls' (note that this is slightly different from allemande/inverted allemande where they would also dance half a place along the sidelines);

21-21 retaining allemande hold, both couples make a quarter turn anticlockwise to finish in the sidelines;

22-22 retaining allemande hold, both couples advance, make a quarter turn anticlockwise and unwind the hold to finish with arms crossed, facing partner across the centreline;

23-24 releasing hands, all dance backwards with small steps to the sidelines.

(Dance notes by the deviser, Reuben Freemantle)


Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams


Dance Instruction Videos

The Magic Roundabout (Freemantle) - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

Also see the dance The Magic Roundabout (Fischer) by Carola Fischer.

This dance is so-named because the two couples gyrate around each other in the circulating knot and allemande which are the distinctive parts of the dance.

(Dance information by the deviser, Reuben Freemantle)


The Magic Roundabout which the deviser had in mind was the English-language children's television programme that ran from 1965 to 1977 on the BBC; he would certainly not wish the dance to be associated with any of the, blessedly few, road junctions consisting of multiple mini-roundabouts in a ring which he regards as an abomination.

The Magic Roundabout used the footage of the French stop motion animation show Le Manège enchanté, but with completely different scripts and characters.

The French series, created by Serge Danot with the help of Ivor Wood and Wood's French wife, Josiane, was broadcast from 1964 to 1974 on ORTF (Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision Française). The BBC originally rejected translating the series because it was "charming... but difficult to dub into English", but later produced a version of the series using the French footage with new English-language scripts that bore little relation to the original storylines.

The English version of The Magic Roundabout, written and told by Eric Thompson, was broadcast in 441 five-minute-long episodes from 18 October 1965 to 25 January 1977. It proved a great success and attained cult status, and when in October 1966 it was moved from the slot just before the evening news to an earlier children's viewing time, adult viewers complained to the BBC!

The main character is Dougal (also known as Doogal) who was a drop-eared variety of the Skye Terrier.

Other characters include Zebedee, a talking jack-in-the-box with magical powers; Brian, a snail; Ermintrude, a cow; Dylan (named after Bob Dylan); and Flappy, a hipster rabbit. There are two notable human characters: Florence, a young girl; and Mr Rusty, the elderly moustached operator of the roundabout.

Dougal, Brian, Ermintrude and Dylan all reside in a place called The Magic Garden. The exact distance from where the roundabout and The Magic Garden are in relation to each other was never specifically stated, but given that Zebedee and Florence would always travel there by magical teleportation, it was either considerably far away or it was simply faster to get there by those means.

The show has a distinctive visual style. The set is a brightly coloured and stylised park containing the eponymous roundabout (a fairground carousel).

The Magic Roundabout - Information Video

The Magic Roundabout


Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original The Magic Roundabout article on Wikipedia.

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