Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Mettle In Their Heels

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

Mettle in Their Heels
Maggie and Duncan Keppie   Haliburton School Of Arts SCD Book 2: Let's dance
32 bar strathspey
Couple facing couple Round The Room
(C=couple facing clockwise, A=couple facing anticlockwise)

  1-8   TANDEM REEL OF 3 AND ½ TURN: C-couple join nearer hands and dance forward to between other couple (who also dance forward), then C-couple drop hands and dance a reel of 3 in tandem with the A-couple starting by passing right shoulder with the opposite man (C-couple switch lead at each end of the reel)(6 bars), then turn the opposite person halfway with the appropriate hand (2 bars);

  9-16 TANDEM REEL OF 3 AND ½ TURN: repeat bars 1-8 with A-couple in tandem, ending with C-couple in the middle nearer hands joined between the A-couple;

17-24 AROUND ROOM AND RETURN: dance round the room past 2 more couples (4 bars) (C-couples dance clockwise AS A-couples dance anticlockwise), then C-couples divide and cast back to original place AS A-couples cast into the middle join nearer hands and dance back to original places, end facing partner with both hands joined and angled so as men can pass each other at the start of the next figure;

25-32 ANCIENT POUSSETTE: A and C couples dance 1½ times anticlockwise around a diamond and turn to end facing next couple around the room; i.e. dance out to side (C-couple towards center of room) with ¼ clockwise turn at end (Bar 25), dance into opposite place with ¼ turn (Bar 26), dance out with ¼ turn (Bar 27), dance into original place with ¼ turn (Bar 28), repeat Bars 25-26 and turn ½ clockwise to end facing next couple around the room (1 bar) - N.B. strathspey setting set is used throughout this poussette and men start with their left foot.

Repeat as required.

(Dance crib compiled by the devisers, Maggie and Duncan Keppie)

Dance Information

The title of this dance, Mettle in Their Heels, comes from the Tam O' Shanter - Poem written by Robert Burns in 1790, while living in Dumfries, Scotland.

But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels
Put life and mettle in their heels.

Tam O' Shanter Poem - Information Video

Tam O' Shanter And The Witches Print
"Tam O' Shanter And The Witches" John Faed (1819-1902), Print, c. 1892

Image copyright John Faed [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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