Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Parting Glass

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

The Parting Glass 32 bar Strathspey for 3 couples Rod Downey The Golden Bear Collection
A 32 bar Strathspey for 3 couples in a 4 couple set

1-4 First and second couples dance Pass Right Progression To Wit: 1C and 2C dance forward and pass partner right shoulder (1 bar only) and immediately turn to the right. The couples should not dance to the other side, but remain reasonably close. They then dance in the direction they are facing, men down and ladies up, turning right again and then right again back to own sides into progressed places. (To wit: The men have the 2nd man leading, dance down to second place, turn right, dance to own side, turn right and then dance up the men's side, the finishing in order 2nd man at the top and first in second place; the ladies symmetrically, but starting upwards.)
5-8 2C and 1C dance 4 hands round once. (Teaching note: For new dancers, the hit is that it is important that they get all the way back to sidelines, else 1M has the desire to give LH to 3C.)
9-16 1M with 3C and 1L with 2C dance right hands across followed by 1M with 2C and 1L with 3C dancing left hands across (teapots) finishing with 1C right shoulder to right shoulder in the middle of second place facing partner's side. (Don't rush)
17-24 1L dances a figure of eight across around the 3C passing left shoulder around 3M to begin and finishes between the 3C, who turn to face up.
Similarly, 1M left shoulder around 2W, and finish between 2C who face down.
25-28 Up and down the set, 1M with 2C and 1L with 3C advance and retire.
29-32 1C dance a two hand turn 1 34 to finish in second place.

Repeat, having passed a couple.

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

Dance Information

This strathspey, The Parting Glass, was devised on 25/2/2021 as a simple dance for a St. Patrick's Day themed club night. I have used the simple pass right progression in the Johnsonville Collection.

Our new dancers have not done reels, and have only just started corners, so the formations are chosen to suit these limitations.

The Parting Glass - Song is a traditional song claimed by both the Scots and the Irish (but I suspect not the Presbyterians).

The recommended tune is "The Parting Glass", and Aileen Logie made up a lovely set: The Parting Glass, Star of the County Down, Salley Gardens, and Ceol a' Phiobaire.

The only recording of the lead tune for SCD seems tune 3 in "The Lea Rig" by Charlie Jemmett and his Band in the album "Down South".

At a pinch any decent recording of "The Lea Rig" will work.

(Dance information from The Golden Bear Collection Of Scottish Country Dances, reproduced here with the kind permission of the deviser, Rod Downey)

The Parting Glass Song - Information Video

The Parting Glass
Parting Glass, British, Burslem, Staffordshire, Stirrup cup, Ceramics-Pottery, c. 1780

Published in The Golden Bear Collection, reproduced here with the kind permission of the deviser, Rod Downey.
Image copyright Metropolitan Museum of Art, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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