Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Persian Dance

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

The Persian Dance (R3x48) 3C set Lewis N Derrick 1988

1–8 The 1st and 3rd couples petronella and set twice to end on opposite sides
9–16 The 1st woman, 2nd couple and 3rd man dance a diagonal reel of four, 2nd couple pass left shoulders with partners to begin
17–24 The 1st and 3rd couples petronella and set twice to end back on own sides
25–32 The 1st and 2nd couples dance four hands round to the left and back
33–40 Using nearer hands throughout, the 2nd couple followed by the 1st couple dance down the middle, on bar 36 the 2nd couple turn inwards and dance up under an arch formed by the 1st couple who then turn inwards and follow them back to end 213
41–48 The 1st and 3rd couples pousette to end 231

Repeat twice more from new positions each time (231; 312)


The Persian Dance (R4x48) 4C set Lewis N Derrick 1988

1–8 The 1st and 3rd couples petronella and set twice to end on opposite sides
9–16 The 1st woman, 2nd couple and 3rd man dance a diagonal reel of four, 2nd couple pass left shoulders with partners to begin
17–24 The 1st and 3rd couples petronella and set twice to end back on own sides
25–32 The 1st and 2nd couples and the 3rd and 4th couples, dance four hands round to the left and back
33–40 Using nearer hands throughout, the 2nd couple followed by the 1st couple and the 4th couple followed by the 3rd couple, dance down the middle, on bar 36 the 2nd and 4th couples turn inwards and dance up under arches formed by the 1st and 3rd couples respectively who then turn inwards and follow them back to end 2143
41–48 The 1st and 4th couples pousette to end 2413

Repeat three times more from new positions each time (2413; 4321; 3142)


The Persian Dance (R5x48) 5C set Lewis N Derrick 1988

1–8 The 1st, 3rd and 5th couples petronella and set twice to end on opposite sides
9–16 The 1st woman, 2nd couple and 3rd man, and the 3rd woman, 4th couple and 5th man, dance diagonal reels of four, the 2nd and 4th couples pass left shoulders with partners to begin
17–24 The 1st, 3rd and 5th couples petronella and set twice to end back on own sides
25–32 The 1st and 2nd couples and the 3rd and 4th couples, dance four hands round to the left and back
33–40 Using nearer hands throughout, the 2nd couple followed by the 1st couple and the 4th couple followed by the 3rd couple, dance down the middle, on bar 36 the 2nd and 4th couples turn inwards and dance up under arches formed by the 1st and 3rd couples respectively who then turn inwards and follow them back to end 21435
41–48 The 1st and 4th couples and the 3rd and 5th couples pousette to end 24153

Repeat four times more from new positions each time (24153; 45231; 53412; 31524)

(Dance crib compiled by the deviser, Lewis N Derrick 2020)


Dance Notes

However many couples are dancing these "rules" always apply:
  • all couples in odd-numbered places [1, 3, 5] petronella;
  • all couples in even-numbered places [2, 4] lead diagonal reels passing partners left to begin;
  • couples circle in pairs from the top and any leftover single couple at the bottom stands out;
  • couples in even-numbered places [2, 4] lead down and back followed by the couples in odd-numbered places above them [1, 3] and any leftover single couple at the bottom stands out;
  • the 1st couple must progress so pousette pairs start from them wherever they are and any leftover couples above them (all versions) or below them (4-couple version only) stand out.

Using these instructions, the dance may be performed either in one set or many by any number of couples over three. For example, six couples dance as two times three, seven couples as one times three and one times four, eight couples as two times four, nine couples as three times three, ten couples as two times five, etc. – thus no couple ever needs to sit out.


Dance Information

Suggested tune: The Persian Dance (the music should be adjusted to the longest set dancing).

In the 1980s Rowena Kelley, teacher of Maidenhead Scottish Dancing Club, asked me to devise several dances for odd numbers of people so that she would be able to begin her winter classes even though she didn't have enough dancers for full sets (see The Triangular Suite and The Quinary Suite). This final "universal" effort, based on the old favourite Petronella, was intended to be the ultimate "any number of couples" dance.

Devised 1988, revised 1991, first published electronically 2020.

Copyright 1988, 1991, 2020 Lewis N. Derrick.



Dance information from The McGhie Scottish Country Dance Sheets #20, reproduced here with the kind permission of the deviser, Lewis N Derrick.

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