Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Queen City Salute

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

THE QUEEN CITY SALUTE (M-8x(S32+R32)) 3C (4C set) G Dale Birdsall RSCDS Book 37

1- 8 1s cast to meet below 3s then 1s dance up to meet 2s while 2s cast up dancing in to face 1s and 1s+2s set
9-16 2s+1s circle 4H round and back
17-20 1s dance Petronella turn to end middle Lady at top facing down and Man facing up as 2s+3s change places RH on the sides, 3s+1s+2s set
21-24 1s dance Petronella turn to 2nd place opposite sides as 3s+2s cross RH, 3s+1s+2s set
25-28 1M+2M change places LH as 1L+2L change RH, 3M+2M change places RH as 3L+2L change places LH
29-32 3M+1M change places LH as 3L+1L change RH, 2s+1s+3s cross RH

1-32 Repeat above in reel time

(MINICRIB. Dance crib compiled by Charles Upton, Deeside Caledonian Society, and his successors)

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams

Dance Instruction Videos

The Queen City Salute - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

The Queen City Salute is a well-crafted 64-bar medley, a strathspey/reel combo that concludes with a lovely formation called the Serpentine.

But what is the provenance of this royal salute? In Canada, there are three queenly cities reaching from coast to coast with a third directionally in the middle... provincial capitals all. We have Victoria, BC, in the west, Charlottetown, PEI, in the east (Charlotte was the missus of King George II), and Regina, SK (Latin word for 'queen' as most of us know), kind of in the middle. Scottish country dancing seems to thrive in all three. Is this Salute for one of them?

Maybe not, because in Hyde Park, London, there is a reach of water called the Serpentine, and a short stroll down Constitution Hill from there brings one to Buckingham Palace, home of Her Majesty. HM Queen Elizabeth II is, of course, Patron of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society and in her day was an accomplished dancer. Is London the Queen City at issue?

Well, as the expression goes... none of the above! The Queen City of this dance happens to be Cincinnati, a mid-western US city on the banks of the Ohio River where Scottish country dancing is apparently alive and well. And why is Cincinnati referred to as the Queen City?

It is said to originate with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, memorializing the city's vineyards, Catawba Wine - Poem.

And this Song of the Vine,
This greeting of mine,
The winds and the birds shall deliver
To the Queen of the West,
In her garlands dressed,
On the banks of the Beautiful River.

Way back, there was a Roman aristocrat named Cincinnatus who in his day (around the year 460 BC) was a paragon of civic virtue on whom this US city was modelled many centuries later. And the Serpentine? Guess what? Cincinnati has a tourist attraction along the Ohio River bank. It is called the Serpentine Wall.

Finally, who should be credited for this interesting medley? The dance was devised by one G. Dale Birdsall, a Montrealer originally, who I believe moved to the US and settled in Cincinnati. The Queen City Salute was published in Volume 2 of RSCDS Book 37 (Frae A' The Airts), which I guess would be some time in the early 1990s.

The Barry Pipes Canon 068- May, 2014.

Catawba Wine Song - Information Video

Cincinnati in the year 1800, population 750, when only about 30 structures had been built
Cincinnati, Lithograph Based On A Painting By A.J. Swing, 1800

Dance information from Set&Link, RSCDS Toronto Newsletter - What's In A Name? The Barry Pipes Canon 2005 - 2018, reproduced here with kind permission. Copyright Barry Pipes. All rights reserved.
Image copyright, via Wikimedia Commons.

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