Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Red Poppy

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

The Red Poppy Medley for 4 Men and 8 Women Devised by Stanley Wilkie (1926 - 2017) of RSCDS Edinburgh Branch
South Western Scottish Version (slightly modified from the original)
The set is arranged in a square with a Man between two Women on each side of the square.
2 chords:
On the first chord Men step into the centre and turn to face their partner Women. (The Men are back to back in the centre.)
On the second chord all bow or curtsey.

Strathspey
1-8 Women face their corner Woman and pass by the right to dance interlocking reels of four and finish on the sides of the square, hands joined, facing in. While Men dance out from the centre and spiral to the right and, joining hands at the start of bar two, dance four right hands across and left hands back and, on bar 8, pulling left shoulder back, finish back to back in the centre facing partners.
9-16 Women, with nearer hands joined on the sides, set, advance (making arches) towards the centre, retire (still with arches) back to the sides of the square and set with nearer hands joined on the sides.
While Men set, dance forward through the arches, turn right about to face in towards the centre, pass through the arches, turn right about to face out from the centre and set. (The Men are again back to back in the centre.)
17-24 Each Man with his two partners dance three hands round to the left for four steps. The circle goes about 1½ times round which has the effect of swopping the left and right hand Women. The Women break hands and join up with other Women (1s with 4s and 2s with 3s) to circle 6 hands once round to the left.
25-32 The circles break again and join up to circle 12 hands round (1s join with 2s and 3s with 4s) {ie original right-hand 1st Woman joins with left-hand 2nd Woman and right-hand 3rd Woman joins with left-hand 4th Woman} and finish in a square formation. The Men will be in their original positions but their partners will be on the opposite side of the Man. The Men retain hands with their partners.
(NB: All subsequent descriptions below refer to the position of the Women at that time not to their original positions.)
33-40 The 1s and 3s, with hands joined, advance for two bars, retire for two bars and repeat while 2s and 4s wait for two bars, advance for two bars, retire for two bars, advance for one bar and retire for one bar.
41-48 Each threesome dances a reel of three on the sides of the square. To start, the Man passes the Woman on his right by the right. On bar 46 the right-hand Woman leaves the reel, on bar 47 the Man leaves the reel and on bar 48 all finish with hands joined in a St Andrew's Cross formation. All right-hand Women have hands joined in the centre. The arms of the cross are on the diagonal of the original square.
49-56 All dance round clockwise finishing where they started.
57-64 Still facing clockwise, each threesome dance the Shepherd's Crook movement whereby the right-hand Woman dances under the arch made by the Man and the left-hand Woman, (the Man and left-hand Woman stand still for bars 57 and 58) then the Man and the left-hand Woman turn inwards dancing under the arch. Repeat with left-hand Woman dancing under the arch (the Man and right-hand Woman stand still for bars 61 and 62). On the last beat of bar 64 all clap, Man turning outwards to face the left-hand Woman anticipating the change to reel time.

Reel
65-68 Each Man sets to and turns the outside Woman using skip change of step and right arm elbow grip, Man has left arm raised.
69-72 Each Man sets to and turns the inside Woman using skip change of step with left arm elbow grip, Man has right arm raised.
73-80 Still on the diagonal, all dance Reels of three, starting by the Man and outside Woman passing by the right. Men have raised arms and on the last bar dance through the middle of the reel towards the outside of the set ready for…
81-88 Still on the diagonal, all dance three right hands across and left hands back. At the start of bar 87 the diagonal breaks and, with right-hand Woman leading, all finish on the sides of the square. The positions are the same as at the end of bar 32.
89-90 The 1s and 3s cross over giving right hand to the opposite person and face in.
91-92 The 2s and 4s cross over giving right hand to the opposite person and face in.
93-96 Repeat bars 89-92 back to place except on the last bar all right-hand Woman face out.
97-104 Men take a step back and stand still. All Women dance crossing Reels of four. To start, the left-hand Women dance in towards the centre to dance left hands across half-way while the right-hand Women dance towards the left-hand Woman's position and join the reel passing by the right a left-hand Woman. The orientation of the reels are on the diagonals of the left-hand women. On the last two bars all Women dance straight to positions in the square.
105-112 Men, with raised arms (starting from their positions slightly outside the set), dance a Reel of four on the centre line. (To start, 1st and 3rd Men pass by the left in the centre while 4th Man dances to 1st Man's place and 2nd Man dances to 3rd Man's place.) On the last bar 2nd and 4th Men do not pass by the left but curve to the right to finish back to back, 2nd Man faces 1st Man and 4th Man faces 3rd M. 1st and 3rd Men finish slightly in from the sides.
While the Women, set for two bars pulling back right shoulder during the two bars, to face out, 4 spring points, set for two bars pulling back right shoulder during the two bars to face in and 4 spring points.
113-120 Men set (hands on hips) and 4 high cuts (arms raised). 1st and 3rd Men set on the spot (hands on hips) pulling back right shoulder to turn once round while 2nd and 4th Men petronella out to the right (hands on hips) towards their original positions (all finishing slightly in from the square). All Men dance 4 high cuts (arms raised) moving backwards slightly so all finish in original places). While Women, giving right hand to partner Woman to start, dance Grand Chain half-way round the set (two bars per hand). Men will finish in original places but Women will finish on the opposite side of the square from where they originally started.
121-128 All dance twelve hands round to the left finishing in a square formation.


Dance Notes

2 chords:
On the first chord Men step into the centre and turn to face their current partners. (The Men are back to back in the centre.)
On the second chord all bow heads.
There is then a period of silence where all stand with heads bowed.

The music recommences in Reel time.
All stand still for two bars. On bars 3 and 4 Men walk towards their current partners and take hands, 3rd Man and partners face out, others face in. 3rd Man and partners walk off, followed by 4th Man, 2nd Man and 1st Man.

Here are The Red Poppy Handwritten Instructions taken from photocopies of the original made by the deviser in 1986 and supplied by William Morris in 2018; a copy of the Word document of the current South Western Scottish Version is also included.


Dance Instruction Videos

The Red Poppy - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

This dance, The Red Poppy, was first performed by a Scottish team of Officer Cadets before HM The Queen at the British Legion 'Festival of Remembrance' in the Royal Albert Hall, London, on 8 November 1986, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of The Battle of The Somme.

Recommended Music:
Arranged by Chris Dewhurst and played by Chris and Julie Dewhurst.
It is a medley of tunes by James Scott Skinner comprising 64 bars of strathspey, 'The Iron Man' and 'Castle Spynie', and a 64 bar reel, 'The Queen's welcome to Invercauld'.
It will be included on a CD called 'Short and Sweet' to be recorded in 2019 by Chris Dewhurst and his band.

(Dance Information compiled by William Morris, 2018)

The remembrance poppy is an artificial flower that has been used since 1921 to commemorate military personnel who have died in war, and represents a common or field poppy, Papaver rhoeas.

Inspired by the World War I poem "In Flanders Fields", and promoted by Moina Michael, they were first adopted by the American Legion to commemorate American soldiers killed in that war (1914-1918). They were then adopted by military veterans' groups in parts of the British Empire.

Today, they are mostly used in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, to commemorate their servicemen and women killed in all conflicts. There, small artificial poppies are often worn on clothing leading up to Remembrance Day/Armistice Day, and poppy wreaths are often laid at war memorials.

Remembrance Poppy - Information Video

Red Poppy Image
Red Poppy - Common Poppy (Papaver Rhoeas)


Dance Information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence.
Text from this original Remembrance Poppy article on Wikipedia.
Image Copyright [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

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