Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Russian Fly

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

The Russian Fly
Reuben Freemantle
Reel   4 x 32 bars   4 Couple Repeat   4 Couple Set   Longwise Set

  1-4   1s2s 3s4s half rights and lefts, 1s finishing facing down, 4s up;

  5-6   1L4L 1M4M turn ¾ by the right on the sides, finishing 1L 4L 1M 4M in line across, 1s facing up, 4s down;

  7-8   4L1M turn ¾ by the left to finish on the centre line, 4L facing Mn's side above 1M facing Ls' side WHILE 2L 2M 1L 4M 3L 3M set individually, turning on the spot to finish 2L 2M 3L 3M facing clockwise, 1L facing down, 4M up;

  9-24 all dance the full muxa reel:

  9-10 all give right shoulder to the approaching dancer as though in or joining parallel reels of 4 on the sides but from 1L's and 4M's place pull right shoulder back on paths which do not cross to finish on the centre line, left shoulder to left shoulder with each other;

11-24 repeat the previous 2-bars from new positions seven times, all finishing as at bar 9;

25-27 2L4L 2M4M 1L3L 1M3M turn by the right, finishing 2s4s1s3s in the opposite side lines, all facing clockwise around the set;

28-32 all chase clockwise halfway around the set, finishing 3s1s4s2s.

(MAXICRIB, Scottish country dancing instructions compiled by Reuben Freemantle)

Dance Notes

    -4   Polite turn by 2L 3M, only.

    -6   1s 4s release hands.

  7-8   1s 4s must not be tempted to balance in line across the set;
pulling right shoulder back, 2L 3M (in first corners' positions) turn once round on the spot;
pulling right shoulder back, 2M 1L 4M 3L turn halfway on the spot.

  9-10 Note that the starting points are at exactly the 2 bar intervals of the muxa reel and so every subsequent 2 bar phrase is the same; there is no requirement to modify the first two bars to start the reel.

  9-24 Follow exactly 2 bars behind the dancer immediately preceding you in the muxa reel.
Except from 1L's and 4M's places, always follow or join the path of parallel reels of 4 on the sides; in particular, from 1M's and 4L's places, dance out at least to the sideline ready to dance back in to pass right shoulder at the end in the next, 2-bar, phrase.

25-     Note that the dancer to be turned is the one to whom you gave right shoulder at bar 9.

25-27 Although slightly counter-intuitive, this phrasing gives extra time for 4s 1s to reach their designated places in the side lines.

28-32 This phrasing allows exactly 1 bar between adjacent places in the side lines and 2 bars to cross the set.

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams

Dance Instruction Videos

The Russian Fly - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

The name (the muxa reel) of the figure in bars 9-24 is derived from that of the axum reel which follows the same path but in the reverse direction, just as the reverse reel of 4 on which the axum reel is based is the reverse of the more common reel of 4 on which the muxa reel is based. It could be called the reverse axum reel but muxa is shorter and avoids having the name for a derivative figure qualified by reverse when the basic figure is not.

This dance contains the first known instance of the muxa reel though the credit for the figure should go to Pat Davoll who had it in a draft version of her Lamp Black Lizzie but chose to use the extant axum reel figure in her published version.

The dance name derives from "муха" (Russian for a "fly") which transliterates from the Cyrillic alphabet into the Roman as "muxa"; "муха" is pronounced as "mooch~" in English where:
"oo" is as in "noon";
"ch" is as in "loch"; and
"~" represents the very short, indeterminate, vowel sound.

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