Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary


Scottish Country Dance Instruction

SPIFFIN' (J5x32) 5C Sq.Set David And Avril Quarrie And Friends Chicago 25th Anniversary Collection
5s facing 1s

1- 8 5s dance reels of 3 with 1s+3s (5s start by passing opposite dancer by LSh)
9-16 5L dances RH across with 2s while 5M dances LH across with 4s, 5s lead up through 1s and cast back to centre
17-24 5L dances LH across with 2s while 5M dances RH across with 4s, 5s lead down through 3s and cast back to centre
25-32 5s Tulloch turn right (Kilt Grip) twice, 5s+1s set and dance part LH across (5s dance ½ way while 1s dance ¼ way and into centre to face 2s)

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

David and Avril Quarrie and Friends
Jig 5 x 32 bars 5 Couple Repeat 5 Couple Set Square Set - 5s inside
5s face 1s to start.

  1-8   1L5M3M 1M5L3L parallel reels of 3, 5s giving left shoulder to 1s to start;

  9-12 4s5M left hands across WHILE 5L2s right hands across;

13-16 5s lead out between 1s, cast and meet in the centre;

17-20 4s5M right hands across WHILE 5L2s left hands across;

21-24 5s lead out between 3s, cast up and meet in the centre;

25-28 5s turn by the right twice to finish facing 1s;

29-30 5s 1s set facing;

31-32 5s1s left hands across halfway, 5s finishing in 1st place, 1s finishing in the centre facing 2s ready to repeat with 2nd place as the new head of the set.

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

Dance Notes

Note that the progression is highly unusual and so many find it counter-intuitive. Instead of having the new 1s at the top of the set at the beginning of the new repeat, the set is logically rotated ¼ clockwise so that the former 2s, who are still in 2nd place of the full set, are now the top couple. Also, the finishing order of the dance is 41235, not as at the start.

31-32 1s must take care not to go too far in the left hands across; they need to finish in the centre, facing slightly to the right of 2s, ready to flow into the left shoulder, parallel reels of 3 on bar 1 of the next repeat.

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams

Dance Instruction Videos

Spiffin' - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

This jig, Spiffin', was devised over a Christmas period when Avril and David Quarrie were staying at the Spiff Inn in Staunton, West Virginia with eight dancing friends from the Chicago and Washington areas. The group of ten created the dance Spiffin' during after-dinner dancing.

Apparently the dance instructions listed the devisers in reverse alphabetical order leading to Quarries' names being the first named dancer-devisers.

The other devisers were Mel and Ellie Briscoe, Mary Brown, Elaine Brunken, John Collins, Sue Eisley, Ingrid Kendall, and Susie Kinsman.

Spiffin' is a slang expression meaning cool, chic, all done perfectly.

Staunton, West Virginia,
Staunton, West Virginia

Image copyright Famartin, Creative Commons Licence 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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