Strip The Willow
Scottish Country Dance InstructionSTRIP THE WILLOW (Drops Of Brandy) (J4x40) 4C set RSCDS Book 1
1- 8 1s turn RH 2½ times (4 bars), 1L turns 2M LH then turns partner RH
9-16 1L turns 3M LH, turns partner RH, 1L turns 4M LH and turns partner RH
17-24 1M turns 4L LH, turns partner RH, 1M turns 3L LH and turns partner RH
25-32 1M turns 2L LH, turns partner RH, 1L turns 2M LH as 1M turns 2L LH, 1s turn RH in centre
33-40 1s similarly turn 3s LH, turn partners RH, turn 4s LH and turn partners RH to 4th place own sides (last turn uses the next first 2 bars of music)
(MINICRIB. Dance crib compiled by Charles Upton, Deeside Caledonian Society, and his successors)
Strip The Willow
Anon RSCDS Book 1
Jig 4 x 40 bars 4 Couple Repeat 4 Couple Set Longwise Set
Running step is used throughout.
1-4 1s turn 2½ times by the right, moving down to finish between 2s, 1M behind 1L, both facing Mn's side;
5-6 1L turn 2M by the left WHILE 1M continue the running step on the spot;
7-8 1s turn by the right, moving down one place to finish between 3s;
9-12 repeat bars 5-8 with 3M;
13-14 repeat bars 5-6 with 4M;
15-16 1s turn by the right, finishing between 4s;
17-18 1M turn 4L by the left WHILE 1L continue the running step on the spot;
19-20 1s turn by the right, moving up one place to finish between 3s;
21-24 repeat bars 17-20 with 3L;
25-26 repeat bars 17-18 with 2L;
27-28 1s turn by the right, finishing between 2s;
29-30 1L turn 2M by the left WHILE 1M turn 2L by the left, 2s finishing in 1st place;
31-32 1s turn by the right, moving down one place to finish between 3s;
33-36 repeat bars 29-32 with 3s;
37-38 repeat bars 29-30 with 4s;
39-40 1s turn by the right, finishing in 4th place.
(MAXICRIB. Scottish country dancing instructions compiled by Reuben Freemantle)
Dance NotesWhen 9/8 jig tunes are used, there are three running steps to each bar; with 6/8 jigs, there are two steps to each bar.
It is safest to use elbow grip. At a Ceilidh, linked arms may appear to be less demanding but there is a strong temptation for inexperienced dancers to retain that hold for too long.
Although each repeat requires 40 bars, the music usually involves 32 bar tunes; to accommodate this, second couple start on bar 33. For a formal display, 3x32+40 bars are needed so that the last dancing couple can complete their repeat. However, in the more common Ceilidh situation, phrasing is most unlikely to be accurate; the Band usually plays enough music so that every set completes at least one repeat per couple and, ideally, finishes when at least one of the more competent sets is at the end of a repeat.
As with all Ceilidh Dances, one must expect local deviations from these instructions: these may include gratuitous turns by the dancing couple and turning the side dancers on a diagonal (eg. 2M1L and 1M4L in bars 29-30) rather than straight across the set. The new top couple are unlikely to be able to start on bar 33 and timekeeping degenerates into waiting for the beginning of the next 8 bar phrase before starting.
1-12 While turning each other, 1s move down the set one place to finish between the next couple down.
5-14 1M must continue the running step on the spot while 1L turns each supporting M in turn.
15-16 1s remain between the 4s during this turn.
17-26 1L must continue the running step on the spot while 1M turns each supporting L in turn.
19-24 While turning each other, 1s move up the set one place to finish between the next couple up.
27-28 1s remain between the 2s during this turn.
29-38 After being turned by the 1s, each supporting couple must finish one place up the set.
31-36 While turning each other, 1s move down the set one place to finish between the next couple down.
39-40 1s make a normal turn, finishing in 4th place.
Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams
Dance Instruction VideosStrip The Willow - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video
Dance InformationAlso see the dance Orcadian Strip The Willow with multiple willow stripping.
Strip the Willow is an old Hebridean weaving dance.
Strip the willow is a country or barn dance. It has variations depending upon whether it is being performed as a movement in a larger dance or a complete dance in itself.
The form described below (from Wikipedia) is that commonly used as part of a Scottish country dance.
The dancers form a longways set (a row of gentlemen facing their partners, a row of ladies) of four couples. The 'objective' is to move the top couple to the bottom of the set, and the other couples move up one position. A brief description of the dance would be: The top couple link arms and spin each other for a count of 16, at which point the lady 'strips' down the line of men alternating left-handed anticlockwise swings with someone else's partner right-handed clockwise half-turn swings with their partner working steadily down the set, the gentleman at this point swinging only with his partner. At the bottom, the couple join again and spin for a count of 8, then the gentleman 'strips' up the line of ladies the same as his partner just did, while the lady swings only with the man. At the top of the set, the couple join together and swing for a count of 8 then together they 'strip' down to the bottom, alternately swinging the other partners down the line and meeting to swing each other between people. At the bottom they meet one last time to swing for 8 beats, while the next top couple meet and swing for 16 and follow the steps above.
Variations include: Multiple willow stripping, best done in long sets, with every fourth or fifth couple stripping downwards and everyone else constantly moving upwards. Once a couple reach the top, they wait for the appropriate bar and start another movement. This is called 'Orcadian Strip The Willow'.
Dancing Strip The Willow
Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original Strip The Willow article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright Argyriou at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
Additional search terms: Ceilidh Dance.