Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Three-Legged Cat

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

The Three-Legged Cat
Margaret Bailey   Whitby Collection, 1996
Jig   8 x 32 bars   3 Couple Repeat   4 Couple Set   Longwise Set

  1-4   1s advance and retire;

  5-8   giving right shoulder, 1s dance gypsy turn, 1M finishing in original place;

  9-12 1L2s left hands across and begin to chase to finish 1L facing out in 2M's place, 2L facing in in 1L's place, 2M facing up in 2L's place;

13-14 1L, followed by 2L2M chase up above 1M and halfway across the set;

15-16 1M dance down to finish in 2M's place facing out and down WHILE 1L2L2M continue to chase clockwise to finish 1L in 2L's place facing in and down, 2L in 1L's place facing out and down, 2M in 1M's place facing in and down;

17-24 2s1s3s dance parallel reels of 3 on the sides (1s giving left shoulder to 3s to start), finishing 1M facing out;

25-30 1M followed by 1L cast around 3M and dance up between 3s, 1M holding back to finish with 1L beside him between 2s;

25-32 1s cast on own sides, finishing 2s1s3s.

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

Dance Notes

12-15 2L2M must move quickly in the chase so that 1M is not impeded as he dances down to 2M's place; after the hands across, 2s need not attempt to pass through 1L's place in the side line.

    -16 2s must have reached 1st place ready for the reels of 3.

30-30 1s take nearer hands, briefly.

Dance Instruction Videos

The Three-Legged Cat - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

The recommended tune is "Berwickshire Volunteers" (Traditional) played AABB.
Suitable music: Jigs 8x32 on Side B recorded by Duncan Smith and Susan Worland on Dancin' Music, Descant Records, R-8831.

The dance is dedicated to Tripod, a tortoiseshell and white female cat, who lost her front right leg in a motor vehicle accident; hence, first lady does not use her right hand.

After the advance and retire, the first couple should be not so much simply dancing around each other as dancing a close 'gypsy turn'. The deviser writes: "The first couple are dancing the interactions between Tripod and [her other cat] Pinky, so dancing around is up close and glaring!" Just think of warring cats!

Three-Legged Cat
Tripod, The Dedicatee Three-Legged Cat

Dance information by Pat Reesby.
Image copyright Margaret Bailey (the deviser), all rights reserved, 2018.

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