Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Viking's Sheepskin

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

THE VIKING'S SHEEPSKIN (R3x48) 3C set Rod Downey The Johnsonville Collection 2014

1-16 Ladies weave to bottom, up to top and across to own side dancing modified Sheepskin Hey:
 1L followed by 2L+3L crosses, casts behind 1M, in front of 2M and dances LSh round 3M while trailing 3L, on arriving below 2M, casts up round 2M to take lead
 3L followed by 1L+2L dances behind 2M, LSh round 1M while trailing 2L, on arriving above 2M dances down in front of 2M to take lead
 2L followed by 3L+1L dances behind 3M and leads 3L+1L across and back up own side to end 2L 3L 1L
17-32 Men repeat 1-16 to end 231
33-40 2s+3s dance RH across; 3s+1s dance LH across
41-48 Reels of 3 on sides (2s+3s - top 2 couples - pass RSh to start). 231

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

The Viking's Sheepskin 48 bar Reel for 3 Couples Rod Downey The Johnsonville Collection
A three couple 48 bar reel in a three couple set.

1-16 The three ladies dance a Progressive Sheepskin Hey around the three men, finishing in order 2,3,1 on the ladies' side. To wit:
 The three ladies follow the first lady across the set, first lady and second lady dance behind the first man, in front of the second man, and behind and around the third man turning to come back up the set (as if the first and second ladies were dancing a figure of eight around the men).
 The third lady follows except after she dances around the second man, she casts UP, now the leader of the group. First lady will follow her followed by the second lady.
 The first lady follows the third lady in front and around the first man then casting down the set ready to follow the second lady around and in front of the second man.
 The second lady will be following, and this time she will instead dance around in front of the second man, ready to dance out between the second and third men so that she now leads the group (now in order behind the second lady 2,3,1) behind the third man, across the foot of the set and home to place in progressed places.
 In effect, the first lady crosses and dances 1½ figures of eight around the men. The trailing person (first the third woman, second the second woman) will complete a full loop to change direction as they travel around the second man. These could be thought of a "lead change half figures of eight".
17-32 The three men dance likewise around the' women.
33-36 Second and Third couples dance right hands across.
37-40 Third and First couples dance left hands across.
41-48 Second, Third and First couples dance parallel reels on the sides, third couple giving right shoulder to second couple to begin.

Repeat two more times.

(Dance crib compiled by the deviser Rod Downey, Johnsonville SCD Club Tutor)

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams

Dance Instruction Videos

The Viking's Sheepskin - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

This reel, The Viking's Sheepskin, was devised on 27th May 2014 and given to Charlotte Williams and the group at Eastbourne, the former convincing me to keep this version..

The Progressive Sheepskin Hey (sometimes called "Sheephead Hey") is a similar figure from traditional English Country Dancing, in dances like Picking Up Sticks. This is about ⅔ of the figure which I modified to make it progressive. My wife Kristin, and I, learned of the figure whilst dancing with a medieval dance group in Cambridge (UK), the Capriol Dancers.

There were two competing versions of the dance and I have recorded one as Moggie And The Fish, and one as here.

The name comes from the Viking Ball, as discussed above, and began with a group of men marching as Vikings. All were wearing sheepskin jackets over their costumes.

The recommended tune is "Miss Gayton's Hornpipe". A suitable recording is "The Sound of Harris" by Andrew Rankine and his Band.

(Dance information from The Johnsonville Collection Of Scottish Country Dances, reproduced here with the kind permission of the deviser, Rod Downey)

Published in The Johnsonville Collection, reproduced here with the kind permission of the deviser, Rod Downey.

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