Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Virginia Reel (3-Couple Version)

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

Virginia Reel (3-Couple Version)
Anon   Guide To SCD (ex-Collins Pocket Reference Book)
Reel   3 x 40 bars   3 Couple Repeat   3 Couple Set   Longwise Set

  1-4   All advance and retire;

  5-8   repeat bars 1-4;

  9-12 all turn partner by the right;

13-16 all turn partner by the left;

17-20 all turn partner both hands;

21-24 all dos-à-dos with partner;

25-32 1s slip down the centre and back;

33-36 1s, followed by 2s3s, cast to 3rd place and make an arch;

37-40 2s followed by 3s lead up under the arch to finish 2s3s1s.

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

Dance Notes

  1-40 This is adapted for 3 couples from the standard 4-couple version.


Dance Information

The Virginia reel is a folk dance dating from the 17th century. As well as being a Scottish country dance it is generally considered to be an English country dance made popular in America from 1830-1890.

Being a popular dance with slight differences in each area there are a large number of dances called the Virginia reel; this is a derivative for 3-couples of the most commonly danced Scottish Country Dance version.


This dance predates the ride, Virginia Reel, an older style of spinning roller coaster characterized by spinning circular "tubs" that zig-zagged down a flat-bottomed track.

The Virginia Reel was designed by Henry Elmer Riehl, who named the ride after his daughter, Luna Virginia Riehl.

The first Virginia Reel was built in 1908 at Coney Island's Luna Park, New York, where Henry Riehl was superintendent. The last full-sized Virginia Reel was located at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in England until it closed in 1982.

Virginia Reel
Virginia Reel, Charlotte, New York, c. 1910


Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original Virginia reel folk dance article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright unknown author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Additional search terms: Ceilidh Dance.

Back to the top of this Scottish Country Dancing Instructions 'Virginia Reel (3-Couple Version)' page