Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Wizard Of Binghamton

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

The Wizard Of Binghamton 40 bar Strathspey for 4 couples Rod Downey The Tuatara Collection
A four couple, 40 bar Strathspey.

1-2 First and fourth couples cross over to opposite sides, but giving both hands in passing, finishing with the first couple and fourth couples on opposite sides facing respectively second and third couples.
3-4 First man turns second lady three quarters (to finish on her right) and similarly first lady with second man so as to finish in a line of 4 across first place facing down, the order taken from the women's side : second woman, first man, second man, first woman. Third and fourth couples turn similarly but finishing facing UP across fourth place, in a line of 4, in order taken from the woman's side : fourth man, third woman, fourth woman, third man. The first 4 bars are quite slow and phrasing should be careful, particularly at the foot of the set.
5-6 All give hands and set.
7-8 All overlink in pairs. That is, first lady and second man, first man and second lady, fourth lady and third man, and third lady and fourth man. That is, link as in set and link, but continue the movement a bit further round so as to finish in two lines of four on the sides. From the top the order will be 2, 1, 4, 3, with second and fourth couples facing down, and first and third facing up. This will flow into...
9-16 Reels of four on the sides finish with 2 facing 1 and 4 facing 3 on the sides.
17-18 All set on the sides, 2's facing 1's and 4's facing 3's.
19-20 Giving hands all set on sides.
21-24 First and fourth couples circle left once round in the middle, pulling back right shoulder on bar 24 to face their "corners" meaning that first man faces second woman, first woman faces second man, fourth man faces third woman and fourth woman third man.
25-28 First man dances out around first lady's place (essentially giving right shoulder to second woman who currently occupies the position) and dances one place around the outside clockwise (thus finishing in fourth lady's original place), and first lady and the fourth couple dance likewise.
The second and third couples dance in passing the others right shoulder, and circle left once round in the middle (as in 21-24 for the other couples) pull back the right shoulder and finish facing the place they came from. (Thus, for instance the second woman will be facing first woman's original place.)
29-32 Repeat 25-28 with the roles reversed and from the progressed positions. That is, the second and third couples will dance out and clockwise one position, while the first and fourth couples dance in and circle to the left once round pulling back the right shoulder on bar 32 and finish more or less facing the place they came from modified as below. The only change is that on bar 32 the first and fourth men and first and fourth ladies should take nearer hands, and this time face out the ends of the set, so that the two men are facing down and the two ladies up.
33-38 First lady and fourth lady dance out of the top between the (standing) third and second men (who are in first place but the second man is on opposite side), and similarly the first and fourth men out the bottom of the set, then cast first couple on the ladies' side and fourth couple on the men's side, give right hand to partner in passing and continue in this direction so that then first man dances around the second man (at the top in first lady's position), first lady down around fourth lady's position (occupied currently by second lady) and similarly the fourth couple on the mens' side, and all begin to dance in across the set, first and fourth men above the first couple's place, and the first and fourth women at the bottom below that fourth couple's place. First and fourth ladies half turn with two hands and similarly fourth and first men half turn with two hands to finish in two lines across. The order across the set will be (beginning on the woman's side) 2,4,1,3 with the men across in first place and the ladies across in fourth place.
39-40 All the men take hands and all the ladies take hands and set in lines across the set.

The dance now begins from the new positions, with the orientation rotated 90 degrees, with the old second couple the new top couple, with the old ladies' side the head of the set. (That is the head of the set is rotated 90 degrees clockwise.)

After 4 times through all will be in original places.

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

Dance Information

This strathspey, The Wizard Of Binghamton, was devised 11 August 2010 in Wellington and dedicated to Terry Glasspool, "The Wizard of Binghamton", a wonderful deviser or Scottish Country Dances.

Inspired by the overlink idea of Terry Glasspool from his regrettably unpublished "Four on the Floor" collection. The group had found dances like "Wallace's Revolution" and "The Haunt of the Gnomes" and I wished to write another dance with these elements, and was then inspired by Terry's ideas. This resulted in this dance and The Twisted Wizard Of Binghamton, which is for those who love complexities.

Charlotte Williams suggested the basic version The Apprentice which is less disorientating.

Recommended music is "The Miller O' Hirn" (James Scott Skinner), played ABAAB. Failing that, I would use a suitable recording of the Golden Wedding Strathspey, such as the RSCDS recording of music for Book 33 by Kenny Thomson and the Wardlaw Scottish Dance Band, where the recommended music occurs as the second tune.

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

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

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