Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary


The Espagnole Figure is used as a Progression to interchange adjacent Couples in a Longwise set, in Quick tempo dances and in Strathspeys, using the appropriate Travelling step.

When performed in Scottish Country Dances by 1st and 2nd Couples, from their Original Places, Espagnole (progression devised by John Drewry) consists of:

Bars 1-2
1st man and 2nd man Dance Across the set to Partners' Places, 1st man Pulling right shoulder back, 2nd man Pulling left shoulder back, to Finish Facing each other While 1st lady and 2nd lady Cross By the right, 2nd lady Preceding 1st lady, 1st lady Pulling left shoulder back, 2nd lady Pulling right shoulder back, to Finish Facing away from each other, 2nd lady in 1st man's Place and 1st lady in 2nd man's Place, as shown in the diagram;

Diagram, Espagnole Bars 1-2. Scottish Country Dance Dictionary

Espagnole Bars 1-2 in a 3-couple Longwise Set

Men's paths shown as full lines, Ladies' broken, 1st couple's emboldened;
arrow heads show Finishing positions.

Bars 3-4
2nd lady and 1st lady Dance Across the set to the Opposite Places and Turn on the spot towards each other to Finish Facing In While 1st man and 2nd man Cross By the right, 2nd man Preceding 1st man, and Turn on the spot away from each other to Finish Facing In, 2nd man in 1st man's Place and 1st man in 2nd man's Place;

Bars 5-8
2nd Couple Turn By the right once round, Finishing in 1st Place While 1st Couple Turn By the left.

The movement for 1st and 2nd ladies in bars 1-2 is very quick and so they may not be able to Cross all the way to the Opposite side lines in Time. However, it is important that they reach 2nd and 1st man's Positions (i.e., near the Men's side line and on the Line across joining these Couples' Places), respectively, so that there will be ample room for their Partners to Cross between them in the following 2 bars; the same consideration applies to 1st and 2nd men in bars 3-4.

The paths followed in bars 3-4 are the same as in bars 1-2 from the new Positions, the Men repeating their Partners' movements, 1st lady repeating 2nd man's and 2nd lady repeating 1st man's.

Note that the Dancing couple's paths in the diagram show the asymmetry which is necessary in order to achieve Precedence when Travelling at an even pace. Since the Figure specifies Right hands when Crossing and since the Dancers Start from the Ladies' Side, the Dancer in 2nd place (2nd lady or 2nd man) naturally Precedes the Dancer in 1st place.

The extent of the 1st Couple's Turn in bars 5-8 and their final Positions depend strongly on the next Figure; in Courage Reel they Turn almost 1½ times to Finish Facing 1st Corners; in some dances they Finish in 2nd Place Facing In, in others back to back in 2nd Position Facing Out for Double triangles.

Here are examples of those Scottish Country Dances for which we have instructions on this site and in which the term, Espagnole, either appears explicitly or is implied; note that for a common term these will be a small selection; for a rare term, these may be all that exist:

Braes Of Strathlene
Breeks Are Loose
Castle Park Jig
Foxhill Court
Hazel Tree
Maid Of The Mist
Newholme Jig
Thanks For All The Dancing

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Espagnole

Espagnole Video Clip

Links To Pages Related To 'Espagnole'

Complex Figures

Additional search terms: Espagnôle, espanole.

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