Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Figures Of Eight

This plural form, Figures of eight, is used to indicate that two or more Dancers follow paths with some form of symmetry (parallel or mirror), each of which is a Figure of eight. If their paths intersect, Precedence will apply and the paths will not be completely symmetrical (see the diagram below for an example of the half form).

Diagram, Figures Of Eight Across Halfway - Lady And Man Down

Figures of Eight Across Halfway - Lady and Man Down

Half figures of 8 across in a Longwise set, 1st couple Starting on Opposite sides and Crossing down to Start. The, preferred, asymmetrical paths (emboldened) allow even pace while giving 1st lady Precedence which is facilitated by Taking left hands. The straight line paths require the Lady to Start quickly and the Man to hold back.

In a Strathspey, a Man and a Lady should Take hands at every opportunity when meeting on the Centre line in the mirror form of Figures of eight on the Side and when their paths intersect as they Cross up or Down in Figures of eight across; in Quick tempo dances, it may only be practical to touch hands briefly. In Double figures of eight across, it is probably wiser not to try to Take hands, even in a Strathspey.

While this Figure mostly occurs in Longwise sets and so is described for those, the term can also be used for any similar movement in a Circular set.

See also Figure of eight, in which one dancer performs this Figure alone, and Double figures of eight across, in which four dancers perform.

Here are examples of those Scottish Country Dances for which we have instructions on this site and in which the term, Figures of eight, 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:

Fisher Blue
Acadian Jig
Blooms Of Ben Lawers
Celtic Crossing
Maidenhead Golden Medley
Miller Of Sessnie
Summer Assembly
Wigtown Cross

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Figures Of Eight

Figures Of Eight Video Clip

Links To Pages Related To 'Figures Of Eight'


Additional search terms: Figs of 8.

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