Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Ladies' Chain

In the most common usage of this Figure, the Ladies' chain occurs in 4-Couple Square sets, in Progressive Round the room set dances for 2 Couples and in Longwise sets where two adjacent Couples are on Opposite sides or, occasionally, near the Centre line, Facing Up and down; essentially, the Couples start Facing each other with each Lady on the right of a Man (not necessarily her Partner).

The whole Figure takes 8 bars. On the first 2 bars, the Ladies Cross By the right, each Finishing Facing Out in the Opposite Man's Position While each Man Casts anticlockwise to Face In in the adjacent Lady's Position. On the next 2 bars, the Dancers Turn by the left halfway on the Sides, the Men Finishing back in their Starting Positions, Facing Out, the Ladies on Opposite Sides, Facing In. These 4 bars comprise the half Figure (see Ladies' Chain Halfway for more detail) and are repeated from the new Positions so that all return to their Starting Positions. Note that the Men do not make a Polite turn at the halfway point; instead, they Finish Facing Out, ready for the second Ladies' chain halfway. Unless the next Figure requires otherwise, the Men do Finish the whole Figure with a Polite turn so that all are Facing In.

Other variants exist for adjacent Scottish Country Dancing Couples in 3-Couple Triangular sets and Up and down in Longwise sets.

The double Figure occurs in Square sets with the Dancers in 2nd and 4th couples' places performing a Ladies' chain which overlaps at right angles a Ladies' chain performed by those in 1st and 3rd couples' places; instead of Crossing By the right, all four Ladies Dance Right hands across, again a little more than halfway as in the single Figure.

For example, here are some Scottish Country Dances in which the term, Ladies' Chain, is used in either the MiniCrib or the MaxiCrib Dance instructions or both -
Border Meeting
Burns Bicentenary Strathspey
Campbell's Caper
Crathie Bellman
Glenalmond Gamekeeper
Grants' New Rant
Immigrant Lass
Kendall's Hornpipe

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Ladies' Chain

Ladies' Chain Video Clip

Links To Pages Related To 'Chains'


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