Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Progressive Chain

In its most common usage, Progressive chain occurs in Longwise Active Sets of 3 or 4 Couples where it is really only a modification of the Grand chain halfway; Snowball chain is a synonym for the term Progressive chain.

In the 3 Couple version, the Couple at one End Dance a Chain for four Places, taking 2 bars to pass each dancer and starting by Crossing By the right; each other dancer waits until one of these Leading dancers reaches him/her and then joins in the Chain, starting with the hand appropriate to the Leading dancer. The Leading Couple move four Places, those who started as the Middle Couple move three and the other Couple move only two as, for example, in bars 17-24 of both Scottish Country Dances The Blacksmith of Elgin and MacDonald of the Isles; the End Couples Finish at the other End on the same Sides and the Middle Couple in the Middle on Opposite Sides. The individual two-bar Crossing movements, and the final Places, are shown in Diagram 30.

The 4 Couple version occurs almost always from both Ends. The Top and Bottom couples each Dance a Chain for four Places, taking 2 bars to pass each dancer and starting by Crossing By the right; next the 2nd Place Couple with the Top couple, and the 3rd Place Couple with the Bottom couple, Cross on the sides By the left. The Half grand chain then proceeds normally for two more Places. Aird Of Coigach provides an example in bars 33-40 though the "Couples" are not actually the Original Partners at either the beginning or the end of the Figure.

Other usages exist, for example with some Crossing movements replaced by a full Turn, though these should be defined more explicitly by the teacher or deviser.

For example, here are some Scottish Country Dances in which the term, Progressive chain, is used in either the MiniCrib or the MaxiCrib Dance instructions or both -
Aird Of Coigach
Blacksmith Of Elgin
City Of Stirling Reel
Geneviève's Jig
Leaving Benbecula
MacDonald Of The Isles
Three And One

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Progressive Chain

Progressive Chain Video Clip

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Reverse Progressive Chain

Reverse Progressive Chain Video Clip

Links To Pages Related To 'Chains'


Additional search terms: Snowball chain.

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