Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Reel(s) Of Five

This Reel is a very rare Scottish Country Dancing Figure for 5 Dancers which is similar to the Reel of four but includes an extra loop in the Middle; the path may be considered as an oval folded three times. Since the Reel of five is for an odd number of Dancers, it has similar characteristics to the Reel of three; in particular, the path followed by the Dancers has a clockwise loop at one End and an anticlockwise loop at the other. There are two passing points in the Middle, one By the left and the other By the right.

Once the Reel of five has become established, the Dancers should be evenly spaced around the path, thereby ensuring that there is no risk of collision and avoiding any unwarranted concern about Precedence. Unless the following Figure requires otherwise, all Finish where they Started.

The Reel of five occurs in the mirror form in bars 11-20 of The Cooper's Crown where it is danced on the Side lines of a Longwise set for 5 Couples. The precursor Figures have left the Dancers exactly evenly spaced ready for the Reel.

Diagram, Mirror Reels Of Five Idealized

Reel of Five Idealized

The mirror form of the idealized Reel of Five. The Men's path is shown as a full line, Ladies' broken; arrow heads show the Positions of the equally spaced Dancers after each half bar. The Dancers' symbols show the idealized Starting (and Finishing) Positions.

The diagram shows the 20 successive Positions, each requiring half a bar, which, together, make up the full, idealized Reel of five, as it occurs in this example; the Dancers are shown in their Starting Positions. Each Dancer should reach the Position vacated by the Dancer immediately ahead of her/him on the path after 2 bars; this movement, repeated five times, completes the full Figure in 10 bars.

Note that, in this mirror form, Taking hands briefly whenever Partners meet on the Centre line looks more elegant and aids Covering.

Timing this 10-bar Figure to the Music for Scottish Country Dancing is straightforward if music with 10-bar Phrases is used (as in The Cooper's Crown). The Figure occurs (also in the mirror form) with the much more common 8-bar Phrases in bars 25-34 of Jennifer McFarlane's Wedding where it Starts on bar 1 of a Phrase and Finishes on bar 2 of the next Phrase; note that the Dancers Start and Finish On the sides as they usually would for a Reel of four and so, similarly, some have to move slowly to develop the evenly spaced Positions around the path on the first bar and quickly to return to their Places On the sides on the last bar.

In bars 25-32 of the 5-Couple Strathspey Loch Doon Castle, 8 bars of this Figure (again in the mirror form) are used to Progress the Dancers from the order, 1s2s3s4s5s to 2s4s1s5s3s; again, the Dancers Start and Finish On the sides and so have to develop the evenly spaced Positions around the path on bar 25 and exit from these on bar 32.

Although there is a dance called The Reel of Five, it does not contain this Figure; perhaps a better name for that dance would be "A Reel for Five", since it is for five Dancers with the set format as in Domino Five.

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

Jennifer McFarlane's Wedding
Loch Doon Castle

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Reel Of Five

Reel Of Five Video Clip

Links To Pages Related To 'Reel(s) Of Five'


Additional search terms: Reel of 5.

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