Reel(s) Of FourThe Reel of four is a Scottish Country Dancing Figure for 4 Dancers which is similar to the Reel of three but includes an extra loop; the path may be considered as an oval folded twice. In most cases, each Dancer follows a path with a clockwise loop at each End and they Pass each other By the left at the midpoint; in the rare form, the Reverse reel of four, each Dancer follows a path with an anticlockwise loop at each End and they Pass each other By the right at the midpoint.
Once the Figure 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 from.
In the standard form, danced either on the Centre line or the Side of a Longwise set, the Figure usually starts with the End Dancers Facing each other, the Middle Dancers Facing the Ends and each Middle Dancer Passing the adjacent End Dancer by Giving right shoulders; when meeting in the Middle, the Dancers Pass each other by Giving left shoulders.
Idealized Reel of Four.
Successive Positions in an idealized Reel of four, each movement being 1/16 of the full Figure; arrow heads show the Positions of the equally spaced Dancers after each half bar. The vertical lines show the axis of the Reel of four; when danced on the Side lines of a 4 Couple, Longwise set, the horizontal lines show the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th positions in The set.
The diagram shows sixteen successive movements which, together, make up the full Figure. If the sequence is started at any other point, it wraps back to A after P; for example, starting from C, the sequence is CDEFGHIJKLMNOPAB.
It is rare for a precursor Figure to leave the Dancers in one of the evenly spaced Positions around the path which they will have to follow, though most, even Beginners, compensate for this wholly intuitively when starting the Figure. For example, if one treats the diagram as representing a Reel for the first four Men starting from their Original Places, none of the successive Positions shown has the Men all in the Men's Side line; the evenly spaced Positions around the path never have all four Dancers exactly on the line of the axis of the Reel of four. Diagram B shows the nearest approximation though the fit is not perfect, albeit much better than in the Reel of three: the 2nd and 3rd Men are in the correct Positions; the 1st and 4th Men need to start quickly and move sharply to the left in order to reach the evenly spaced Positions by the beginning of Diagram C. More commonly, the 1st and 4th Men are as shown in Diagram A whereas the 2nd and 3rd Men are as in Diagram B; this means that the 2nd and 3rd Men must start slowly to allow the even spacing to be established and must speed up at the end of the Figure (Diagram P) in order to Finish in their Original Places.
Some precursor Figures naturally leave the Middle Dancers Facing each other rather than Facing the Ends as, for example, in bar 16 of Osgood MacKenzie of Inverewe; in this case, they pass Giving left shoulders before Giving right shoulders to the End Dancers who must hold back in order to allow the Middle Dancers enough Time to pass each other By the left. Sometimes, as at bar 1 of The Meeting Of The Waters, there is so much Time for the End dancers (2nd Man and 1st Lady) to wait that they can comfortably, and more elegantly, Cast (Man Up, Lady Down) into the Reel whose axis is Across The set.
The full Figure takes 8 bars (except in some Interlocking reels of four for which 12 bars are allocated); the 16 Positions shown in the diagram each take half a bar and so a complete Skip change or Strathspey travelling step for both feet moves the Dancer four of these Positions, for example from the beginning point of B to the beginning point of F. Note that, even though the diagrams show a curved path, each Dancer has a foot touching the floor only at each of the 16 successive Positions shown and so, strictly, the path should be shown as 16 straight lines.
In both Longwise and Circular sets, the Figure may be performed on the Side, Across, on the Centre line or on a Diagonal (see Diagonal reel of four); i.e., the axis of the Reel is aligned in the defined Direction. When the Figure is performed on the Side in a Circular set, it is usually called a Crescent reel of four.
Reels of four often occur in pairs with the axes parallel, as for example in Mirror reels of four and Parallel reels of four; Covering is important in these. In one form of Interlocking reels of four, the axes are at right angles.
Here are examples of those Scottish Country Dances for which we have instructions on this site and in which the term, Reel of four, 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:
Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Reel Of FourReel Of Four Video Clip
Links To Pages Related To 'Reel(s) Of Four'Figures
Cross And Cast
Cross, Cast And Half Figures Of Eight
Figure Of Eight
Figures Of Eight
On The Spot
Pull Left Shoulder Back
Pull Right Shoulder Back
Reel(s) Of Three
Reel(s) Of Four
Diagonal Reel Of Four
Half Diagonal Reel Of Four
Half Reel Of Four
Interlocking Reels Of Four
Left Shoulder Reel Of Four
Mairi's Wedding Reels
Mirror Reels Of Four
Parallel Reels Of Four
Promenade Half Reel Of Four
Reflection Reels Of Four
Reverse Reel Of Four
Reel(s) Of Six
Set And Cast
Set And Cross
Turn And Cast
Additional search terms: Reel of 4.