# Reflection/Symmetry

The*Positions*of Scottish Country

*Dancers*exhibit a great deal of

*Symmetry*; the term

*Reflection*is often convenient to define the

*Position*of one

*Dancer*relative to another within either the whole

*Active set*or a subset of it which is performing a particular

*Figure*. This

*Symmetry*has several different forms.

**Mirror Reflection**

This is the most intuitive form of *Reflection*; each *Dancer* of a pair is in the mirror-image *Position* of the other. If a half-silvered mirror were placed on the *Centreline*, each *Dancer's Reflection* would coincide with his/her "*Partner*". Mathematicians will recognize this as *Reflection* in one dimension.

At its simplest, this is the situation when the *Couples* are *Standing, Facing Partner* in a *Longwise set*, as shown in the diagram. More importantly, it arises in *Figures* such as *Mirror reels of three*, as in bars 17-24 of Helen's Reel, where each *Man's Position* is the *Mirror reflection* of his *Partner's*. This form of *Reflection* is particularly conducive to *Covering*.

## Structure of 3 Couple Longwise Set

*Dancers, Positions*and

*Directions*in a

*Longwise, Active, 3-couple set*: after the most common

*Progression*. The shaded area is defined as the

*Inside*of

*The set*. The arrows are indicators of

*Direction*, only, not paths followed.

Note that MiniCrib uses the term *Reflection* as a synonym for *Mirror reflection*; we prefer to abbreviate it to *Mirror* in order to differentiate it from the other forms of *Reflection*.

**Diagonal Reflection / Inverted**

This is a very common but much less intuitive form of *Reflection*; the two *Dancers* are *Positioned* as though *Reflected* through a point in the *Centre* of *The set*. Every (imaginary) line between the pairs of *Dancers* (and indeed between every distinct part of each *Dancer* when they are of the same build) should have its midpoint at that *Centre* point. Mathematicians will recognize this as *Reflection* in two dimensions.

More simply, it is the same as rotation through 180°; the modifying term, *Inverted*, is often used with *Figures* such as *The knot* or *Allemande* when these are performed upside-down. In most of those *4-couple set* dances where *3rd* and *4th couples Start* on *Opposite sides, 4th couple Start* by performing an *Inverted* version of the *Figure* being performed by *1st couple While 3rd couple* perform an *Inverted* version of that by *2nd couple*.

At its simplest, the *Dancers Standing* in the *First corner positions* in a *Longwise set* are *Diagonally reflected* as are those in the *Second corner positions* and also those in *2nd place*. More importantly, and very commonly, it arises in *Figures* such as *Reels of three across*, as in bars 25-32 of Mairi's Wedding, which *Starts* with the *Dancing man* and *Dancing lady* each *Giving left shoulder* to their own *First corner* and in *Teapots* as in bars 9-16 of Langholm Fair. The *Dancing couple* are *Diagonally reflected* as are the *First corners* and also the *Second corners*; this form of *Reflection* is not readily conducive to *Covering*.

**Parallel Symmetry**

This would only be accepted as a form of *Reflection* (in zero dimensions) by mathematicians but it is included here as an important form of *Symmetry*. The two *Dancers* are *Positioned* the same distance apart, measured in the same *Direction*; they also *Face* in the same *Direction*.

*Parallel symmetry* almost always involves *Figures* with the axes *On the sides* of *The set* as in almost all occurrences of *Reels of 4 On the sides* of a *Longwise set*. New Year Jig shows two other examples: in bars 1-8, for *1st couple* in their *Parallel Figures of 8 On the sides*; in bars 9-16, for all three *Couples* in their *Parallel Reels of 3 On the sides*. *Covering* with this form of *Reflection* is not nearly so conducive as in *Mirror reflection*.

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

*Reflection*, 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:

*Mirror reflection*

Braw Sir John

Gates Of Edinburgh

Neidpath Castle

West's Hornpipe

*Diagonal reflection / Inverted*

Braw Sir John

Couple Of Keepers

General Stuart's Reel

Magic Roundabout (Freemantle)

Montgomeries' Rant

Sailor

*Parallel Symmetry*

Catch The Wind

Chaperons

## Links To Pages Related To 'Positions'

Set StructureBottom

Centre

Centre Line

Corner Position

Corner Position For 4/2 Couples

Corner Position In Square Set

Corners' Square

Diagonal Line

Diagonal Reflection

End

First Corner Position

Foot

Fourth Corner Position

Inverted

Line Across

Middle

Mirror Reflection

Music

nth Couple Place

nth Couple Position

nth Place

nth Position

Opposite Side (Line)

Original

Outside (The Set)

Own Side (Line)

Parallel Symmetry

Place

Position

Reflection

Second Corner Position

Side

Side Line

Standing Places

Starting

Symmetry

Third Corner Position

Top

Wrong Sides

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**Reflection**' page