Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Reverse Snake

Like The snake, this is a rare, Complex figure in Scottish Country Dancing which occurs in 3 Couple, Longwise sets. It consists of a distinctive, double form of Chase, one led by the Dancing man, the other by the Dancing lady; the shape of the paths has the form of an S with pronounced serifs and the rectilinearity of a Z rather than the curves implied by an S.

The reverse snake also uses the Travelling step, exclusively, and requires four bars; it is equally suitable for Strathspeys and Quick tempo dances.

In The reverse snake, Supporting couples are normally interchanged but on their Own sides as for The snake, i.e., 3rd couple in 1st place and 2nd couple in 3rd place; the 1st couple are again in 2nd position of the 3 Couple set but right shoulder to right shoulder and Facing First corner positions. Note that this form usually follows Left hands across, 3rd couple with 1st man Above 1st lady with 2nd Couple . Then, for the Dancing couple:

Bar 1
1st man Dance to 3rd lady's Place While 1st lady Dance to 1st man's Place, Finishing by Turning on the spot clockwise to Face Across the set;

Bar 2
1st lady Dance to the Centre line in 1st position While 1st man Dance to the Centre line in 3rd position;

Bar 3
1st lady Dance to 1st lady's Place While 1st man Dance to 3rd man's Place, both Finishing by Turning on the spot clockwise to Face 1st man Up, 1st lady Down;

Bar 4
1st man Dance Up to 2nd man's Place While 1st lady Dance Down to 2nd lady's Place.

Again, this is a Chasing movement but with 3rd man following 1 bar behind 1st man and 3rd lady following 2 bars behind 3rd man While 2nd lady follows 1 bar behind 1st lady and 2nd man 2 bars behind 2nd lady. All Finish on their Own sides, 2nd couple in 1st place, 1st couple in 2nd place and 3rd couple in 3rd place. Note that for greater evenness of Phrasing, the last Dancer in each Chase is 2 bars behind the Middle Dancer.
In The reverse snake, the Dancers in one Chase must always Give right shoulder to an approaching Dancer in the other Chase.

Duncan Brown, the deviser of The Zoologist in which The reverse snake occurs in bars 29-32, is especially concerned that each 1 bar Phrase should be on a straight line, not on a sloppy curve.

This Figure also occurs in bars 17-20 of The Foundling.


Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates The Reverse Snake

The Reverse Snake Video Clip

Links To Pages Related To 'The Snake'

Complex Figures

Additional search terms: Dance to Each Corner and Set (MiniCrib).

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