Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Strathspey Half Poussette

The Strathspey half poussette (Half diamond poussette is a common synonym) is a formally prescribed Scottish Country Dancing Figure which, like Allemande for 2 couples, is used in Strathspeys as an elegant means of Progression, i.e., interchanging the Places of two adjacent Couples.

The whole Figure requires 4 bars; it is a derivative of the Strathspey poussette, using the movements of bars 2, 3, 7 and 8 of that Figure.

As with Allemande and unlike the full Strathspey poussette, there is no Time at the beginning of the Figure to reach the Starting positions from the Side lines. If Standing in the preceding Phrase, the Couple must Dance in to the Centre on the last bar as shown in the top diagram, 1st man and 2nd lady using the left foot step of the Strathspey travelling step, their Partners using the right foot step. If performing a previous Figure, the final bar must be adapted so as to Finish as shown in the top diagram; 1st lady and 2nd man will then need to change foot if not already changed for the precursor Figure.

Strathspey Half Poussette - Bar 0

Strathspey Half Poussette - Bar 0

Bar 0 is a convenient shorthand for the bar immediately preceding bar 1 of the Strathspey half poussette, shown here in a 3-couple, Longwise set. These movements are appropriate for any Dancer who would otherwise be Standing in the Sidelines; those performing a precursor Figure must adapt it to Finish in these Positions and Facing as shown.
Men's paths shown as full lines, Ladies' broken, 1st couple's emboldened. 1st man and 2nd lady Start on left foot.
Shaded arrow heads show Finishing positions after Travelling; unshaded arrow heads show Finishing positions after Turning on the spot.
Note that the shallow Diagonal line on the Second corners' Diagonal intersects with the Men's Sideline in 2nd man's Original Place and with the Ladies' Sideline in 1st lady's Original Place.



Assuming that 1st and 2nd couples are to perform the Strathspey half poussette, they Start the Figure proper Facing Partners on the steep Diagonal line which is at right angles to the line joining 1st lady's and 2nd man's Places, with 1st lady and 2nd man back to back, as shown at the end of the preceding bar in the top diagram.

1st and 2nd couples Take Both hands at the beginning of the 4-bar Phrase, retaining this Hold for the first 3 bars; the hands should initially be in an Open hold with the elbows only slightly bent and the hands as widely spaced as is practicable. 1st lady and 2nd man must Start using the left foot step of the Strathspey setting step, their Partners Start with the right.

Bar 1
taking a step on the first beat so that 1st man and 2nd lady reach their Own side lines, 1st couple Dance towards 1st man's right While 2nd couple Dance towards 2nd lady's right and then, on the third beat, both Turn slightly less than one sixth clockwise, 1st man and 2nd lady rotating On the spot, their Partners taking a large step, as in the following diagram. Note that this is exactly the same as bar 2 of the Strathspey poussette).

Diagram, Strathspey Half Poussette Bar 1

Strathspey Half Poussette - Bar 1

Strathspey half poussette in 3-couple, Longwise set: bar 1.
Men's paths shown as full lines, Ladies' broken, 1st couple's emboldened;
arrow heads show Finishing Positions but not the Facing Direction.
Note that the shallow Diagonal line on the Second corners' Diagonal intersects with the Men's Sideline in 2nd man's Original Place and with the Ladies' Sideline in 1st lady's Original Place.



Bar 2
continuing with the natural foot, 1st couple Dance towards 1st man's left While 2nd couple Dance towards 2nd lady's left until 1st man and 2nd lady have Passed Back to back, both Couples Finishing on the Centre line, 1st couple in 2nd Position and 2nd couple in 1st Posution, as in the following diagram. Note that this is exactly the same as bar 3 of the Strathspey poussette).

Diagram, Strathspey Half Poussette Bar 2

Strathspey Half Poussette - Bar 2

Strathspey half poussette in 3-couple, Longwise set: bar 2.
Men's paths shown as full lines, Ladies' broken, 1st couple's emboldened;
arrow heads show Finishing Positions but not the Facing Direction.
Note that the shallow Diagonal line on the First corners' Diagonal intersects with the Men's Sideline in 1st man's Original Place and with the Ladies' Sideline in 2nd lady's Original Place.



Bar 3
continuing with the natural foot but dropping the elbows to Take a tighter Hold (as in Poussette using Pas-de-basque), both Couples Turn clockwise approximately two thirds and then release their Hold when Facing Opposite Sides, as in the following diagram. Note that this is exactly the same as bar 7 of the Strathspey poussette) but with the Couples' Positions interchanged.

Diagram, Strathspey Half Poussette Bar 3

Strathspey Half Poussette - Bar 3

Strathspey half poussette in 3-couple, Longwise set: bar 3.
Men's paths shown as full lines, Ladies' broken, 1st couple's emboldened;
arrow heads show Finishing Positions but not the Facing Direction.
Note that the shallow Diagonal line on the First corners' Diagonal intersects with the Men's Sideline in 1st man's Original Place and with the Ladies' Sideline in 2nd lady's Original Place; that on the Second corners' Diagonal intersects with the Men's Sideline in 2nd man's Original Place and with the Ladies' Sideline in 1st lady's Original Place.



Bar 4
continuing with the natural foot, all Dance backwards, 1st couple Finishing in 2nd Place, 2nd couple Finishing in 1st Place, as in the following diagram. Note that this is exactly the same as bar 8 of the Strathspey poussette but with the Couples' Positions interchanged.

Diagram, Strathspey Half Poussette Bar 4

Strathspey Half Poussette - Bar 4

Strathspey half poussette in 3-couple, Longwise set: bar 4.
Men's paths shown as full lines, Ladies' broken, 1st couple's emboldened;
arrow heads show Finishing Positions but not the Facing Direction.
Note that the shallow Diagonal line on the First corners' Diagonal intersects with the Men's Sideline in 1st man's Original Place and with the Ladies' Sideline in 2nd lady's Original Place; that on the Second corners' Diagonal intersects with the Men's Sideline in 2nd man's Original Place and with the Ladies' Sideline in 1st lady's Original Place.



If the Strathspey half poussette is to be repeated by 1st couple (supported by 3rd couple this time), as at bar 29 in Neidpath Castle, they modify the preceding two bars as follows:

Bar 3
1st couple Turn clockwise approximately two thirds as normally but without releasing their Hold;

Bar 4
continuing with the natural foot and reverting to the Open hold, Dance a very short step toward 1st man's left on the first beat and then Turn clockwise approximately one third, 1st man rotating On the spot so as to Finish with 1st lady and 3rd man back to back on the steep Diagonal line which is at right angles to the line joining 2nd lady's and 3rd man's Places (3rd couple should be Dancing toward the Centre on this bar, exactly as do 2nd couple in bar 1 of the full Strathspey poussette as shown in the top diagram).


In other dances, such as Peggy's Love, bar 4 is modified more substantially to suit the succeeding Figure.
For example, here are some other Scottish Country Dances in which the term, Strathspey Half Poussette, is used in either the MiniCrib or the MaxiCrib Dance instructions or both -
Alltshellach
Blervie Castle
Glencoe
Golden Anniversary Strathspey
Kinfauns Castle
Lea Rig
Shamrock Girl
Trip To Tobermory (Drewry)

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Strathspey Half Poussette

Strathspey Half Poussette Video Clip

Links To Pages Related To 'Poussette Movements'

Complex Figures

Additional search terms: ½ Diamond Poussette.

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