Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Strathspey Setting Step

The Strathspey setting step, formally known as Common Schottische, is closely similar to a sideways version of the Strathspey travelling step; it is used mostly as a Setting step with movement to the right on the right foot step and back to the Original Position on the left foot step.

When used in Scottish Country Dancing for Travelling, the path followed is normally a zig-zag, diagonally to the right on the right foot step and diagonally to the left on the left foot step as, for example, in the Figure, Set advancing. The most significant differentiation between the steps is the direction in which the dancer Faces relative to her/his Travelling movement; in the Strathspey travelling step, s/he Faces the direction of Travel (or the reverse when Travelling backwards) at all times apart from rare exceptions such as the first bar of the Figure, Allemande.

The complete step takes two bars, one for each foot, as shown in the diagrams; it may be repeated for a designated number of bars. At the end of the movement, the right foot is behind the left calf. On the first beat of the next bar, close the right foot to the normal Standing Position or, if some other step should follow, move the right foot directly to the first Position of the new step.

For clarity, each separate movement in the step is shown on a separate line, starting from the bottom of each diagram. Since the left foot step would naturally follow the right foot step, the diagram for bar 2 is placed above that for bar 1.

When dancing diagonally backwards, the heel of the closing foot (beat 2) must just touch the instep of the other foot (i.e., bringing the closing foot into third Position front).
See Fitting The Steps To The Music for those details covering this and the other six basic steps of Scottish Country Dancing.
The first step is almost always with the right foot. For a few Figures, notably the Strathspey poussette, one dancer of each Couple must start on the left foot; if so, start at the beginning of bar 2 but from Standing in first Position (both feet on the ground, only the heels raised).

Formal RSCDS instructions for the Strathspey poussette (as in the 2005 edition of The Manual of Scottish Country Dancing) prescribe this step throughout though this does require unnatural movements to the left on a right foot step and vice versa at some stages.

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates Strathspey Setting Step

Strathspey Setting Step Video Clip

Links To Pages Related To 'Steps for Strathspeys'


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