In Scottish Country Dancing, Take (hands)
is the formal expression for all hand contact. While there are subtle variations which are identified in the description of each Figure
, the following general principles apply. There are two distinct forms:
Taking hands with no relative movement
covers those situations in which the Dancers
do not move relative to each other, as in Set in line, Balance in line, Hands round and back, Hands across
and so on, even though they may move as a group;
Taking hands with relative movement
covers those situations in which the Dancers Pass
each other as, for example, in Cross, Rights and lefts, Ladies' chain
and so on.
The experienced dancer can be most helpful to the Beginner, or to any dancer not fully conversant with the dance, by starting to move the hands from the resting Position during the last bar preceding the Figure in which hands are to be Taken.
Taking hands is sometimes regarded as optional (or even to be deprecated!) in Figures such as Mirror reels of three, perhaps in order to encourage more conscious care over Covering; teachers should take more account of Jean Milligan's recommendation in 99 More Scottish Country Dances:
"The hands are given in Scottish Country Dancing whenever possible by the natural dancer".
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