TurningThis Turning section covers those Figures in which two Scottish Country Dancers rotate either clockwise or anticlockwise around each other. In almost all forms they Take hands; exceptionally, in the Gypsy turn, they do not Take hands. Unless specified otherwise for the individual forms, the step used is Skip change or the Strathspey travelling step according to the tempo of the dance but, exceptionally, for Turn both hands in Quick tempo dances, Pas-de-basque is the default.
The extent of the rotation is usually counted in whole Turns or fractions of a Turn; a whole Turn is a rotation of 360° and so the Dancers Finish the Turn in their Starting Positions. Alternatively, the extent may be determined by the Finishing Position, expressed either explicitly or even implicitly by the requirement of the subsequent Figure; for example, bars 5-8 of Duke of Perth can be expressed as, "1s Turn by the left to Face First corners", where the amount of the Turn is really about 7⁄8 rather than a full Turn.
Turn halfway means that the Dancers Exchange positions; it is a synonym for the first meaning of Cross.
When starting from their Own side lines of a Longwise set, Turn ¾ By the right means that the Dancers Finish on the Centre line, Lady Above the Man. The way in which the Dancers Take hands depends on the Time available for the rotation required; details of the various Holds including their suitability for Quick or slow turns are covered in Hand positions. When 2 bars are allocated for a full Turn, the Quick turn grip (or, more casually, Elbow grip or Birl hold) is necessary; when 4 bars are allocated for a full Turn (or pro rata for a fractional Turn), a much more Open hold is appropriate.
The Finishing Positions after a Turn are strongly dependent on the immediately following Figure, if any. For example: if they are not involved in the next Figure, the Dancers normally return to Standing places, in the Side lines of a Longwise set or at the vertices of a Circular set, Facing Inwards; if it is Cast, they return to the Side lines of a Longwise set or to the vertices of a Circular set, Facing Outwards; if the next Figure is Allemande or Promenade or some such, they stay on the Centre line of a Longwise set.
Here are examples of those Scottish Country Dances for which we have instructions on this site and in which the term, Turning, 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:
Links To Pages Related To 'Turning'Figures
Cross And Cast
Cross, Cast And Half Figures Of Eight
Figure Of Eight
Figures Of Eight
On The Spot
Pull Left Shoulder Back
Pull Right Shoulder Back
Reel(s) Of Three
Reel(s) Of Four
Reel(s) Of Five
Reel(s) Of Six
Set And Cast
Set And Cross
Turn And Cast
Pump Handle Turn
Turn Both Hands
Turn By The Left
Turn By The Left Halfway
Turn By The Right
Turn By The Right Halfway
Turn Corner, Partner, Corner, Partner
Turn Corner, Partner, Corner, Partner, In Reverse
Turn On The Spot Halfway
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