Scottish Takeover - Strip The Willow


For Susan Omand’s annual Scottish takeover this year, get ready to swing your sporrans with our answer to Strictly Come Dancing and learn some proper ceilidh dances...

If you’re of a certain age and went to a Scottish primary school, you will remember the trauma of gym class in the run up to the Christmas holidays... learning Scottish Country Dancing! However, they are lessons that have stood us all in good stead at Hogmanay parties, weddings and ceilidhs over the years so, for this week, I want to help everyone get ready for your own Hogmanay ceilidh and not look stupid on the dance floor by practising now with five of the most famous Scottish Country Dances. Today is...

Strip the Willow.

** WARNING ** I cannot emphasise this enough - People WILL get hurt, possibly fatally, dancing this, so do this at your own risk. It is fast, vicious and vindictive, with opponents getting hurled into corners after being deliberately spun far too fast and let go of, and in no way should it be attempted by a) novices and b) sober people. It is for this reason that it is often the last "proper" dance of the night as nobody feels very festive after the ambulances arrive.

Formation: Longwise sets of 4 couples, men on the right and ladies on the left as viewed from the band. Couples number from nearest the band.

Music: 6/8 or 9/8 double jigs. E.g. "The Irish Washerwoman", "The Curlew", "The Jig of Slurs" for 6/8 and "Drops of Brandy" for 9/8.

Bars: Description
1-8 1st couple links hands and spins clockwise*.

9-20 1st lady turns next (2nd) man on the side line holding left hands, then her partner holding right hands, 3rd man on the side line holding left hands, then her partner holding right hands, 4th man on the side line holding left hands.

21-24 Spin with partner clockwise to the end of the phrase*.

25-36 1st man turns next (2nd) lady on the side line holding left hands, then his partner holding right hands, 3rd lady on the side line holding left hands, then his partner holding right hands, 4th lady on the side line holding left hands.

37-40 Spin with partner clockwise to the end of the phrase*.

41-52 1st lady works down men's side line, while 1st man works down ladies side line, turning couple 2 holding left hands, turning partner holding right hands, turning 3rd couple holding left hands, turning partner holding right hands, turning 4th couple holding left hands.

53-56 Spin with partner clockwise to the end of the phrase then the next couple at the head of the line starts**.



* High likelihood of injury. Take care. 

** There is an Orcadian variation where there is only one long line in the hall instead of sets of 4, men on the right, ladies on the left. The top couple starts every 16 bars, turning their partner for the first 8 bars then "working down the line" turning a side person of the opposite sex in a full circle, then their partner in a full circle til they reach the end of the line. This is even faster and more dangerous because you don't get any recovery time.

Instructions - http://www.scottishdance.net/ceilidh/dances.html
Videos - courtesy of Creative Scotland









































Instructions - http://www.scottishdance.net/ceilidh/dances.html


Videos - courtesy of Creative Scotland