When I’m not playing with herbs, I’m dancing because

Happiness is Scottish Country Dancing



because it:

. provides excellent physical exercise – like interval training but more fun
. boosts the immune system – huge amounts of laughter evident in all classes
(includes laughing at yourself as you make miscues)
. stimulates mental activity which keeps the brain young and ‘in tune’
. makes strong social ties with other dancers that extend beyond the dance event
. does not require a partner to participate
. appeals to non-Scots – some of the best dancers are not Scottish!

and where else can anyone over the age of 40 run, hop, skip and jump and still look respectable?

Enjoyment of SCD has lead me to devise new dances. Here they are:

Ann Campbell of Cardoss
Maureen’s Meander
Bluevale Bliss
Lady with the Dancing Feet
Miff Campbell
Rose of the West
The Celtic Harp
The Victoria Harbour Lover’s Knot
The Valentine Knot
My Girls
Decorating the Christmas Tree


Susan’s Syringa Strathspey
The Fiddling Preacher

 If you’ve never experienced Scottish Country Dancing, visit RSCDS Toronto to whet your appetite with information and videos. There are many more sites around the world!

  • Ann Campbell of Cardross

    Ann Campbell of Cardross                    3C Strathspey in a 4 C set:

    1-8   1C, 2C, 3C dance mirror reels of three on their own sides. To begin, 1C & 3C dance in, 2C dance out, ending with 1C facing down, 2C facing up, all in centre of dance & 3C back in place

    9-16   1C & 2C dance Figure of 8 with 1C dancing down and across while 2C dance out and up to begin.

    17-20  1C & 2C dance Set and Link to progress, ending with 1C in 2nd place facing up, 2C in 1st place facing down

    21-32: Walzing Skaters sequence:

    21-22:        2C & 1C facing each other in promenade hold set advancing and pass LS while 3C set in place

    23-24:                   3C & 2C in promenade hold set advancing & pass RS while 1C (at top) with wrists crossed to form a pivot, using travelling step, turn 2H & face down

    25-26:                   1C & 3C in promenade hold set advancing & pass LS while 2C (at bottom) turn 2H & face up

    27-28:        2C and 1C in promenade hold advance setting & pass RS while 3C (at top) with wrists crossed to form a pivot, turn 2H & face down;

    29-30:        3C and 2C in promenade hold advance setting & pass LS while 1C (at bottom) turn 2H & face up;

    31-32:                   1C and 3C in promenade hold advance setting pass RS while 2C (at top) with wrists crossed to form a pivot, turn 2H & dance out to sides, finishing 2, 1, 3, 1C on the sides facing down and 3C facing up, ready to begin again.

    Devised by Susan Elliotson: 10 Dec 2009 to celebrate Ann Campbell’s return to dancing after a year of disability.

    Music selected by Paul Maloney:               Bridge of Dean by Gordon Shand

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  • Maureen’s Meander

    Maureen’s Meander – a strathspey for 3 couples in a 4 C set

    1 – 8             1C, 2C, 3C dance 3 C rondel, ending 1, 2, 3

    1 – 2   Figure starts with 1C moving from 1Ct place into centre of dance, RH in RH & facing 2C in 2nd place, facing up & holding nearer hands in an arch;

    1C dance under arch made by 2C, cross to opposite side & dance down while 2C dance up and cross to opposite sides

    3 – 4   1C on opposite sides, dance down, looping around 3C & into to 3rd place

    2C dance up around 1st   position on opposite sides (2L passing in front of 2M) casting to face down to 2nd position, ready to pass under arch formed by 3C;

    3C dance in & up centre, nearer hands joined, to 2nd position to make an arch and crossing to opposite sides after 2C have danced under it

    5 – 6   1C dance in and up to 2nd place, forming an arch

    2C dance down looping out around 3rd position & coming back in, facing up

    3C loop around 1st place to face down, ready to dance under arch

    7 – 8 1C, after 2C dance under arch, cross to own sides, loop around 1st place, back to starting position;

    2C dance up on own sides back to starting position.

    3C dance under arch formed by 1C, crossing back to own sides in 3rd place

    9 – 16   3 C knot,

    9-10     1C, 2C, 3C turn partners RH ½ way to end in the centre facing down in Allemande hold, the Lady having turned clockwise under her partners arm

    11-12     3C followed by 2C and 1C dance up on Ladies side

    13-16     All 3 couples turn partners (slowly) by LH to own sides ending 3, 2, 1

    17 – 22 Capstan variation:    1M & 3M change places by dancing LSh 1½ times round the standing 2M while 1L & 3L dance RSh 1½ times round the standing 2L,1C & 3C taking hands when they are able, ending 1, 2, 3

    24 – 25 1M & 2M change place LH while 1L & 2L change places RH

    25 – 32   6 hands round and back.

    Rondel for 3 Couples   This is basically a reel of 3 with double cross overs and arches.

    REMEMBER;   – when you dance down the dance, you go UNDER the arch passing the lady to cross in front

    – when you dance up the dance, you make an ARCH and cross the lady in front AFTER the other couple has passed under your arch

    Devised by Susan Elliotson 17 Feb 2010 and first danced for Maureen Richardson at South Simcoe SCD 26 Feb 10 to Hamilton Welcome recorded by the Colin Dewar Scottish Dance Band on Special Requests, Vol.5

    Alternative music choices:

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  • Bluevale Bliss

    Bluevale Bliss        32 bar reel for 3 couples in a 4 couple set

    1 – 4  1C, 2C, 3C pull RS back and cast to the right, chase half way round the set to the diagonally opposite place

    5 – 10 Capstan variation: 1M & 3M change places by dancing RSh 1½ times round the standing 2M while 1L & 3L dance RSh 1½ times round the standing 2L, ending 1, 2, 3 on opposite sides

    11- 14        1C, 2C, 3C, turn with RH ½ way round to face each other, acknowledge, then pull R Sh back, cast out to own places, facing in

    15 – 16          1C, 2C, 3C set

    17-24 2C set advancing to 1st corner& turn 2H , set to & turn 2nd corner 2H, finishing facing 1st corner

    25-30  2C dance LS reels of 3 on the sides, beginning by giving LS to 1st corner

    31-32  2C cross up to 1st place while 1C continue and loop into 2nd place.

    Music choices:

    David Wilson: Eight Bars of Magic, Laird Brown with The Scottish Accent,  Selection of Reels, Track 3, (Miss Campbell, Breakdown, The Kettle Drum and Da Bonnie Polka)

    Paul Maloney:

    Bobby Crowe and his SD Band, Book 29, “Lord Kilmory’s Delight” (Track 2).

    The tunes in this set are: Ferguson’s Rant; Cooper’s Hornpipe; The Miller’s Hornpipe; Saint Annes (All Traditional).

    Devised by Susan Elliotson to reflect on memories of growing up with friends – chasing, playing hide and seek, spending summer in the water, on the dock and dancing, dancing, dancing – in Bluevale!

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  • Lady with the Dancing Feet

    Lady with the Dancing Feet                  Jig for 3 couples in 3 couple set

    1- 8   1C lead down for 3, cross below 3C and dance up on opposite sides behind the lines, around the 2C and end facing 1st corners.   2C step straight up on bars 7 & 8.

    9 – 16 1C set to and turn 1st corners with 2 hands, set to and turn 2nd corners with 2 hands, end facing 1st corner;

    17 – 24 1C, 2C and 3C dance L SH reel of three on the side, crossing R hand to own side on side

    25 – 32 ESPAGNOLE:

    25 – 28        1C+3C cross (Ladies pass between Men) with 1st L passing 2nd L in front R hand); all cross back to own side (Men between Ladies, 1st M passing 2nd M in front RH, to order 2 1

    29 – 32 2C turn RH as 1C turn LH


    Devised for Elizabeth McDonald Ghent, teacher at South Simcoe SCD, Alliston, whose enjoyment of winter in Cuba inspired other dancers to join her and husband Alan, and dance in Cuba! First danced in Alliston 25 November 2011.

    Elizabeth’s music choice: Jennifer’s Jig

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  • Miff Campbell

    Miff Campbell         8 X 32 bars Jig (2 Couples)

    1- 2   1st couple set and finish facing down.

    3- 8   1st couple dance the Capstan variation:

    1st man dances behind standing 2nd man, and around him, 1½ times, and crosses (passing 1st woman, left shoulder) to second place on his opposite side; while, 1st woman dances behind standing 2nd woman and around her, 1½ times, and crosses (passing 1st man left shoulder) to second place on her opposite side,

    2nd couple steps up on bars 7-8.

    Finish: 2nd couple in top place, on their own side, and 1st couple in second place, on their opposite side.

    9-16   2nd and 1st couples dance a ladies’ chain.

    Finish: 2nd couple facing down, ready for:

    17-22  2nd couple dance bars 3-8.

    1st couple step on bars 21-22.

    23-24  2nd couple set.

    25-28  1st and 2nd couples set and dance right hands across, halfway.

    29-32  2nd and 1st couples turn partner with the right hand, once round.

    Recommended music:

    Colin Dewar and his Band, A’ The Best Fae Banffshire, “The Tripitup Troupe” (Track 12)

    Devised 30 Nov 2011 by Susan Elliotson because two of Ann Campbell’s new dances were danced in her absence on Association business), there was speculation that she might be miffed at having missed the experience. In that case was she to be called “Miffed Campbell”, or “Miff Campbell”?

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  • The Rose of the West

    The Rose of the West (S8x32) 3C (3C set)

    1- 4 1C turn 1 ½ times and cast down to 2nd place on opposite side

    5-16 2C+1C+3C dance 3 couple R&L,

    17-24 1C and 2C and Ladies chain

    25-28 1C set & cross, cast into 3rd place, 3C stepping up bars 27-28,

    29-32 1C and 3C, circle 4 hands round to the R.

    Devised for the London (which is west of Alliston) dancers in Cuba , 8 February 2012

    – Alister and Ann, Joe and Lesley, Bob and Susan

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  • The Celtic Harp

    The Celtic Harp   8 X 32 bars Strathspey (2 Couples)

    1 – 8   1M and 2W pass R SH, cast to the left around partner, meet up & down the dance, pass L SH, 1M cast to the right behind 2M back to place while 2W casts to the right behind 1W back to place (basically dancing diagonal figure of 8)

    The spiral progression, as follows:

    9 – 12  1M and 2W woman turn with the right hand and, giving left hand to partner, all balance in line. On the second setting step, 1W and 2M pull back L SH to face clockwise, and join hands with partners.

    13-16  1st and 2nd couples, in a diagonal line, dance round one place. 1W and 2M, releasing hands, progress to next position on the sidelines while 1M and 2W continue turning with the right hand to finish on own sides opposite partners, 2nd couple in first place and 1st couple in second place.

    17 – 24          2M and 1W repeat bars 1 – 8.

    25 – 32          1s & 2s dance full strathspey poussette.

    Because this is a Celtic harp, it could be Welsh or Irish, as needed.

    Devised 29 February 2012, inspired by the shortage of 2 couple dances appropriate for St. David’s Day.

    Possible music:

    The Duchess of Atholl’s Slipper, The Bobby Brown Collection, Bobby Brown and the Scottish Accent Vol. 2, Track 6

    or something sweeping and reminiscent of harp music

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  • The Victoria Harbour Lover’s Knot

    The Victoria Harbour Lover’s Knot     (S8x32) 2C in 3C set

    1 – 8   1C and 2C dance set and link twice, 1L looping up and around ready for:

    9 – 12  1C dance half figure of 8 around 2C,

    13 -16 1C meet in 1st place and turn two hands

    17 – 24    1C dance down for 2, turn two hands, dance up for 2 turn two hands

    25 – 36    1C and 2C dance the Knot.

    Inspired by Gordon McGregor who thought the dance, The Lover`s Knot, should include a knot formation. We didn’t recognize the bow knot formation which predated The Knot of Miss Milligan’s Strathspey. Dedicated to Gordon and his wife, Jeanne, who after dancing around the world, settled in Victoria Harbour and now dance with the South Simcoe Scottish Country Dancers in Alliston, Ontario.

    8 February 2012.

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  • The Valentine Knot

    The Valentine Knot           Strathspey for 3 couples in a 4 C set

    1-8     1C set & turn two handed, cast behind 2C into 2nd place; turn two handed 1 1/ 2 times, to opposite sides, facing down; 2C step up on 3-4,

    9-16    The Valentine Knot

    9-10    1st L on M’s side, turns 3M left hand ½ way to end on sideline facing L’s side in Allemande position, WHILE 3L and 1M turn right hand ½ way to end on sideline facing M’s side in Allemande position

    11-12  3L&1M, followed by 1L&3M dance counterclockwise (to their R) one place to face each other up & down the dance, 3L&1M facing down, 1L &3M facing up

    13-16  Couples turn partners (slowly) by LH to finish, 3C in 2nd place opposite sides, 1L in 3M place, 3M in 2M place, 1M in 3L place, 3L in 2L place

    17-24  1C & 3C dance Ladies’ chain

    25-28  1L, followed by 1M, casts up behind 3M & crosses to 2L place, 3C step down on bar 26

    29-32  2C, 1C and 3C turn two hands.

    More inspiration from Gord McGregor’s comment about The Lover’s Knot.


    Neil Copelands SCD music Book 17, track 14 The Valentine (first tune is Fiona’s Valentine) played by Muriel Johnston


    Eight Bars of Magic, Laird Brown with The Scottish Accent, Tract 4, Selection of Strathspeys

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  • My Girls

    My GirlsReel for 2 couples in a 4 couple set

    1- 8     1C and 2C, 4 hands round to the left and back

    9-12     half double figure of 8, 1st C crossing down, 2nd C casting or dancing up.

    13-16   1st & 2nd W on men’s side, full turn with R hand, 1st & 2nd M on women’s side, full turn with L hand

    17-20   2nd half of double figure of 8, 1st C crossing down, 2nd C casting or dancing up.

    21-24   1st & 2nd W on own side, full turn with L hand, 1st & 2nd M on own side, full turn with R hand (everyone finishes in original place)

    25-28   Repeat bars 9-12: half double figure of 8 (everyone ends on opposite side)

    29-30   1st and 2nd half right hands across, finishing 1st C in 2nd place, 2nd C in 1st place on own sides

    31-32   1st and 2nd set.

    Vancouver Fiddle Orchestra, 20th Anniversary, Tract 8: Wendy of Appin

    Devised by Susan Elliotson for her daughters, Kathryn and Julie, and first danced on 25 August 2013 at the party to celebrate husband/father’s 70th birthday.

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  • The Fiddling Preacher

    The Fiddling Preacher     A 32 bar Reel for three couples

    1-4:   First couple set and cast off one place. Second couple move up on bars 3-4.

    5-8:   First couple dance half figures of eight, man round third couple and woman round second couple.

    9-12:   First couple dance right hand wheels, man with second couple and woman with third couple.

    13-16:   First couple turn by the left hand one and a half times to finish facing first corner.

    17-24:   First couple dance hello-goodbye setting and finish man facing up and woman facing down.

    25-30: First couple dance reels of three on the sides with their corners, passing second corner by the right shoulder to enter the reel.

    31-32:   First couple cross giving right hand to finish in second place on their own side.

    Repeat with a new top couple.

    Devised by Ann Campbell on October 13 2007 for Ed Elliotson, who, as well as playing the fiddle, was training and is now a qualified lay preacher.

    Music chosen by Paul Maloney:

    “The Snibbet Bibliotheck” from David Cunningham Junior & Senior & Ron Gonellla, Platinum – 70 Years St. Andrew’s Branch (SBJ0701).

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  • Susan’s Syringa Strathspey

    Susan’s Syringa Strathspey –   32 bar Strathspey for three couples danced in a 4 couple set. A deceptively simple dance with hidden depths giving an opportunity to focus on form and timing detail

    1-8: First couple lead down the middle. On bar 5 first man dances below his partner, turning her under his arm, and changing to nearer hands to dance up to first place, finishing in the middle between second couple, first man facing second woman, first woman facing second man. Second couple dance up on bars 5-6 [or on bars 7-8 and turn to face first couple as they dance to the top.

    9-11: First man and second woman, giving right hand, and first woman and second man, giving left hand, dance a three-quarter turn [three bar turn. This is a large, sweeping turn; shoulders of second couple should align as they turn. First couple finish in second place facing third couple.

    12-14: First man and third woman, giving left hand, and first woman and third man, giving right hand, dance a three-quarter turn three bar turn. This is a large, sweeping turn; shoulders of third couple should align as they turn to finish with first couple in second place on their opposite sides. (Third couple begin by the left foot on Bar 12)

    15-16: Second, third and first couples set.

    17-20: First man with second couple and first woman with third couple dance a right hand wheel.

    21-24: First man with third couple and first woman with second couple dance a left hand wheel.

    25-28: First couple dance a half figure of eight, woman down between third couple and man up between second couple, to finish on own side in second place.

    29-32: Second, first and third couples turn with two hands.

    Repeat from new places.

    Devised BY Ann Campbell on September 28 2006 for Susan Elliotson

    Suggested music:

    The Dean Bridge of Edinburgh, Track 4 on The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society Twelve Modern Scottish Country Dances in Traditional Form Book 23

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