More experienced dancers 4

Our tutor Rod Downey explains more about crossover reels

Now you have ‘mastered’ crossover reels, both across the set and on the side.

There are other crossover reels we sometimes do, such as those in The Duchess Tree (with video) where the second couple are crossing up through first place and the 1C are  dancing out and down (though here they cast in to the movement). So, a consequence will be that the 3rd couple again must wait quite a lot for the 1C to cut in front.

The principles remain the same. If you are crossing, cross quickly (long steps) and then slow down. The Lady will be in front so she controls the figure. If you are the last couple (the 3’s), you must slow down to accommodate with short steps. Don’t get your timing by doing big loops instead. You need to control your steps. Count, count, count.

Observe this in The Castle of Mey (video here) which has Inveran Reels. These cross at the top and the bottom for the 1C. So they are going quick quick, slow slow, quick quick, slow slow; or long long, short short, long long, short short.

They are tricky to phrase especially in Strathspey time, since the first couple dance somewhat less distance than for usual reels, and don’t really feel like they are doing a reel. They dance kind of a sausage or oval/trapezoidal shape, e.g. for 1L around 2M, 3M, 2W and 1W places.

Stone Boats of Bronte video (no description online) has standard Inveran Reels in it and you’ll note how first lady has some trouble with the phrasing. Uneven phrasing is something you have to really think about.

Surprising Hannah (with video) has an interesting variation on Inveran Reels where the first couple are in second place, 1M casts up and 1L down. They dance the tracks of a trapezium/oval/sausage.

  • 1M dances from 2M place as follows: 2M to 1M, 2L, 3L, back to 2M place
  • 1L dances from 2L place as follows: 2L to 3L, 2M, 1M and back to 2L place

The others dance as for normal reels on the side, as if 1L was giving R shoulder to 3L, and 1M was giving R shoulder to 2M (who is at the top)

Here you would really need to think about your phrasing, especially the supporting couples to accommodate the first couple. Some familiar faces in that video include first lady Hannah Roxburgh for whom Gaye Collin wrote the dance. Note their nicely covered turns and all round poussettes on bars 1-8.

Click here to watch the video of Surprising Hannah

There are reels where everyone crosses from first place such as The Last of the Lairds with video. Lesson in phrasing: 1C arrive home too early on the first three times through, at least (I stopped watching). What should they have done?… Counted!

Use your eyes to figure out how far you have to go…. count!.

The little fugue I wrote for the The Great Teddy Bear Hunt has 1 and 2 crossing but not 3.

For the very experienced, see The Road To The Isles  (see animation video) which has very interesting crossing top and bottom Inveran and progressive reels for all. Can be fun. (Can be chaos also.)

28 April 2020

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