Technique Panel – Dances

Anna Holden's Strathspey
I should be grateful if you could ask the Technique Advisory Panel how they would prefer teachers to deal with bars 15 and 16 of this dance. Book 42, and also the Bankhead Book, say the 2nd couple dance up to first place on own sides. Some teachers like to follow this strictly, and they have the 2nd couple simply dance up and straight out to the side on bar 16 However, Book 42 Teaching Notes, issued to staff at St Andrews 2002, indicates the 2nd couple should cast into place on bar 16.
Both versions work well and teachers worldwide have their preferred version.  The instructions would seem to indicate dancing into place without a casting movement.  However members of Summer School staff in 2002 were instructed to teach bar 16 of this dance with 2nd couple casting.  Both versions are out there.  Casting calls for a longer step, so is more challenging, but it is also more sociable and flows well for the entry to the next formation.
Argyll's Bowling Green
We were at a teachers' workshop last weekend and one of the dances that the teacher had chosen to work on was the above-mentioned "Argyll's Bowling Green". Great lesson with everything going wonderfully until we reached bars 21-24! The class was instructed to "Set to second corners but turn partner with both hands to own sides one place down." Great -- until two of the newer teachers with brand-new copies of Book 15 pointed out that the instructions in their books stated that "1st couple set to second corners and turn partner with the right hand to own sides". As you can imagine a fairly extensive discussion ensued. Two questions, therefore, to which I volunteered to try to find answers: 1. When was the change in instructions effected? Most of us thought that we had up-to-date copies of the books and were unaware that the latest printing of the book in question had this change. 2. Where does 1st couple finish after setting to second corners: a) on the opposite sideline between their corners (as in set to corners prior to turning); b) facing up and down the dance; or c) in some intermediate position?

AND one Jim Healy responded

The simple answer is that the change from two hands to right hand was made when Book 15 was revised in 1999. The not so simple answer is that we have no idea why! We know who was responsible for the revision (no names, no pack drill) but there is no documented discussion of why any changes were considered necessary. Up until that version, there is no question that it was with two hands and the original version of the Manual had a lengthy paragraph setting out exactly how it was to be done.

After the change was made, the reference in the Manual (which always refers to the latest version of the publication) was removed as unnecessary.

 So to try to answer your questions:

1.  When was the change in instructions effected?

1999

Most of us thought that we had up-to-date copies of the books and were unaware that the latest printing of the book in question had this change.

The revision of the book was announced in the 1999 Bulletin and p.11 of that Bulletin set out a full list of all the latest versions of the books. The most recent editions of all the books are also listed in Appendix 1 of the updated Manual. Not ideal and I am certainly not suggesting that everybody should be conversant with every word of deathless prose produced by the Society but the information is available

2.  Where does 1st couple finish after setting to second corners: a) on the opposite sideline between their corners (as in set to corners prior to turning);  b) facing up and down the dance; or c) in some intermediate position?

My own personal answer would be 'just do it' but my view is less than relevant. This is really a question for the reconstituted technique group, assuming it is agreed at the Management Board on Saturday. (Helen - over to you?) However, IF I were a member of that group, my view on the position to start the turn would be coloured by the description in the previous version of the Manual '... pull their right shoulders back to face each other across the set' which I interpret as: at second place but not necessarily in the sidelines.

Balmoral Strathspey
Bars 9 – 12: 1st and 2nd couples, 3rd and 4th couples set and dance right hands across halfway. Bars 13 –16: All set and, giving right hands, cross over to finish on own sides in the order 2,1,4,3. Do all four couples join hands on the sidelines on bars 9 - 10 and bars 13 –14?
Bars 9 - 10:
1st and 2nd couples join hands and 3rd and 4th couples join hands.
2nd and 3rd couples DO NOT join hands as there is a coma separating them...2nd couples, 3rd...'

Bars 13 - 14:
All the four couples join hands down the sidelines as the instructions say "All set..."
Banks of Clyde (The)
Banks of Clyde (The)

I have recently taught “The Banks of Clyde” to my class and there seems to be some confusion about bars 4 – 8:  “Cross right hand below third place and up to sides” - Is the cross right hand and dance up on opposite sides on the inside of the line of dance or on the outside? I have the MM1 and it does not say “inside” or “outside” 

I have taught it as “dance up on the outside of the line of dance”, but in hindsight, it seems to work better crossing and dancing up on the inside (similar to “Butterscotch & Honey”). 


I have recently taught “The Banks of Clyde” to my class and there seems to be some confusion about bars 4 – 8: “Cross right hand below third place and up to sides” - Is the cross right hand and dance up on opposite sides on the inside of the line of dance or on the outside? I have the MM1 and it does not say “inside” or “outside”

Bars 5 -8:

Each couple giving right hand to partner crosses over and then the men dance up the inside of the line of women, who are dancing down passing right shoulders. The women dance up the outside of the line of men, who are dancing down passing them right shoulder. 


Birks of Abergeldie, The
Could you please clarify the two handed turns in The Birks of Abergeldie – are they done with Pas de Basque or Skip Change?
As the instructions state "giving both hands" in both the turns, the usual step would be pas de basque. In order to maintain the character of the dance, in Bars 45 - 48 commencing from the opposite side of the set, it would be acceptable to turn halfway to second place own side, again giving both hands and using pas de basque step.
Bleu Ribbon
Bars 9 -16 I presume the lady returns to place slipping into place or does she turn the long way around?

Bars 9-16 1st woman dances into place pulling left shoulder back, i.e. no loop


Bars 17-20 Is that a nearer hand lead and if so does that make Bars 21-24 also a nearer hand lead?
Bars 17-20 The most recent instructions say “nearer hands joined, dance up and cast off one place".
Bars 27-28 Is that really just a half turn

Bars 21-24 The most recent instructions say "They dance down between 3rd couple and cast up to second place”.  This implies nearer hand.

Bars 25-28  1st couple dance round first corners, passing (1st corners) by the left and, giving right hands (to partner), turn to face second corners.

Bars 33-38 Are they left shoulder reels with first corners to begin?
Bars 33-38 1st couple pass first corners by the left to begin.
Bars 39-40 Is that a cross right hand or pass right should to finish?
Bars 39-40 1st couple, giving right hands, cross over to second place on own sides.
Book 46
Notes on Book 46
Book 47
Notes on Book 47
Book 48
Notes on Book 48
Book 49
Notes on Book 49
Book 50
Clarification of Instructions
1. Spring Fling
Bars 21-24    2nd couple and 3rd couple face partner across the set
Bars 25-32    2nd W and 3rd M do not curve round at end of half reel of four  - dance easy way into left hands across
 
2.  Les Remparts de Seville
English Subtitle: The City Walls of Seville
 
3.  There’s Something about Thirty
nil
 
4.  192 Miles Home
nil
 
5. The Doonhamer Delight
nil
 
6. Mathilde is a Delight
Bar 12  1st W pulls back right shoulder
Bar 16  1st M pulls back right shoulder
 
7.  The Wandering Wallaby
Bar 16  3rd W and 3rd M pull back left shoulder at end of reel of four to face up
 
8.  Double Trouble Triangles
Bars 1-8  Advance and retire using skip change of step
Bars  5-12  1st couple and 4th couple retain right hands with partner from bar 5 into right hands across
Bars 17-20  Dancing couples dance easy way in to finish back to back
Bars 21-24  The clap comes at the end of bar 22
 
9. Shadow
Bars 17-20  No loops at end of reels
 
10. A Trip to Applecross
nil
 
11.  Dancing Spirit
nil
 
12. La Baratte your way home
Bars 1-2  1st W sets pulling back right shoulder on second pdb
Bars 25-32   Pass partner on the diagonal; dance La Baratte on the sides of the square facing in on bars 29-30
Bars 33-40  Orientation similar to bars 25- 32
Book Queen's Diamond Jubilee Collection 2012
Notes on the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Collection 2012
Braes of Balluder
In the dance ‘The Braes of Balluder’, the instructions for bars 17 – 24 say ‘First couple set and turn corners’. I am not sure whether this would be a 2 handed turn with a setting step, or a right handed turn with a travelling step.
Where the instructions say “set and turn corners”, the ‘turn’ should be interpreted as a two-handed turn using pas de basque.  (Note that there is a tradition in Edinburgh that two handed turns are danced with skip change of step.)
Brechin Lassies (Book MMM)
At the end of bar 24 the instructions say after leading up the 1st woman finishes between the 2nd couple and the first man between the 3rd couple, facing their first corner ready for a right shoulder reel of three. Could you please advise how this is best achieved?

1st couple, when dancing up the middle, finish in the middle of the dance, midway between the 2nd and 3rd couples, still facing the top. On bar 24, the 1st man guides 1st woman above him, with his right hand, to face the men’s side, while he faces the women’s side.  1st couple are still in the middle of the dance, ready to give right shoulder to enter the reels of three across the dance that follow. 


At the end of bar 24 the instructions say after leading up the 1st woman finishes between the 2nd couple and the first man between the 3rd couple, facing their first corner ready for a right shoulder reel of three. Could you please advise how this is best achieved?
1st couple, when dancing up the middle, finish in the middle of the dance, midway between the 2nd and 3rd couples, still facing the top. On bar 24, the 1st man guides 1st woman above him, with his right hand, to face the men’s side, while he faces the women’s side. 1st couple are still in the middle of the dance, ready to give right shoulder to enter the reels of three across the dance that follow.
Captain Macdonald's Fancy
Re: Book 7, #9 Could you please advise how we should dance bars 17 - 24: first and second couples dance four hands across and back again, finish facing corners. Second couple move up.

The 1931 and the 1950 versions of Book 7 may have led to confusion here.  Both editions say:  

"17 - 20  first and second couples four hands across.

  21 - 24 And back again, first couple finishing facing corners; while second couple dance up"

This has usually been interpreted as right hands across for 3 bars, left hands across for 3 bars and cast off to corners, or dance up, for 2 bars:

17 - 19   1st and 2nd couples dance right hands across.

20          1st and 2nd couples change to left hands across.

21 - 22    1st and 2nd couples dance left hands across.

23 - 24    1st couple casts off on own side and dances across to finish facing first corners, while 2nd couple dances up to finish in top place.

The new edition of books 7 – 12 will clarify this.


Charmer, The
Question 1. in bars 3-4 and 11-12, does the 3rd couple set back to the 1st and 2nd couples respectively?
Question 1 Answer:  Yes.
Question 2. Is there an 'approved' way to dance the transition between slip step and pas de basque, specifically in bars 2-3 and 10-12? The Manual (1992 version), page 5.6, states: "There are occasions when it is helpful to blend the last two slip steps of a movement into one step, in order to facilitate entry into the different step which follows (e.g. Book 29 The Charmer, bars 1-16, where four slip steps are followed by pas de basque or skip change of step)." What exactly is meant by the term "blending"?

Question 2

There is no one correct or 'approved' way to dance any transition, but no transition should “draw the eye” of the observer. It should be accomplished as elegantly as possible.

In bars 6 - 7 of The Charmer, the 1st woman’s transition from slip step with RF leading to skip change of step may be done by “blending”.  This means that effectively, instead of the woman dancing 4 slip steps in bars 5 – 6, she dances 6 slip steps in bars 5 – 7, then hops on the RF to start skip change of step on the LF for bar 8. This avoids the discontinuity created if 3 slips steps and a “close” are done (bars 5 – 6), then a hop on LF to start skip change of step for bars 7 – 8.  Of course the difficulty here is compounded by having to cast off one place in bars 7 – 8.  The 1st man, who has been dancing slip step with the LF leading, does not have the same problem of a transition of the feet, but has the LF free ready to hop for the start of skip change of step.

In The Charmer, the transition from slip step to pas de basque, after bars 1- 2, and the transition from pas de basque to slip step at the end of bar 4 should not be problematic as the appropriate feet should be free on both occasions if the 1st couple have started the setting in bars 3 - 4 on the foot nearest the top.

The more recent version of the Manual (2005), page 32, says,” There are occasions when it is helpful to blend the last two slip steps of a movement into one step, in order to facilitate entry into the different step which follows (e.g. Book 34 C’est L’Amour, bars 21-26, where slip step is followed by pas de basque)."  In this case, instead of doing, “7 and close together” to finish the slipping to the R and then preparing for pas de basque on the RF, “blending” would involve dancing 8 complete slip steps to the R and then directly into pas de basque on the RF.
Clutha (Book 31)
In bars 15-16, does the 1st couple dance a quarter turn or a one and a quarter turn into place after balancing in line?

It is recommended that in bars 15-16, 1st couple dance a quarter turn with the 1st man dancing a polite turn.

Historical note: When Clutha was first taught at St Andrews Summer School in 1983, the 1st couple danced a turn and a quarter with the man dancing a polite turn. This requires cooperation between partners and agility. Gradually over time it has evolved, that the turn has reduced to a quarter turn, which is more achievable by the majority of our dancers.

Colonel (The)
Bars 17-24: Does the 1st couple complete the first reel, dancing all 8 bars, using only the last bar to turn approximately three quarters round to enter the second reel?
Apart from the degree of the left hand turn, that is correct. The first reel is completed turning on bar 16 to enter the second reel. The notes in the new Third Edition of the Manual state, that on bar 16 1st couple dance a half turn
Regarding the wording of Bars 25-26 in the compilation booklet of Leaflet dances 1964-1998, there was an error in printing. Bars 25-26 should read as below.
Bars 25-26: 1st couple set advancing and pass by the right to face first corners.
Craven Jig, The
Bars 1-8 Is there any particular phrasing for the 1st cpl.eg.1st man taking 2 bars to cast to the bottom,2 bars to cross over, leaving him 4 bars to cast up & in to face 2nd man & 1st lady taking 2 bars to cross,2 bars to cast to the bottom, leaving 4 bars to cross & cast up & in to face 3rd man.

Bars 1-8 The suggest phrasing may well work, but these bars are described as an eight bar sequence and is difficult to break it down into exact phrases. The general advice is for the woman to be about 1 place behind the man and most importantly ‘cover’ as they dance through the side couples and into the middle on bar 8.


Bar 24 As 1st lady has quite a long way to go in the last 8 bars, is it permissible for her to finish her 2nd reel quite far down the dance, ready to cast up.
Bar 24   The instructions for the following section ofthe dance states “1st woman, followed by her partner, dances downthe middle” This implies that she finishes the reel where she starts it i.e.slightly above 4th man. The consensus of opinion seems to be that aslong as she is not outside the confines of the set and does not begin to castup until the beginning of the next phrase this would be acceptable.
Bar 32 As 1st lady has been dancing to her left in the last 8 bars, does she continue on that track coming into 4th place or pulls back LS or does she cross over & pull back RS into place.
Bar 32   1st woman would pull back the left should asthis is the way she is moving.
Crieff Fair
Crieff Fair Bars 15-16. The wording in 101 SCD and the 1994 edition of book 10 differs from the recent compilation Books 7-12 (2009) which says "1st couple finish facing first corners, 1st woman turning under her own right arm". Does this mean 1st woman turns left about under their joined right hands using skip change of step rather than the pas de basque mentioned in an earlier publication?

Miss J. Milligan was very definite about pas de basque in 101 SCD but this can be considered a ‘private’ publication. Since then no RSCDS publications mention pas de basque which would have been done if that had been the Society’s intention. In these circumstances both skip change or pas debasque could be considered acceptable. However, if teaching the dance today, the appropriate step to use would be skip change. Although previously agreed that the lady turned left about, the key phrase in the compilation books 7-12, “1st woman turning under her own right arm” means that she should turn clockwise or right about using skip change of step.  


Cuillins of Skye
Bars 31-32: This dance ends with a three couple Knot and at the beginning of the 3rd, 5th and 7th times through the 4th couple is needed immediately to begin the half turns and reels of three on the sidelines. I have seen a suggestion on the Strathspey archive that on the last two bars of the Knot the dancing couple (in the middle) and the bottom couple dance left hands across half way so the dancing couple finish at the foot of the set. Is this the method you would recommend?

The devisor Roy Goldring would not have countenanced changing or modifying the knot at the end of the dance to ease the transition into 3rd, 5th and 7th time through.

His preference was for the 1’s to finish the dance facing in (2nd time through) and step down quickly  as the 4th couple extend into the change of place on the sides. For less experienced or less energetic dancers, he considered it acceptable for the 1’s to finish the knot facing out and cast to the bottom as the 4’s step up.

Should the 1st couple dance out to the sidelines at the end of bars 17-20 after dancing right hands across?
In The Cullins of Skye the first couple end on their own sides in second place at the end of bar 20, before entering the left hands across to dance bars 21 - 24.

Please note that, unless specified by the devisor, the default is to pass by the right at the end of the right hands across before entering the left hands across.

See Standard Terminology ~ Hands Across (6.13)
Dream Catcher, The
During bars 9 -16, On bar 12 do the 1st and 3rd couples finish with their backs to 2nd and 4th couple, or with their backs to 3rd & 1st positions? Is the “left hands across” all the way round or just three quarters?

Bars 9-10 1st & 3rd couples dance a complete turn RH, finishing in allemande hold, facing into the set.

Bars 11-12  1st & 3rd couples dance half way round each other, men passing left shoulder, to finish in the middle of the set, facing towards their original places (1st couple facing 1st couple's place), - during bar 12 all release RH and join up LH in the middle.

Bars 13-15  1st & 3rd couples dance LH across, nearly once round (more than 3/4).

Bar 16 1st & 3rd couples release LH and all pull back L Sh to turn completely round, moving slightly forward, (a "pirouette" movement), to finish ready for the reels of 4 across, 1st & 3rd couples are back to back with partner, 1M facing 4L, 1L facing 2M.

In practice the LH across is virtually all the way round, and the pirouette is then almost on the spot.

Note: Although we have referred to it as a "pirouette", a small travelling step is used to turn round.

Duff's House
On bar 12, when 1st couple turn to right into 2nd place opposite sides, do they slide in or dance a ¾ turn? How do they do this in one bar?
Bars 11-12: 1st couple dance a 3/4 turn by the right into second place on the opposite side.
                 (as in a petronella turn)
                 1st couple anticipate the turn by moving slightly in towards their right on bar 11 before turning on bar 12

Bar 13-15: Three pas de basque steps are danced on the sidelines

Bar 16: 1st Couple turn by the left using one pas de basque step to face first corner
Earl of Home (The)
How are Bars 17-20 danced so that 1st and 2nd couples do not bump into each other? Is this the same as a one couple allemande?

The latest edition in the compilation book 7-12 makes it quite clear that this is a one couple allemande as described in the manual (with the modification that they pass left shoulders on the last bar to face first corners, instead of retiring to the sidelines).


The formation is danced within the set – at the end of bar 18 first couple are in front of 2nd man, facing the women’s side; on bars 19 & 20 they dance into the middle (turning the lady under her arm) and advancing to face 1st corner, while 2nd couple step up.

Euan's Jig
A query concerning bars 25 – 30 and 31 – 32 of Euan’s Jig; how is the progression effected ?

The description of bars 25 - 32 in Bk28 is misleading  -  there is a note about this in both the old A5 and new A4 Manuals.

The way it is intended to be danced is for both couples to complete an 8-bar double figure of eight in only 6 bars of music, then to use the last two bars for the second couple to continue to dance up into first place, as if starting a second double figure of eight, while the first couple continue in and down, as for a second double figure of eight, but change their minds after half a bar and curve, first man by the right, first woman by the left, into second place, own sides.

Festival Interceltique
In the dance Festival Interceltique ("Four Dances 2008")- chorus : is this an orderly promenade with each couple following the other around in a circle or so they dance all over the room as in the Dunedin Festival Dance?

from the deviser, Ian Brockbank

When I first wrote Festival Interceltique, I had it with dancers in square sets, so the promenade has the dancers changing set. Unfortunately, on the original dance-through with the Lorient team there were only 5 couples, so we had to dance it as a single 5-couple set. They then taught it at the festival as a single circular set for as many as will, and this is the version that was published. Do try it with square sets - it gives a bit more meaning to the promenade. Of course, you will probably find that when the dancers re-form at the end of the promenade, you will have sets of 3 couples, 5 couples, 2 couples, 6 couples, ...just as happens with The Dunedin Festival Dance/Borrowdale Exchange. This is fine and the dance allows for it.

Fight About The Fireside Book 1
At the end of bar 8 the instructions say after leading up the 1st woman finishes between the 2nd couple and the first man between the 3rd couple, facing their first corner ready for a right shoulder reel of three.
1st couple, when dancing up the middle, finish in the middle of the dance, midway between the 2nd and 3rd couples, still facing the top. On bar 24, the 1st man guides 1st woman above him, with his right hand, to face the men’s side, while he faces the women’s side. 1st couple are still in the middle of the dance ready to give right shoulder to enter the reels of three across the dance that follow.
From Scotia's Shores We're Noo Awa'
During bars 9- 16, for how many bars do the corners dance ?

9–16     1st couple, passing by the left, turn first corner with the right hand, pass partner by the right,turn second corner with the right hand and, passing by the right, cross over to face out in second place on own sides. Corners dance for four bars


Gardeners' Fantasia 1
Bars 17-24: Do we set and turn both 1st and 2nd corners, or is it just 1st corners?
This is an eight bar phrase so you would set and turn both corners. Further details can be found in The Manual page 44, section 6.7.2
Gardeners’ Fantasia 2
Bars 5-8: Does the dancing couple turn towards each other as in Miss Milligan's Strathspey (i.e. on the second setting step bar 6) prior to casting, or do they complete the setting steps and attempt to complete the turning inward and casting all on bars 7 & 8? The instructions specify that couple 2 dance up to 1st place. I read this to mean they dance straight in. However I have seen some dancers dance up and then cast into 1st place.

Both couples completed the setting on bar 6.  1st couple then turned towards each other on the way to casting to where 2nd couple had been standing, but facing down.  The 2nd couple staying close together to aid this, danced up only a small step on bar 7, then danced a big step straight out to top place on bar 8.  Note that the 1st couple do not have to regain the sidelines at any time during these 4 bars, so have less to do than might be expected.

NB The  Devisor who was at Summer School (2010), raised no objections as to how bars 5 - 8 were taught.

Gates of Edinburgh
Bars 21-24 - How do 1st couple turn to finish on their own side of the dance?
It is a turn of one- and a quarter for 1st couple.  Advance (1 bar),  turn three quarters round both hands (1 bar),  turn half round both hands (1 bar), and retire to own side (1 bar).
General Stuart's Reel
For how many bars do the corners dance when turning the dancing couple during bars 9 - 16 ?
The Manual is quite explicit on this point; both corners dance for two steps. However, the turn with 2nd corners is sometimes taught as a 4 bar turn, and this is acceptable. (It is recognised that performing the turn in this manner has the benefit of ensuring that the dancing couple pass each other right shoulder.)
Glasgow Highlanders
How should the dancing couples finish the last turn of the dance? Should everybody progress down/up the sides as though ready to start another turn of the dance, or should the dancing couples finish with the men on the men's side and the women on the women's side?

Glasgow Highlanders ends exactly as most 8x dances do, i.e. the finishing order is actually 1, 2, 4, 3, with everyone on their own side.

Only the 2nd and 4th couples contest the last 32 bars. 1C are already back home, own side, at the top, after 7 repetitions, 1W curving left into top place, own side, on the last two bars, 1M pulling L shoulder sharply back after passing 4M L shoulder for the 2nd time, at the end of bar 22. 3C, likewise, are already finished, in fourth place, own side.

At the end of bar 24, 2C and 4C are in a line across the centre of the set, facing partners, men back to back, 2C occupying the "women's side" end of the line, 4C, the "men's". After a 6 bar reel of 4, 2W curves left up to 2W's place, 4W curves left across the dance to 3W's place, 4M follows her to 3M's place, and 2M pulls his LS sharply back immediately after passing 4M LS for the second time, and curves left about into 2M's place.

The key to everything is that it MUST be a six bar reel of four every time. For the men that is out (1 bar), right about (1 bar), in and pass other man L Shoulder (1 bar), out (1 bar), right about (1 bar), in and pass other man L Shoulder (1Bar). Nothing less will do. Unfortunately, a six bar reel of four is very rare, and most are taken by surprise by the speed necessary. Particularly the  "Working Up" woman !! For her, it does not have to be a six bar reel.   A standard 8 bar reel will suffice for her, as she is more or less in the right place after 24 bars.   A majority of  "Working Up" women thus tend to dance a standard 8 bar reel of four, oblivious of the pile up behind them as everyone else scrambles desperately to cover far more ground.

Glens of Angus
I am wondering if you could clear up a discrepancy in the Glens of Angus book 23. In the book it states that the last 4 bars " all cross to own sides and set." I was informed last night that this has been changed to set and cross. If this is the case then surely it should be in the Manual and all teachers informed of any changes. Hope you can confirm this for me.
The original edition of book 23 (1967) does indeed describe bars29-32 of The Glens of Angus as "Giving right hands to partners, allcross to own sides and set".  However, in the later (1968) PocketEdition, the same four bars are given as "Set and cross over".  It isusual for the most recently published instructions to be taken as thecurrent version.  There was a note in the original Manual (1992), butthis was not carried forward into the 2005 Manual.
Green Grow the Rashes
Between the various editions there are different words and different diagrams, as well as the way the dance is performed in the video "How Do You Do It?". Bars 1-8 Reels of three on the side; which shoulder do 1st couple give to 2nd couple?

Bars 1-8 First couple pass right shoulder with second couple to start the reel.

Bars 27-28 1st couple lead up to the top; is this right hands or nearer hands?
Bars 27-28 First couple dance up to the top (taking nearer hands)
Bars 31-32 1st couple turn each other; is this right hands or both hands?
Bars 31-32 First couple, giving right hands, turn once round to finish in second place on own sides. This last instruction is in line with the most recently published compilation of Books 7-12, however some dancers will have been advised to follow an older rule that when turning, unless specifically stated, in quick time skip change use one hand, in Strathspey travelling step use two.
Hamilton House
Does the dancing couple dance forward to finish in the sidelines, or do they retire, with two steps, as in a poussette?

Originally the dance was performed with the dancing couple retiring into place, in a movement similar to that used in a poussette, (but only using the last step), which is the method preferred by the committee.

However, in recent years it has also become common practice and equally acceptable for the dancing couple to release hands early, as in Set & Turn corners, and dance out "forwards", (but finishing facing into the set).

Following a question to the TAP about Hamilton House, it has come to our attention that there is an error on page 11 of the Combined A5 volume of Books 7-12. It states: Bars 9-12 1st, 2nd and 3rd couples set to partners twice.
Correct wording is:

Bars 9-12: 1st, 2nd and 3rd couple set twice.

The dancers are not all facing their own partners at this point and the panel have agreed that "to partner" should be deleted from the text. There is no need for further explanation as the positions of all dancers is stated in bars 5-8.
Hamilton Rant
Bars 9-12 : At the end of the first half right and left, does 1st woman need a polite turn?

Bars 9-12 : Yes. The term  "half right and left"  invariably implies a polite turn, unless specifically stated.

Bars 25-40 : Are these simple ¾ turns, then letting go both hands to dance towards next person. Or do you complete the turn and having pulled back the right shoulder to face next person? (on bar28, 32, 36, and 40)
Bars 25-40: In different decades this dance has been taught in slightly different ways, previously experienced dancers were encouraged to dance a complete turn pulling back right shoulders. However to-day the accepted format is to use simple turns for the dancing couple to face their partner on 28 and 36.  When it comes to the dancing couple turning each other on bars 32 and 40 they are normally done like "Sugar Candie" with the man retaining his partner's left hand in his right hand to assist her to face corners."
Hollin Buss, The
In the new compilation containing Book 24 for The Hollin Buss, the instructions are:
Bars
17 - 24: 1st couple, giving both hands, slip down the middle and up
25 - 28: 1st couple set and cast off one place. 2nd couple step up on the bars 27 - 28
Where does the 1st couple finish on Bar 24? In the middle of the set at the top or in their original places?
On Bar 24 it is common practice to finish in the middle of the set at the top.

Holyrood House
A discussion started on "Strathspey" about Holyrood House, that led me to look for detailed information. The question is: what shoulder are the half reels of three on 41-44? Both Right Shoulder, or Mirror (Men LSh, Women RSh)? The 2005 Manual added a new note: "Bars 38-39. 4th couple cast into first place; 3rd and 2nd couples pass left shoulders before crossing to own sides, 3rd couple dancing straight to second place on their own sides of the dance facing up, and 2nd couple into third place facing out ready to cast up into the half reels of three; 1s couple divide and cast off into fourth place on their own side of the dance." The explicit statement for 2C " ... facing out ready to cast up into the half reels of three" and for 3C " ... facing up" (but "out" is not mentioned) gives a strong indication for mirror half reels of 3: 4C out, 3C in and up, 2C out and up. But that is not said explicitly. This wording clearly does NOT fit with two covering RSh reels. Then it should have said that 2W and 3M face out (as in figure 3).

The dance was written at a time when right shoulders were the norm unless otherwise stated.  The diagram showing a right shoulder entry into the half reel of three is correct and is clearly demonstrated in the video "How do you do it?"

The 2c finish the half reel of four by crossing to their own sides in 3rd place to finish with 2w facing out ready to cast into the reel of three whilst 2m dances out to the side and pulls his right shoulder back (described in the Manual somewhat ambiguously as "cast") to enter the next reel.

Hoopers Jig
In the dance Hooper's Jig, bar 17-24, the instructions say that while 1L & 3M are changing places, 1M & 3L "dance round ready to cross over again" - What exactly does "dance round" mean.
To maintain the flow of the dance, rather than have a dancer cross for two, then stand for two, they dance round an imaginary dancer standing in the destination corner, giving right shoulder, and using two small skip changes of step.
Inimitable Derek, The
Bars 9-16: In the reel 2nd corners have right of way in the first half of the reel. If they also take right of way in the second half of the reel, after dancing couple cross to opposite sides, the reels seem to degenerate into 3 people dancing in a circle. Is this how it should be danced, or should 1st corners take right of way in the second half of the reel, that is, dance two half reels?
Accurate phrasing of all the dancers involved is the absolute key to the success of these reels. Although they can be taught as two half reels to emphasise the phrasing at the half way point these bars are definitely danced as 'normal' reels of three, with the wee bit of give and take common to all such reels; 2nd corners fractionally a head of the music, 1st corners fractionally behind. There is no change of priority. It can sometimes appear as if 1st corners give up on the reel after 4 bars, and take the shortest route back home via a clockwise chase round the outside of the set.  This could be a result of the use of the phrase "curve into place" without qualification. The devisors ultimate intention was for 1st corners to end the reel by putting on a loop to face in, pulling left shoulders back. In other words on Bars 13-14 the 2s & 3s continue on their same track, ie as for any normal reel, whilst the 1s cross diagonally. Roy Goldring’s own footnote on the original draft instructions went on to say: "Note: At the end of bar 14, 2nd and 3rd women (also 2nd and 3rd men) should be just passing. (bars 15-16) 3rd woman and 2nd man curve into place whilst the others turn (right hand) into a (diagonal) line of 4.
John of Bon Accord
Where are the dancing couple at the end of bar 16 - clarification of what is meant by "middle of the set".
Branches The fourth half reel is danced on the diagonal between 2nd woman's place and 3rd man's place to 1st man should finish in 3rd man's place and 1st woman in the middle of the set. However, these positions have to be modified slightly to prepare for the turn on bards 17-18. To do this, 1st woman dances down slightly to the middle of the set in third place and her partner balances the figure by continuing his loop through third place to meet 1st woman in the middle but also in third place. 1st couple should finish in third place i.e. across the set, slightly in from the sidelines i.e. in the middle.
Johnny's Welcome Hame
Quoting from Book 32 (1984): "...2nd couple step up on bars 21-22" I would like to know your take on the stepping up bit.
The 1st couple, both dance bars 19-20 starting from the men's side, and 1st man, starting one place higher up, sort of hangs back while 1st woman catches up, and they arrive at the top, nearer hands often joined, level with 1st place. That means that 21-24 can be danced exactly as written. The wording of the dance is quite clear, and, I think, quite danceable. It was certainly taught, and danced, exactly as written, at Summer School in '84. 1st couple danced in and up on 21-22, leaving the way clear for the 2nd couple to step up. This had the advantage that the 1st couple arrived for the Spoke exactly on time, and not the half a bar, or so, early that we see today socially.
Kelloholm Jig
Bars 7-8 - when the 1s cross diagonally RH with 1st corners, do the dancing couple turn by the right into the line to face their partner's 1st corner on the side, or do they dance into the line turning by the left, as in rights and lefts? Similarly in bars 19-20, for the 2nd corners. Both versions of this movement can be seen on the dance floor and it would be helpful to know which is considered correct.
Without explicit instructions in the publication, this is a movement which can be interpreted in either way.  In the publication year, the dance was taught at St. Andrews in line with the devisor’s preference. That is, at the end of the diagonal crossings, the dancing couple make a long turn while the corners do not; thus, on bars 7-8 the dancing couple turn by the right to face up and down while the corners, who have less than a quarter turn to do, go the short way. Similarly on bars 19-20. However the devisor has also stated that people are welcome to dance it in other ways if they find it more convenient.
Kelso Races
Bars 17-24 : In the previous MMM II these bars contain no reference to the 2nd couple stepping up and my understanding of this open ended phrase, would be to use a 4 bar cast with the 2nd couple stepping up on 19-20. However, in the new combined Miscellany dated 2007, the instructions read '1st couple cast off one place, dance down between 3rd couple and cast up to second place. 2nd couple step up on bars 17-18. Could you please clarify the phrasing of these bars from the new book.
The combined Miscellany used the standardised practise of having the 2nd couple step up immediately as the 1st couple cast. However in this dance the panel feel that a long cast with the 2nd couple stepping up on bars 19-20 is an acceptable way to complete this eight bar phrase.
La Flora
I would like clarification about which dancer’s hand to take and when during bars 1 - 8 of La Flora Book 27.
Bars 1 - 2:
1st and 2nd couples join hands briefly with the dancer diagonally opposite them as in a standard 'four hands across half-way round'. They remain in the middle where they now join right hands with their own partner.

Bars 3 - 4:
1st and 2nd couples cross right hands to own sides. The couple have now changed places.

Bars 5 - 8:
1st and 2nd couples dance as for bars 1 - 4 but giving left hands to finish in original places.
Ladies Fancy'
At the end of bar 16, should the 1st and 2nd couples be on their own sidelines before starting the four hands across or are they within the set?
The Manual Notes for Ladies Fancy':

Bars 15 - 16

1st man hands his partner across in front of him towards her own side of the dance. On Bar 16, 2nd man dances in behind 1st man ready for four hands across.

Thus, if the dancers phrase bars 9 - 14 correctly, the 1st and 2nd couples will be within the set ready to begin the four hands across on Bar 17.
Ladies of Dunse, The
Ladies of Dunse Book 26. This is a dance I have enjoyed for many years, including dancing it at the Duns May weekend most years since the mid-eighties. Throughout this time I have understood that the rights-and-lefts (bars 25-32), whilst in a slightly modified form in the last two bars, does include a polite turn for the first man and third lady. As I understand it, on bars 31-32, the first man moves from third man's place towards third lady's place then into the middle back-to-back with his partner, pulling back his left shoulder as he does so, to be ready to set to the third lady. A variation (I'm tempted to say "aberration") seems to have developed, eliminating the polite turn. I have checked my copies of Book 26 and the manual but can find nothing in either that appears to support this - the only special note I can find in the manual refers to the need to release hands early - to enable the first man to correctly position himself for setting to his first corner - there is not even a note to encourage first lady to dance strongly to give her partner space in which to position himself. It appears to me that trying to dance these bars without the polite turn keeps the first man on the men's side of the dance with the result that there is a conflict between the paths of the first couple as each tries to get across the middle of the set into place to set to first corner. Please can you advise what is the current official RSCDS thinking on this matter?

The notes in the Manual for this dance state:

“Bars 31–32

As 1st man is giving a left hand to 3rd man he must quickly release hands and dance over

to face his first corner. Similarly, 1st woman must dance over to face her first corner on

the last two steps, briefly touching left hands with 3rd woman.”

The way this is usually interpreted is that, while 3rd woman does include a polite turn, 1st man does not do a polite turn, but releases 3rd man’s left hand and dances into the centre of the set, pulling back by the right, to face 3rd woman .

Lady Jean Murray's Rant
How do you phrase bars 1-8 and also bars 9-16 ?
bars 1 - 4 : 1st man casts of below 2nd man, and 2nd woman casts above 1st woman.

bars 5 - 8 :1st man and 2nd woman, giving both hands, turn one and three quarter times to finish in each other's original places.

bars 9 - 16 : 1st woman casts of below 1st man who is in 2nd woman's place and 2nd man casts above 2nd woman who is in 1st man's place.

bars 13 - 16 : 1st woman and 2nd woman, giving both hands, turn each other one and a quartertimes to finish in each other's original places.


Lamb Skinnet
Should it still be danced as set out in “Won’t you Join the Dance?” - i.e. with the second couple stepping down on bars 19 and 20, and up again on bars 23 and 24? This is also recorded in TAC notes, but curiously not in the Manual.
The pocket edition of 1996 says, “2nd and 3rd couples step down on bars 19-20.  2nd couple step up on bars 23-24”.  As this was the latest version of the instructions at the time of the publication of the Manual, it was no longer necessary to include a note about it.
Last of the Lairds, The
Bars 17-20: If the second couple step up on bars 19-20, as described in the new compilation book, there will be a collision with first couple who are crossing and casting at this time.
The editors of the new composite volume, consulted senior dance instructors and it was agreed to leave the instructions as written by Hugh Thurston unaltered. These are in line with previously published editions of this dance. However it is recognized that socially it may be more helpful to step up on bars 21-22 or on bars 27-28 which helps to reduce the path which first couple have to travel.   
Long Live the Queen
In what appears to be a 4 couple dance, (with everyone dancing the first 24 bars), how and when does the dancing couple progress to the bottom?

At the end of bar 32 the original 1st couple should finish in 2nd place. All four couples then dance bars 1-24, finishing with the original 1st couple in 2nd place facing down and the original 3rd couple facing up, ready to dance the last 8 bars. 1st couple finish by dancing under an arch made by the third couple and dancing down to 4th place, while the 3rd couple dance up to 2nd place, and the 4th couple step up.

It is recognised that this would make it a very tiring dance, and it would not be unreasonable for the dancing couple to dance down to 4th place under an arch made by the 2nd couple (or even all 3 couples) at the end of the first repetition.

Machine without Horses, The
At the end of bars 17-24, does the second couple cast into top place or just dance in to place, turning the nearer way?

The second couple just dance in the nearer way, without turning their back on their partner.

Note: This differs from the movement in Broadford Bay, where the wording is different, i.e."2nd couple cast off into first place to face each other across the dance"

General Point: Dancers should not add loops to movements, unless specified in the instructions.

Madge Wildfire's Strathspey
Bars 9-12 In "101 Scottish Country Dances" and in later Society publications, bars 9-12 read "1st, 2nd & 3rd couples, giving partners right hands, cross over to change places" but the new compilation of books 7-12 reads "1st, 2nd & 3rd couples, passing by the right, cross to the opposite sides". Have the dance instructions been changed (and if so, why) or is this later version an error?
The exact instruction for these bars has varied slightly over the years. The earliest editions of book 9, which predates the “101 Scottish Country Dances” and also the pocket edition of Book 9 printed in the 1960’s say’s passing right shoulders. The editors who produced the combined edition of books 7-12 sought expert opinion and decided to revert from the 1986 instructions (similar to 101 SCD) to the earlier instruction. The current official version is now “passing by the right cross to opposite sides”.
Bars 17-20: the 1st couple turn both hands to finish facing first corners. Is this similar to the opening out in Sugar Candie Book 26 bars 15-16, when the 1st couple set to each other and then turn both hands to finish facing first corner? Do they dance a complete turn and then open out or is it a very slow partial turn?
1st couple dance a complete turn and then 1st man releases his left hand, while using his right hand to guide his partner in order that 1st couple finish facing their first corners. This is similar to the movement in Sugar Candie bars 15-16.
Bars 17-20: when 2nd couple turn both hands, does the 2nd woman flow out of the turn to dance up to first place or do 2nd couple turn once, opening out to face up and then dance up the sidelines?
2nd couple turn both hands then 2nd woman flows out through second place and dances up the sideline to top place.
Mairrit Man's Favourite
Bars 9-16 of The Mairrit Man's Favourite [Book 24, number 12]. In the current copy of Book 24 the instructions clearly state that 1st couple lead down, turn on the 4th step, lead up cross and cast. However, the current edition of the manual section 6.17.2 says to turn on bar 3. Since the manual is newer than the book 24 edition, should it take precedence or should we follow the instructions in the dance?
Use the description in the Manual.  Turning on bar 3 allowssufficient time to lead up to the top, cross over and cast off, whichturning on bar 4 does not.
McCulloch Strathspey, The
I wonder if you can help with the interpretation of bars 65 - 72 of the McCulloch Strathspey from the RSCDS leaflets. The dance is a square strathspey and at the end of bar 64, everyone is back in their original places. My 1981 copy of the leaflet and also my 1987 edition of the pocket book for the leaflets has the following description of bars 65 - 72: "1st and 4th men dance a figure of eight round 1st and 4th women while 2nd and 3rd men dance a figure of eight round 2nd and 3rd women. Men pass left shoulders in the middle and dance round the women passing right shoulders." The 2005 edition of the Manual has no guidance on these bars. The 2008 TAC notes contains the following note: "1st and 3rd men (passing in front of partners) begin by passing 4th and 2nd men L shoulder & round women by R shoulder. Men finish by dancing round partners by R shoulder to finish facing c/clockwise, with partners on their right, ready for allemande." It seems to me that if 4th man is going to pass1st man by the left and then dance round 1st lady by the right, that will be a very twisting route for him to take. Also, the pattern the men take is more a reel of four than a figure of eight and will be quite a stretch in 8 bars.
It is like a reel of four with only two dancers, starting with 1st and 4th men, and 2nd and 3rd men, passing by the left.  It is quite a tight pass by the left for the men and then by the right round a lady, and also a long way to travel, but providing the men are ready (prompt them in plenty time) there should be no problem. 
Mile to Ride, A
A Mile to Ride: Book 26 Bars 1-4, instructions say that 1st couple finish below 2nd couple which would suggest that 2nd couple don't step up or down, yet the diagram shows the 2nd couple in top place at the start of bar 5,so do they step up on bars 1 & 2 & back down on 5 & 6 or stand still?
The republished edition of the book, in 1994, does not include the diagram and there is no instruction to step up or down, so 2nd couple should not move.
Bars 25-28. Do the 1st couple dance towards each other on bar 25 to then lead up, cross & cast,or can they advance towards each other on bar 24 on the last setting step?
1st couple dance towards each other on bar 25, 1st man pulling back by the right at the end of bar 25 to face up.
Miss Catherine Allan
In this dance bars 9-16 say ‘1st couple dance up for two steps, set to each other, dance down for two steps and, giving both hands, turn to finish facing first corners. ‘As 1st couple have only two steps to turn on bars 15-16, how much of a turn is it (half or one and a half) and how do they actually dance to finish facing corners?
Bar 15: 1st couple dance a half turn

Bar 16: 1st man, using his right hand, guides his partner to face her first corner as he dances to face his first corner. This is similar to the turn danced by 1st couple in the dance Sugar Candie bars 15-16 Book 26.
Miss Dumbreck
Bars 9-16: Could you please clarify the instructions for these eight bars
On bar 9, 2nd and 3rd women join right hands with 1st man. At the same time 2nd and 3rd men join left hands with 1st woman. 2nd couple face out in the direction of travel, clockwise for 2nd and 3rd women, anti-clockwise for 2nd and 3rd men. Using eight pas-de-basque, 1st couple turn on the spot as the supporting couples, using small change of step, change places, then, changing hands and changing direction on bar 12, dance back to their starting positions.
Miss Flora's Favourite
The first 4 bars of Miss Flora's Favourite (Graded Book, dance 24) are described for 1st couple. But, for 2nd couple the instructions simply say step up with no indication of when? Bars 3 and 4 would be the "traditional" timing despite the problems this sometimes creates for first man - "by habit" he finds he has transferred weight onto his right foot at the end, and thus can't start the skip change on bar 5!
Stepping up should be on bars 3 and 4.
Miss Murray of Ochtertyre
I've been looking at the dances in Book 11 and have a query about the first 4 bars of Miss Murray of Ochtertyre. What is a "cross jump"?

Bars

1 2 slip steps to Left

2 2 cross jumps on spot (Jump with both feet off ground and land with R foot in front. Jump again and land with L foot in front)

3-4 Repeat bars 1and 2

Mr Michael Bear's Reel
The book states "1st Couple cast off two places, meet, dance up to top...". When they "Meet" do they take hands or not? And if they were to take hands is it right hands or inside hands?

The Manual at 3.2.5 is very clear about the use of hands: "The term ‘lead’ now indicates that the right hands are joined, either for leading down the middle or for crossing or placing of the man’s partner. By contrast, the term ‘dance’ indicates that nearer hands are joined."

Therefore, the dance description 'dance up to the top' means with nearer hands joined.

Mrs Garthland’s Strathspey
Bars 5-8 also bar 16 How does the 1st couple turn to their first corners? At the end of bar 16 does 1st couple stay in the middle?

Given that plenty of time i.e. 4 bars are allocated for this turn it may be danced like “Sugar Candie” with the man retaining his partner’s left hand in his right hand to assist her to face first corners.”

The specific mention of “finish facing down the dance", indicates that 1st couple should stay in the middle on bar 16 - there would be no need for those 5 words if 1st couple finished in the side lines.

Mrs Hamilton of Wishaw
A candidate for Unit 2 wished to know which version he should dance and teach. Having produced a Society Video to show it in 'How do you do it', then the Prescribed Dances for the Teacher's Certificate Examination (June 2003) has changed bar 15 back to the original. I thought we have been dancing the way described in the 1993 pocket edition and the video, which is also explained in the TAC Notes. Bar 15 Pocket Edition (1993) - 1st couple, giving right hands, dance up turning halfway round to finish facing 2nd couple ready for the Rondel Book 23 (original version) - First couple, giving right hands, cross to own sides, dance up to the top and turn to face second couple who have danced in ready for the Rondel Prescribed Dances for the Teacher's Certificate Examination (2003) - 1st couple, giving right hands, cross to own sides and dance into first place, and turn to face 2nd couple who dance in ready for the rondel.
When we reviewed the Manual we looked at the latest publication (the Pocket edition in this case) and any ambiguity was referred back to the video as the final word. In this case the two are in agreement for first couple although the handing for second couple is not clear. It was felt therefore there was no need for a Manual note in chapter 7. The earlier A4 book instructions certainly imply a different way of finishing the reel in today's terminology and I doubt if there is a record of why the wording was changed - the intention may have been to change the way the reel was being danced or simply trying to "clarify" the instructions. In a further attempt at clarification, the Prescribed Dances for the Teacher's Certificate Examination (2008) now read: "1st couple, giving right hands, dance a half turn as they lead up to finish at first place on own sides in the middle of the set facing down. 2nd couple finish in the middle of the set, facing up and 3rd couple dance to places." This description now brings the movement into line with the formation shown in the video.
Muirland Willie
Bars 1-4 Do the 1st cpl give hands to dance down & cross over & if so,is it RH or nearer hands? I've just been watching a video of the dance where they give RH,but my instructions say "dance down" as opposed to "lead down".
Bars 1-4  Although the original book 21 did say to dance down, the current version of book 21 says 'lead' i.e. right hands joined, which facilitates the cross over into third place ready to cast up to 2nd place.   
  
Bars 5-8 Should the setting stay on the sidelines or can they advance slightly before turning.
Bars 5-8 The first two bars of this phrase is often danced as a set on the sidelines, however it is also taught and danced (all in PdB) as follows. Bar five set on the spot, bar six advancing slightly, bar seven half turn, bar eight retire. As with many dance queries of this nature both methods could be decribed as correct and in the next updated compilation of books 19-24 this  matter will be adressed.  
Munro Rant
Could you please advise me on the phrasing of bars 17-24 of The Munro Rant, from MMM Vol.1? I cannot find anything about it anywhere in the RSCDS Manual. Do 1st & 2nd couples lead down for 4 bars before turning, or 3 bars, presumably 1st lady dances down slightly to meet her partner. Does 2nd man actually cast off & on which 2 bars, or does he take the easy option & dance down behind the 1st man to meet his partner?
Both couples lead down and turn to face up on bar 4 of the phrase i.e. bar 20 of the dance. The men change back to their own partners as everyone dances up i.e. 2nd man casts as 1st man dances up (bars 5 and 6). Perhaps the revised instructions in the combined Miscellany volume would help.
New Petronella, The (Book 28, No.5)
Bar 41-48: In this “poussette round”, should each man begin with the left foot?
Answer:

All the men start the poussette on their left foot.
One o’Clock Canon, The Book 47
Table in SC Dancer Magazine No 18 April 2014. Why is the description in the table not the same as the dance instructions for the first 32 bars as in Book 47?
Ian Brockbank’s table in the SC Dancer magazine is describing the 32 bars as danced by the original 2nd, 3rd and 4th couples when dancing from first place, while at the same time the original 1st, 2nd and 3rd couples are dancing their second 32 bars starting from third place. Ian is the dance devisor.
Is there a misprint in Bars 63-64?
Unfortunately there was a misprint in the first run of Book 47 . It has been corrected in the subsequent print runs. On bars 63-64 the couple in fourth place dance up to second place, except on the last repetition of the dance where the original 3rd couple , who are in fourth place at this point, dance up to third place. This means that all couples finish the dance in their original places.
Where does the top couple cross over on bars 5-6?

The original 1st couple crosses right hand and casts off two places ~ thus they will be crossing between the 3rd and 4th couples who are standing in place.

When the subsequent new top couples cross and cast off two places, they would also be crossing between the third and fourth places. However instead of the couples standing still in these places, these couples will be dancing rights and lefts.

 

Good phrasing is required by all three couples so that there is space for the top couple to cross over right hand to cover with the couples in third and fourth places.

Good spacing down the sidelines of the set, should mean that there is space for the top couple to cross between the other two couples. However at a social dance the couples dancing up in the rights and lefts may have to go very slightly above third place, if the sidelines are cramped.

Peggy's Love
Peggy’s Love: Book 8. I am looking to dance Peggy’s Love at an upcoming dance competition and have a query about it. I have an acquaintance who danced this dance as part of their full certificate in the 1970’s under at the RSCDS summer school. The certificate class chose how best to dance bars 9-12 and they decided that it would be best to dance up to corners without giving hands. When the class danced it that way in the examination where Miss Milligan was one of the examiners, no comment was made. I am aware that the most recent edition of the published dance says that the 1st couple lead up to face first corner. My question is therefore, for a competition, should the 1st couple lead up, right hand in right, or would the variation danced in the 1970’s certificate class be acceptable.
Bars 9 – 12 are a serious stretch for even the best dancer. The current instructions do say “lead”, which an adjudicator may expect to see. Another practical compromise would be to 'dance' - implying 'nearer hands' - which retains the spirit of giving hands (rather than just doing nothing) while offering a worthwhile helping hand to one's partner. 
Perthshire Highlanders
Two questions about the dance Perthshire Highlanders. On bars 1-8 would first man lead his partner right hand in right?

The leading in bars 1- 8 is done right hand in right hand.

On Bars 17-24, how many bars do the corners dance for in each turn?
During bars 17 – 24, the corners dance for 2 bars in each turn.
Polharrow Burn
Bars 17-28: When the 1s and 3s are doing a series of three half diagonal reels do they pass by the right shoulder or the left in the middle in order to position themselves for the next half reel.
The RSCDS Magazine Dances Publication states that the 1st and 3rd couples pass by the left to face the following corner position. The diagrams from the "Old Glendarroch Scottish Country Dance Sheet No. 18"  -  implies that the dancing couples pass by the left shoulder.
Princess Royal, The
The pocket book containing Book 2 , Princess Royal, only describes 28 bars; Is something missing?

The dance is 28 bars long, and has its own tune, musically arranged as 8+8+12 bars to fit the dance. The instructions in the Pocket Book 1961 are correct, except that it states that the 2nd couple move up on 3 & 4, while the latest editions say they move up on 5 & 6.

The Society has produced a CD for Book 2, which contains a recording of this dance.

Reel of the Royal Scots, The
How many steps should the corners dance during the RH turns in bars 17-24?
Both corners should dance for 4 steps, (as intended by the deviser)
Road to Tomintoul, The
1) “bar 25-32 All dance crown triangles, 1st couple finishing in second place on own sides.” In the Manual Third Edition, steps of Crown triangles are 2 steps to enter followed by 6 setting steps and 1st couple finish back to back in the middle of the set, 1st man facing up, 1st woman facing down. In this particular dance, at the beginning of bar 25, 1st couple are back to back in the middle, 1st man facing up, 1st woman facing down. How should they dance to finish in second place on own side?
Bars 25-26:
1st man gives right hand to 2nd woman and left hand to 2nd man
1st woman gives right hand to 3rd man and left hand to 3rd woman in triangle formation. All set.

Bars 27-28:
Moving to their right, 1st man gives right hand to 3rd woman and left hand to 2nd woman.
1st woman gives right hand to 2nd man and left hand to 3rd man in triangle formation. All set.

Bars 29-30:
Moving to their right, 1st man gives right hand to 3rd man and left hand to 3rd woman.
1st woman gives right hand to 2nd woman and left hand to 2nd man in triangle formation. All set.

Bars 31-32:
1st couple dance a petronella turn to second place, own sides.
2nd and 3rd couples do not dance during bars 31-32.
2) At the end of bar 8, 3rd woman is on the man’s left in promenade hold. Should we follow a rule so that their left hands are above their right hands?
Yes. If the woman is on the man's left then they join right hands below left hands and the man leads with his left hand.
Rosnor Abbey
a) How far should the dancers turn during bars 1-16?

a) It has been agreed that the dancers turn half way round during bars 1-16, as described in 101 Scottish Country Dances, (and not three-quarters as specified in the latest edition of the Miscellany).

b) Which hand should they use to return to place?
b) They should return to place using the left hand
Royal Patron (The)
Bars 28-29: On bar 28 (4th bar of a half reel of 4 starting by the left) 1st couple would usually pass by the right in the middle of the set, then on bar 29 they are to start a left hand turn. This seems an awkward transition, how should it be achieved?
Do not complete the full half reel of 4, but loop round and omit the pass by the right in the middle, then dance into the left hand turn.
Royal Visit, The
Bars 17-20, instructions says 1st and 2nd women, giving right hands, cross over and ,giving left hands, turn halfway round on the sides. Is this movement half ladies’ chain. Then do two men dance towards the women’s places? Some teachers teach the men don’t move on bars 17-18, so 1st and 2nd couples turn right hands with partners to 1st woman and 2nd man facing up and 1st man and 2nd woman facing down on the sides.

Bars 17 – 20  is not a half  ladies’ chain.

Splitting it into 2 bars phrases~

Bars

17-18     1st and 2nd women, giving right hands, cross over

19-20     1st and 2nd couples, giving left hand to partner, turn halfway round on the  

               sidelines. Finishing facing partner with 1st woman and 2nd man facing up

                while 1st man and 2nd woman finish facing down on the sidelines


Sow's Tail, The
Bar 8: How does the 3rd couple finish bar 8? The normal method would be 'straight into place' but that would mean an awkward entry into the half figure of eight. It would flow more easily if the 3rd couple continued to face down then cast into the half figure of eight.
3rd couple just dance down to face out.
Staffin Harvest
Bars 29-32: The Manual has the 1st couple lead down into 4th place and dance short way into place. However, TAC Notes has the 1st couple lead down and cast up into 4th place. (a) Is it nearer hand lead or a right hand in right hand lead; (b) does the 1st couple dance into place or cast up into place?
Leading down, right hand in right hand and dancing straight into place is the correct current practice. Some teachers and examiners, however, express a preference for casting up into place which can help with the flow of the dance the second time through.
Star, The
Bar 21-24 : At the end of three hands round, does 1st woman almost finish it in three step, with 2nd woman's help pulling back right shoulder to dance in to finish ready for half poussette, or release hands earlier pulling back left shoulder?
An entry related to these bars first appeared in the RSCDS Manualof Scottish Country Dancing 1992 and is repeated in the 2004 edition. It clearly states that the circle must break on bar 23 to allow the 1st and 2nd couple to be ready (dance in) for the half poussette. If the circle is danced robustly and all three couple are almost back where they started then they should be able to dance into position in the normal manner.
Sugar Candie
Bars 15-16 First couple turn to face corners. My preference for this movement is a simple 3/4 turn, then letting go both hands to dance towards first corners. However, it is common practice to complete the turn by finishing back to back having "twirled", the lady/man pulling back the right/left shoulder. Furthermore, first couple often retain nearer hands as they do so. Personally, I find that this detracts from the elegance of the dance. I had always assumed that my interpretation is correct, but have noticed via comments on the Strathspey Server that it was danced with the "twirl" when demonstrated at the Younger Hall on publication. So, as it is about to be taught to some relative beginners at our class, I would really like to know the official interpretation of the instructions in Book 26. How would you expect this movement to be taught?

The RSCDS Manual says

“Bars 15–16

1st couple open out on bar 16, 1st man retaining his partner’s left hand in his right to assist

her to face her first corner.”

This particular dance has been danced in this way since it was published in 1972.  Earlier dances, like “The Stoorie Miller”  (Book 21) are usually danced without the assisted turn.

Tibby Fowler o’ the Glen
What is the actual pathway for 1st and 2nd couples on bars 5-8?
While 1st woman dances diagonally down in front of her partner, while 2nd man dances up; they join both hands and start to turn on the side, then they release hands and 1s woman dances straight across to place, again crossing in front of her partner, 1st man dances across to turn 2nd woman on the women’s side of the dance, releasing hands early enough so that he can dance up diagonally from 2nd woman’s place.
Tulloch Gorm
Bars 1-8 Can you please confirm the phrasing of the first reel (1-8) as defined in the Manual? As I work it out using the Manual phrasing, 1st man would be passing through 2nd lady's position on bar 6, leaving him 2 bars to cross diagonally back to top man's place and pull back his right shoulder ready for the second reel (the Manual suggests one bar to cross back from 2nd lady's position). This also means 1st man never completes the reel on the ladies' side of the dance - is this also correct?
The instructions in the recent compilation edition of Books 7-12 and the current Manual notes make it fairly clear that the first couple use bar 8 to cross back to their own side of the dance. This means that 1st man does not complete the reel on the ladies side of the dance
Valentine, The
Bars 25-28 : There appears to be a discrepancy between the original publication and differing descriptions appearing in local dance cribs which seem to require clarification.

The original instructions for “The Valentine” appeared in the leaflet ‘Homecoming Scotland – 5 Dances 2009’ and contained a printing error,

i.e. the last phrase in bars 25-26 was incorrect and an omission occurred in bars 27-28. On page 6 of the October 2009 Scottish Country Dancer magazine a correction was printed as follows:

25-26   3rd, 1st and 2nd couples, giving right hands, turn half way round and remain in the middle facing partners.

27-28  3rd, 1st and 2nd couples set to finish facing up with nearer hands joined.

VIllage Reel, The
Bars 9-16: In the prescribed Dances booklet for Unit 2, it says: 1st couple dance a promenade, round 2nd couple. To begin 1st couple pass 2nd woman by the right and finish in first place in the middle of the set facing down. Some candidates interpret this as a promenade rather than a figure of eight which is correct.
In the new compilation book the instructions say "1st couple, taking promenade hold, dance a figure of eight round 2nd couple, passing 2nd woman by the right to begin, and finish in the middle of the set facing down." This should clarify the issue for candidates and dancers.
Vintage Simon
According to the instructions in Book 47 for Vintage Simon, on bars 7 & 8 the ‘ 1st couple , giving right hands, turn to face first corners’ . Then on bars 9 & 10 ‘1st couple and first corners, giving right hands, change places.’ This would mean that the first couple are giving right hands to turn each other and then immediately right hands to their corner. 5th couple are dancing similarly. This seemed awkward giving right hand followed by right hand again, when we danced it in class. We are wondering if it is a misprint?
It is not a misprint. When dancing bars 7&8,  1st couple should give hands, thinking of it as a change right hands to finish facing first corners. 1st couple should release hands during bar 8 to prepare to give right hand to first corner. 5th couple dance similarly.
West's Hornpipe
We have been asked whether the dancing couple should take hands during bars 25-26, while setting to the 2nd couple, as the current wording suggests that they only take hands as they dance down to the bottom of the set
We can confirm that the dancing couple should take nearer hands as they turn to face 2nd couple, and that they retain them while setting and dancing down the middle.