“When dancing an allemande, some people have their hands and arms in allemande hold by the end of the previous phrase, others lift them on the first beat of the first bar of the allemande. Is there a standard way of starting an allemande?”

In many of the earlier RSCDS dances, allemande was usually preceded by the 1st couple dancing a solo figure, such as “lead down the middle and up.”  I such cases, where 2nd couple have to step in behind 1st couple, current RSCDS practice is still that both couples bring their arms, from promenade hold, over into allemande hold at the start of the first bar of the allemande.  In quick time there is the danger of a jerky movement of the arms, leading to a lack of elegance.  The bringing of the arms into allemande hold is easier to manage in strathspeys, but in The Robertson Rant, the turn into allemande hold is usually done in a more leisurely fashion, occupying the whole of the first bar.

In dances where everyone involved in the allemande is turning immediately prior to the allemande, all the dancers usually finish with arms in full allemande hold at the end of the preceding phrase of music.  This is current RSCDS practice in dances such as: MissHadden’s Reel, Wisp of Thistle and Joie de Vivre.


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