Freshers week may be over but not to worry, there are still plenty of parties on the horizon …. If you haven’t partaken in the traditional Scottish Ceilidh to date, it’s likely that you will come across this wonderful, fun and exhausting traditional dance in the near future. These dances can appear a complex and incomprehensible dance form – especially if combined with a wee dram – so I thought we would lend a helping hand and educated on the finer details of our favourite dance, as no Ceilidh is complete without an enthusiastic rendition of Strip The Willow …..
STRIP THE WILLOW
You will need: As many sets of couples as you can squeeze on the dance floor; Ladies on the left, Kilted gents on the right.
As the music begins, Couple 1 – those to the bottom of the set – come together, take each others arm – or crossed hands if you prefer – and spin for the first eight bars.
Lady 1 then takes Gent 2 by the arm and spins for 2 bars before returning to her partner and spinning together for 2 bars. At the same time Gent 1 is similarly spinning Lady 2.
Couple 1 then move on to spin Couple 3 for 2 bars, before returning to each other to partake in some more spinning together.
This, soon to be exhausted couple, continues up the line in this formation until the top is reached – depending on size of group, dance floor and level of inebriation this can necessitate high levels of enthusiasm and endurance – usually found in spades at any Scottish Ceilidh!
On Bar 11 Couple 2 embark on the same journey, spinning up the line in pursuit of couple 1. Every 11 bars this formation will continue, until at some, often unknown point, the music will finally stop and plenty of hand-shaking can commence and much needed drinks can be consumed!
I hope you enjoyed this introduction to Ceilidh Dancing – Phase 1. I leave with one final note of advice; Throw off the High heels before you begin.