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In its most basic form the reel is an intertwining figure where 3 dancers follow the same figure of 8 figure on the ground at the same time. The actual tracks are shown in the attached diagram ‘A’. To read these diagrams the 1st dancer should just follow the tracks given by the circle inscribed by a 1 going down the page for each bar in turn.
For a reel of 4 the figure described by the dancers is a figure of eight with an extra loop and the tracks are shown in the attached diagram ‘B’. Most reels of 4 are danced giving right shoulders at the end and left in the middle.
Reels of 3 are usually danced with each of the dancing couple, normally the 1st couple, dancing separate reels. When the Man dances on the men’s side he dances with the 2nd and 3rd Man and when he dances on the ladies’ side he dances with the 2nd and 3rd Ladies. The Lady dances similarly with the Ladies or the Men. The 2nd and 3rd Ladies are known as the Man’s corners and the 2nd and 3rd Men the Ladies’ corners, this will be described more fully with respect to other figures.
Reels of 3 are also danced across the set, usually with the Lady dancing with the 2nd couple and the Man with the 3rd or visa versa.
There are 3 basic types of reels on the sides, Parallel, Mirror Image and those with Rotational Symmetry (sounds complicated but it is just the dancing couple dancing in opposite directions on the opposite side). Most reels of 3 across the set have Rotational Symmetry.
With Parallel Reels the dancing couple start on opposite sides facing the same direction, give the same shoulder to the first person they meet and all dance alongside their partners moving to the right when their partner moves to the right and to the left when their partner moves to the left. All three couples cover off their partner throughout the reel acknowledging their presence from time to time.
With Mirror Image Reels the dancing couple start on opposite sides facing the same direction, give the opposite shoulders to the first person they meet and all dance alongside their partners moving to the right when their partner moves to the left and to the left when their partner moves to the right. Miss Milligan taught that you always give inside hands to your partner where possible except when the instructions specifically say you shouldn’t. Some modern teachers say you should not give hands except where it specifically says you should. It makes it easier to control the dance if you give hands and it is more social. I will therefore teach with the giving of hands.
With Rotationally Symmetric Reels the dancing couple start on opposite sides, at opposite ends, facing the opposite direction, give the same shoulder to the first person they meet and move to the right when their partner moves to the right and to the left when their partner moves to the left. When coming in from the ends the dancing couple are facing their partners diagonally across the dance and should acknowledge them with a relaxed smile.
These will be covered later.
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