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The Reel Poussette figure is a means of progression in that two couples change places. The two couples who change places are usually the 1st and 2nd and this is how it will be described. The first six movements take one bar each and the last takes 2 bars. One of the other progressive figures is the Allemande which was first formalised as a Strathspey (slow time) figure in the 2nd RSCDS book. When the formalised Allemande figure was transferred to Jig (or Fast) time in the 4th RSCDS book it was found that allowing two bars at the end gave slower dancers the opportunity to catch up and be ready for the next figure. Early Poussettes did not allow the 2 bars to finish but in about 1931, Book 7, the Poussette was changed to the present figure with 2 bars at the end.
In the Poussette the movements are controlled by the Men, reflecting the period when these dances were devised.
The figure is danced with the two couples dancing round the sides of a square. Both couples start in the centre of the dance with their backs to their own sides and holding their partners with two hands joined, the Ladies right hand is placed in her partners left and her left in his right. The 1st couple progress down the Men’s side and the 2nd couple up the Ladies side.
In the first bar the 1st Man dances backwards straight towards the Men’s side bringing his partner with him, thus completing half of the top edge of the square. At the same time the 2nd Lady is pushed back by her partner towards her side of the dance completing half of the bottom edge. There must be no anticipation of the quarter turn that is to follow.
In the 2nd bar the 1st Man swivels on the spot and the 1st Lady describes a clockwise arc of a ¼ circle to finish on the Men’s side with her back towards the bottom of the set thus producing one of the right angle corners of the square. At the same time the 2nd Lady swivels on the spot and her partner rotates to finish on the Ladies side with his back towards the top of the set. The movement gives the feeling of the Man pulling with his right hand and pushing with his left.
In the 3rd bar the 1st Man pushes his partner down the Men’s side and the 2nd Man pulls his partner up the Ladies side thus completing the two side sides of the square again with no anticipation of the turn to come.
In the 4th bar it is the 1st Lady who swivels on the spot and the 1st Man describes the clockwise arc of a ¼ circle to finish in a line across the set in the 2nd couple’s original place but towards the men’s side and with his back towards the Ladies’ side of the set thus producing another of the right angle corners of the square. At the same time the 2nd Man swivels on the spot and his partner rotates to finish across the 1st couples position but towards the Ladies side with her back to the men’s side of the dance.
In the 5th bar the 1st Man dances backwards straight towards the ladies’ side bringing his partner with him, thus completing the other half of the bottom edge of the square. At the same time the 2nd Lady is pushed back by her partner towards the men’s side of the dance completing the other half of the top edge. Both couples are now back in the centre of the dance but having changed places and having their backs to their partner’s side of the dance.
In the 6th bar the two couples turn half way round to finish, still in the centre, but with their backs to their own side of the dance.
The dancing couples drop hands and use the last two bars to fall back to their own side.
Out to the side, quarter turn, up and down, quarter turn, into the centre, half a turn, fall back, fall back.
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