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The Allemande 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. The two bars at the end gave slower dancers the opportunity to catch up and be ready for the next figure. The figure can be danced in both Strathspey (slow) time and in Reel and Jig (Fast) time.
In the Allemande the movements are controlled by the Men, reflecting the period when these dances were devised. Both the Man and the Lady face the same way with the Lady on the Man’s right with the Man standing just behind the Lady and slightly overlapping her. The hold used involves the Ladies’ right upper arm being slightly below the horizontal and the forearm at about 45° up. The Man holds the Ladies’ right hand in his right hand with his right elbow close to the centre of the Ladies’ shoulders. This position allows the Man to guide the Lady forward with his right elbow. The left hands are clasped with the left arms held fairly straight close but not in contact with the body. This position allows the Lady to be turned by the Man pulling the Lady’s hand while he swivels.
At the end of the figure before the Allemande both couples finish in the centre of the dance facing up the set with the 1st couple above the 2nd couple. Each couple is holding left hands in front of the man and holding right hands in front of the Lady, the Man’s right arm is in front of the Ladies left arm. Without disturbing the Lady’s hair style the men raise their partners arms up and transfer their own right arms over their partners head on the first beat of the first bar of the Allemande.
In the first bar both couples take a small diagonal step forward to the right finishing with the 1st Man swivelling anticlockwise guiding his partner round so that they both finish facing the men’s side of the dance. At the same time the 2nd couple start to rotate to take up the position behind them.
In the second bar the 1st couple followed by the 2nd cross the set to the man’s side of the dance and the 1st Man again swivels anticlockwise guiding his partner round so that they both finish facing down the men’s side of the dance.
In the third bar the 1st couple travel down the men’s side of the dance while the 2nd couple take up position behind them also facing down the dance.
In the 4th bar both couples swivel round to finish in a line along the men’s side of the dance facing the Ladies’ side of the dance. The couples have now progressed.
In the 5th bar both couples covering each other advance in a line to the centre of the dance.
In the sixth bar both men raise their right arm over their partners head turning her to face him. Each dancer now has their back towards their own side of the dance. Men treat their partner with affection and not as a sack of potatoes.
The dancing couples now drop hands and use the last two bars to fall back to their own side.
The figure should be kept very tight especially in Reel or Jig time and it must be remembered throughout that the purpose is to change places.
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