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English Reels:
Cottagers
Six Reel
Three Reel
Eightsome Reel

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English Reels: Cottagers, Six Reel, Three Reel, Eightsome Reel

Source: Mrs. Boyle; published in English Dance & Song, June, July 1938, Volume II, Number 6.

Cottagers

Formation: Sicilian Circle

Collected from Mr. J Lishman of Ambleside before 1939
A1 Star Right; Star Left
A2 Partner Swing
B1 North Country Ladies' Chain x2
B2 Swing & Change (Polka)

Collected from Miss Short of Ambleside after 1939
A1 Star Right; Star Left
A2 Set to Partner; Partner Swing (OR NC Ladies' Chain)
B1 Basket
B2 Forward & Back
Pass Thru, Setting

Music:
The music suggested is "Merrily Danced the Quaker's Wife". This is a jig, not a reel. The dance does not include a reel or hey. So why is this in an article entitled "English Reels"? What do they mean by "reel"?

Notes:
Sadly I haven't found any responses to the request in this article for more information.

North Country Ladies' Chain: Important: The man does NOT turn at all. Ladies pull by right and offer left to the man. The man steps to the right and raises his left hand; the lady backs under it to end facing the same way as the man, slightly behind him, on his left. The man lowers his left hand and steps to his left, passing the lady's left hand from his left hand to his right hand behind his back. As he does this the lady steps to her right and forward to stand beside him. They end up as a couple with the man on the left, lady on the right.

Six Reel

Formation: Square of Trios: The man in the middle with arms akimbo and a lady on each side

A1 Heads Go Forward & Back
Head Ladies Cross Over with the Opposite Lady and turn to hook onto the Opposite Man
A2 Sides the same
B1 Heads the same, back to place
B2 Sides the same, back to place
A3 Head Men with Right Hand Lady: Polka/Gallop around the inside of the set
A4 Head Men with Left Hand Lady: the same
B3 Side Men with Right Hand Lady: the same
B4 Side Men with Left Hand Lady: the same

Music:
Again: The music suggested is "Merrily Danced the Quaker's Wife". This is a jig, not a reel. The dance does not include a reel or hey. So why is it called "Six Reel" and why is it in an article entitled "English Reels"? What do they mean by "reel"?

Notes:
Lots of opportunities for fancy footwork, especially for the men as the ladies cross, and for the ladies when they are not doing the polka. There is a completely different dance with the same name in the Community Dance Manual.

Three Reel

Formation: Three dancers in a line, a man in the middle, ladies at either end.

A1 The Man steps with one lady
A2 The Man steps with the other lady
B1 Hey for three, starting left shoulder

Music:
At last a reel! At least the dance has a reel (hey) figure in it, though the suggested music is a hornpipe. Still hornpipes and reels are interchangeable to a certain degree, depending on what you mean by a hornpipe, and how you play it.

Notes:
Basically do some clog steps, dance a hey, repeat until exhausted.

Eightsome Reel

Formation: Square

A1 Head Couples Cross Over
Side Couple Cross Over
A2 Head Couples Polka (around each other?)
A3 Side Couples Polka (around each other?)
A4-6 Repeat A1-3 to place
B1 All eight Circle Left to place
B2 All polka around the set to place

Music:
Well the suggested music, Soldier's Joy, is a reel (though described as a hornpipe), but no reels in the dance.

Notes:
This version has nothing in common with the well known Scottish dance of the same name. Add fancy footwork whenever possible! The length of the "Head Couples Polka" is not clear, nor whether you do it on the spot, or around each other. "Around each other" makes more sense to me, otherwise all four couples could do it at the same time. The description suggests you could waltz instead, though how you are supposed to waltz to Soldier's Joy or any other reel/hornpipe is beyond me! Though of course the band could switch between reels and waltzes as in Swedish Masquerade; then it would be the band's choice rather than the dancers'.

Original pages from English Dance & Song, June, July 1938

The New England Jig
The New England Jig
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