THE ST. COLUMBAN REEL

Suitable Tune: Bonnie Anne

Two weeks after our Club was formed, I was asked if the 11 year olds could give a display in their school concert 5 weeks hence. This group consisted of 8 girls and 4 boys, none of whom could set, and they were expected to perform on a square stage, so the following dance was created for the occasion.

One boy stands between 2 girls on each side of a square set.

Figure 1
1 - 8 All circle to the left for 16 slip steps.
9 -16 All dace 8 skip change of step to places (anticlockwise)
17-18 Girls 1a and 3a change places giving right hands.
19-20 Girls 1b and 3b change places giving right hands.
21-24 These girls now dance half rights and lefts to places whilst boys 1a and 3 turn by the right hand once round (tightening their arms on bars 22-23.
25-32 Groups 2 and 4 repeat bars 17-24.

Figure 2 (Diamond, loop & wheel)

diagram for St Columban Reel


1 - 2 Dancing in a clockwise direction the boys dance diagonally to the position of the boy in front
3 - 4 The boys now loop behind the next 2 girls to finish opposite their own places.
5 - 8 Each group dances 3 hands across with the right hands.
9 -16 Repeat bars 1 - 8 continuing in a clockwise direction, finishing in own places.

Figure 3 (following)
In this figure girl 1a follows 1b who follows 3a who follows 3b who follows 1a, whilst girl 2a follows 2b who follows 4a who follows 4b who follows 2a.

diagram for St Columban Reeldiagram for St Columban Reel


1 - 2 "a" girls cast to "b" girls' places whilst "b" girls dance to the place directly opposite, briefly making a right hand wheel as they do so.
3 - 4 "b" girls cast whilst the "a" girls dance across the set making a right hand wheel.
5 - 8 Continue this formation to places.
9 -12 Each boy casts round his "b" girl; dances right hands across to the place directly opposite his starting position.
13-16 Each boy then casts round the "b" girl of the group he is now with, and continues with a right hand wheel to place.

Figure 4
1 - 2 "Corners change". Girls 1a and 4b make an arch and change places with girls 2b and 3a who dance under the arch.
3 - 4 Girls 1b and 2a make an arch and change places with girls 3b and 4a.
5 - 8 Repeat bars 1-4 back to places the other pairs making the arches.
9 -12 Boys turn girls "a" by the right hand.
13-16 Boys turn girls "b" by the left hand.
17-24 Each group dances a reel of three on their own side of the set (the boys commencing by giving right shoulder to the girl on their right).
25-32 All circle to the left going off the stage, last girl waving goodbye.

Note:
In the original performance figure 3 was danced thus:
1 - 2 The "a" girls cast to the "b" girls' positions whilst the "b" girls dance to the place diagonally opposite. (giving left hands in a wheel).
3 - 4 The "b" girls then follow the "a" girls track whilst the "a" girls cast round the boy who is now next to them.
5 - 8 The boys dance a right hand wheel.
9 -12 Repeat bars 1-4 to places but giving right hands in the wheels.
13-16 The boys dance a left hand wheel.

Thus the pattern followed by the girls is two half figures of eight. This is more difficult to perform as it requires agile dancing as well as avoiding a collision by passing the opposite "a" girls by the right shoulder (at the end of bar 2) who have just cast to the position the "b" girls are heading for.

diagram for St Columban Reeldiagram for St Columban Reel

St Columban Book - Sheila Gradon.