THE TURTLE IN THE MARSH

Music: 40 bar jig tune played AABBB or AABBA.

Cootamundra is an aboriginal word meaning The Turtle in the Marsh (but the locals often refer to it, as the frog in the bog!)

4 girls stand on 4 corners of a diamond whilst a 5th girl (the turtle) stands in the centre.

diagram for The Turtle in the Marsh

1 - 8 The outside girls dance round the set taking 2 steps to each side of the diamond whilst the "turtle" sets (using a highland setting step if she wishes) (See diagram 1)

9 -12 The "turtle" now faces 1st girl and joins nearer hands with girls 2 and 4 who face the opposite way. Girls 1 and 3 dance under these arches and round to their places commencing by passing the "turtle" by their left shoulders.

13-16 The "turtle" now faces the 4th girl and joins nearer hands with girls 1 and 3 who face the opposite way. Girls 2 and 4 dance under these arches and round to their places commencing by passing the "turtle" by their left shoulders. (see diagrams 2 and 3)

diagram for The Turtle in the Marsh diagram for The Turtle in the Marsh

17-32 The "turtle" now dances right shoulder clover reels as follows:-
17-20 Half a reel of three with 1st and 3rd girls
21-24 Half a reel of three with the 4th and 2nd girls
25-28 Half a reel of three with the 1st and 3rd girls
29-32 Half a reel of three with the 4th and 2nd girls
33-34 The "turtle" changes places with 1st girl giving right hands
35-36 1st girl changes places with 2nd girl giving left hands
37-38 2nd girl changes places with 3rd girl giving right hands
39-40 3rd girl changes places with 4th girl giving left hands

The dance is now repeated with a new "turtle" in the middle each time for 4 more turns.

St Columban Book - Sheila Gradon