St. Margaret's Hill

Tue, 10 Apr 2018, 22:17
Historical sources

Updated 29th June 2019 to fix mistakes.

A1 (4) 1C cast down into 2nd place, then 1W come up in between 2C and 1M down in between 3C, into two lines of three facing up and down. (2)
Lines fall back and advance. (2)
A2 (4) Hands 6 circle left all the way.
B1 (8) 1C right-hand turn 1st corners (the person on their right: 1M with 3W, 1W with 2M) once, then two-hand turn each other until facing down with the man on the left. (4)
1C lead down through 3C, cast up and half two-hand turn to face 2nd corners (1M faces 2W and 1W faces 3M). (4)
B2 (8) 1C left-hand turn 2nd corners, 2-hand turn partner and face up. (4)
For triple minor: 1C lead up through 2C, cast down back into 2nd place and two-hand turn.
For 3-couple longways: 1C lead up through 2C, cast down back into 2nd place and two-hand turn moving down into 3rd place as 3C cast up. (4)

The first Cu. cast off both together, the Man falls in between the 3d Cu. and the Wo. falls in between the 2d Cu. then fall back, and Hands half round  ·  The 1st Man turns the 3. Wo. and this Partner turn the 2d Man at the same Time, then turn your Partner half round, and lead her through the Bottom Cu. and come up and turn her, then the Wo. turns the 3d. Man, and her Partner turns the 2. Wo. both at once, then turn Hands half round, and lead through the Upper Cu. and cast off and turn  : 

The original interpretation for this is from Fallibroome and that’s what most people use. In that version, the dance is converted to a 3 couple set instead of a triple minor, using a 3-1-2 progression instead of the usual 2-3-1 progression used for such conversions. That's quite a nice progression, but obviously not the original intention of the dance, and there are some ways in which it’s not quite as satisfying as I’d like:

  • Fallibroome (openly) adds an extra three-quarter turn in the A. Without it you’d have a lot of time and it definitely improves the dance.
  • Everyone has to do a half turn to their own sides at the end to avoid ending up on the wrong side, which isn’t described.
  • At the beginning of the B2 there’s a really awkward change of direction for the first couple, who come into place out of a two-hand turn and then have to face right and do a left hand turn. With practice you can make it work but it’s not ideal for the dance.

Aside: regarding those turns in the B, this is really a contra corners move, a bit like Fandango, and I think a similar solution applies there – single hands rather than two hands, which is what Fallibroome does.

The combination of finishing 3-1-2 instead of 2-1-3 and finishing on the wrong side, as well as having extra time to add a turn three-quarters, hints that maybe the circle should be all the way around instead of halfway? If we do that then the rest falls out very nicely indeed. In particular, there's some lovely symmetry between the two B sections.

I’ve chosen two-hand turns with your partner in the Bs after the initial turns here because:

  • For the first one, a left-hand turn would only be a quarter at most before facing down with the man on the left, whereas this is a little over half as the dance directs.
  • We’re covering a little more ground and it gives us the time to do so.
  • It means we can open out into a closest-hand hold for the leads down and up, rather than Scottish-style same-hand hold, which feels more idiomatic.

While this is very satisfying as a triple minor, you need to do it for a very long time to give everyone a go at first couple! So more commonly I convert it to a 3-couple longways by having the 3rd couple cast up as the 1st couple turn down at the end of the dance.