Sandon Scottish Country Dance Club Chelmsford
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Instructions and videos for three simple ceilidh dances

The example dance videos shown here, refer to three simple ceilidh dances, popular at weddings or similar occasions. The instructions, or cribs, explain how each dance is done.  The text here is written of the beginner.  The official formal (and accurate) cribs are different. The official cribs are in more cryptic format, but you will soon get the idea of expressions like "Snowball Chain with side couples joining in on bar 35, all end in straight lines on sides"!

High heeled shoes are NOT suitable; trainers or other shoes are fine. Bare feet or proper dancing shoes may risk other people stepping on you. Please keep your thumbs flat against the palms of your hands to avoid hurting other people's arms.

Gay Gordons dance video 

Music: March, 16 bar, as long as you like.

Style of dance: Round the room dance, couples behind each other, all facing anticlockwise.


All couples taking Allemande hold, walk forward four steps, retaining hands held, all turn about and walk backwards, continuing in the same direction a further four steps.

Repeat going clockwise round the room, ending facing anticlockwise.

All Men set, as Ladies twirl under Man's right arm, then all polka round the room anticlockwise.

Gay Gordons Scottish dance video.
YouTube video recorded by St Andrew Society of Western Australia.

Dashing White Sergeant

Music: Reel, 32 bar, as long as you like.

Style of dance: Round the Room Dance, 3 facing 3. Either man in the middle and ladies on each side or lady in the middle and men on each side. Hold hands in lines of 3 across.


All circle six hands round and back.

Centre dancer turns to the right, sets and turns person on right, right hand, then sets and turns person on left, right hand.

All dance reels of 3 across (figure of 8 by all 3 people), with centre dancer passing right shoulder with person on right to start.

Join hands in 3s, all Advance+Retire, then with the clockwise group of 3 making arches the other group pass underneath. Both groups meeting up with the next group round the room to make new circles of 6.

Dashing White Sergeant video.
YouTube video recorded by St Andrew Society of Western Australia.

Strip the Willow (Orkney style)

Jig, 40 bar, or as long as you want.

Style:  Two giant long lines, men facing ladies, possibly diagonally across the room, to fit everyone in if necessary.

Crib : 
Top couple start by turning right hand two and a half times.
Then using left hands, lady turns second man, while man turns second lady.
Then dancing couple turn their own partner right hand.
Repeat all the way down to the bottom, lady turning all the men and man turning all the ladies.

Once about 4 couples are passed, the new top couple can start. All need to keep moving up the room sideways gradually.

Strip the Willow (Orkney style)
YouTube video