Gay Gordons (dance)
The Gay Gordons is a popular dance at cèilidhs and other kinds of informal and social dance in Scotland. It is an "old-time" dance, of a type popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in which every couple dances the same steps, usually in a circle around the room.
The name alludes to a Scottish regiment, the Gordon Highlanders.
In " Old Time Dancing" published in 1949 Englishman Victor Silvester states that "The Gay Gordons" was created between WWI and WWII and was part of a wider craze for march-style dances (such as the Dinkey One Step). In an article published in the Folk Dance Problem Solver historian Ron Houston failed to trace an earlier reference to this dance .
A standard ceilidh instruction:
- Formation: couples in a circle around the room facing anti-clockwise, ladies on the right.
- Music: 2/4 or 4/4 march. E.g. "Scotland the Brave", "The Gay Gordons".
|1-2||Right hands joined over lady's shoulder (man's arm behind her back) and left hands joined in front, walk forward for four steps, starting on the right foot.|
|3-4||Still moving in the same direction, and without letting go, pivot on the spot (so left hand is behind lady and right hand is in front) and take four steps backwards.|
|5-8||Repeat in the opposite direction.|
|9-12||Drop left hands, raise right hands above lady's head. Lady pivots on the spot. (The man may set).|
|13-16||Joining hands in ballroom hold, polka (dance step) round the room.|
Repeat ad lib. In order to make the dance progressive, the ladies may leave their partners between bars 12-13 and move to the partner before them in the circle.
For Scottish country dancers, the grip in the first eight bars is allemande hold.
A live demonstration was performed by the Royal Scottish Country Dancing Society in 2007.
- Additional instructions and music/video links for the Gay Gordons
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- Victor Silvester. Old Time Dancing London: Herbert Jenkins 1950(1951) p. 130
- Houston, Ron. Gay Gordons in The Folk Dance Problem Solver 1995 pp 14-16