Witches reel

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The Witches Reel is a traditional Ceilidh dance from Scotland.

Thought to be around 200 years old, it fell largely out of fashion and became almost forgotten in the 20th Century.

However, a new wave of uptempo ceilidh bands like WhiskyKiss have begun bringing back the great forgotten dances.

Bands of this type now treat the Witches Reel as a dance to involve the whole room all at once, danced as one line of gentlemen and one line of ladies, rather than as a dance to be performed in sets of any particular size.

The dance lends itself to this "group gathering" approach, with the whole room involved. This is because the dance will finish with all of the guests joined in an "n" shaped wheel, which then wheels round and round as all the dancers fit through an arch provided by the first two ladies in line (then by another supplied by the first two men).

Leading modern ceilidh bands have found this dance to be perfect for all ages (from the youngest to the oldest) and perfect for first time ceilidh goers to learn, as it is not complex.

The dance starts with a line of gentlemen facing a line of ladies.

The first couple join hands and - to wild applause - they proceed down the middle of the dance to the far end of the room, then (to even wilder applause) they come all the way back down the middle of the room to where they began.

The first lady then casts off behind the girls line, the first boy casts off down the back of the boys' line. All dancers follow their leader (so all the girls one-by-one cast off and pass down the room behind the girls' line, and the boys likewise on their side of the room).

The top couple form an arch at the top of the room, with all couples passing underneath the arch.

Then all the boys, side by side, link arms as if a pirate. All the girls link arms, side by side, as if a piratesse. The top couple (who just provided an arch) reach across to hold each other's hand to complete the "n" shape.

The first two girls in line form an arch and the top boy then leads all of the "n" shaped dance through this arch (which inevitably makes the room wheel in unison)

When back in line, the first two boys return the compliment, forming an arch, and the first lady now leads the "n" shaped dance through this arch to finish the dance.