The Shepherd's Crook

A Traditional Scottish Dance for One Man and Two Ladies

Music: 72 bars Strathspey (eg Orange and Blue)

Formation: One man between two ladies, all in a line facing the audience.

Abbreviations: M = man; W = woman; RF= right foot; LF = left foot

Mnemonic: Travel, Rocking, Crook, Scottische, Reel, Huntly, Circle, Final Step.

1-8: All turn about and dance four steps away from the audience, turn about and return to places. As far as possible all 3 dancers should keep hands joined in a line.
9-16: Still with hands joined, all dance the "Shake and Rock" step from the Highland Fling (aka "Rocking Step").
17-24: Crook:
17-20: Man and LH lady dance two common schottische setting steps, raising their joined hands to form an arch. RH lady dances under this arch (front to back) and back to place, pulling the man and LH lady through the arch after her (they sort of turn inside out).
21-24: Repeat with LH lady dancing under the arch made by man and RH lady.

25-28: Man and RH lady join in ballroom hold and dance a highland schottische step towards the audience and back again.
29-32: Man and RH lady turn once round by the right hand using four travelling steps.
33-40: Man and LH lady repeat. They can either dance away from or towards the audience, and if dancing towards the audience, sometimes take reverse ballroom hold.
41-48: All dance a reel of three, man giving LS to RH lady to begin.
49-56: Still with hands joined, all dance the "Crossover" step from the Highland Fling (aka "Huntly").
57-64: All join hands and circle three hands round and back.
65-72: Dropping hands, all dance the final step of the Highland Fling. Sometimes the ladies take four slow walking steps on the last 2 bars to walk away from the man and curve back round to face him (and this can be either walking away to his right and left, then curving round towards the audience, or can be walking towards the audience and then curving away to right and left).

Bow and curtsey, then leave to rapturous applause.

Note 1: Wherever possible, dancers have hands joined in a line during the first 64 bars. The last eight bars are the only bars where they are in a line without hands joined (and hence the only 8 bars in which the Fling steps include the arm positions - but for the man only).

Note 2: The timing of the crook varies. Sometimes, the man goes under the arch on the 3rd bar and the other lady on the 4th, sometimes they both go under together on 3 and 4.

This dance falls halfway between Scottish Country Dancing and Highland - the terminology I have used is generally SCD terminology - please drop me a mail at if you want any explanation of any of the terms.

Traditional, description by Ian Brockbank, July 2000.

Last modified 31-03-04 .

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