Orcadian Strip The Willow – positioning

The Orcadian Strip the Willow is a high energy dance, couples form a line down the centre of the room facing each other. Traditionally men stand on the right and ladies on the left (as viewed by the band). However,  as long as you stand opposite your partner and stick with them throughout you’re guaranteed a good time! 

The couples in this dance are numbered according to where they are standing in relation to the band. The top couple is the one closest to the music.

The first 8 Bars

For the first 8 bars of the music (after the intro) the top couple spin for sixteen beats.

Bars 9-16

From bars 9 – 16 the first couple work their way down the line. They spin the person from the opposite line with their left hand and then back to their partner with their right hand. The golden rule of this dance is ‘right hand to your partner, left hand down the line’. As long as you remember this throughout it’ll all be fine! A top tip is to try and hold onto the person you’re spinning’s elbow rather than grabbing their forearm.

Bars 17-24

During bars 17 – 24 the second couple spin for sixteen beats as the first couple did.

The Orcadian Strip the Willow End – Bars 25-32

For bars 25 – 32 they then continue to follow couple 1 all the way down the line, spinning the next person from the opposite line. Remember,  stick with the golden rule – right hand to your partner, left hand down the line.

When the first couple reaches the end of the line they spin again until the end of the phrase. They then join their sideline again. A new couple from the top of the line starts to spin every 16 bars. This should allow enough time to avoid any collisions!

For the people waiting their turn to ‘strip the willow’ remember to watch out for those working their way down the lines. You need to be there for them to spin you. When you see someone coming your way hold out your arm so you’re ready to go.

Also, remember to get involved whilst you are waiting for your big moment by encouraging those dancing down the middle. Cheer and clap – the more noise the better!

If you are looking for somewhere in London to dance this and other ceilidh dances then check out this video of The Ceilidh Club

If you would like instructions to the Gay Gordons then click on this link