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square set

South Galway Set

The South Galway Set hails from the Gort area of Galway, Republic of Ireland. This Set dance can be viewed on Volume 2 of the video series The Magic of Irish Set Dancing with instruction by the late Connie Ryan. Other published instructions include Terry Moylan's Irish Dances, Pat Murphy's Toss the Feathers and Tom Quinn's Irish Dancing. Joe O'Hara has two online versions of this set: a 4-couple workshop version and a traditional half set version

The following instructions for the South Galway Set dance can also be found on the Newcastle Irish Set Dancers' website along with instructions for many more Irish Set Dances. They were copied here by the author of that page, Arthur Kingsland. Instructions for the Clare Lancers Set can also be found on Wikipedia.

Formation

Square Set of four couples, Gents on the left of their partners. 1st Top Couple have their backs to the band, with 2nd Top Couple opposite them. 1st Side Couple are on the left of 1st Top Couple (when facing into the set) and 2nd Side Couple are opposite them (to the right of 1st Tops). All Couples dance all parts of each figure, except where described otherwise in Figure 4 (Tops on their own followed by Sides on their own).

Dance instructions

Figure 1: Reels (56 bars)

All House around Waltz hold with Partner - House around the set 8 bars
Pass Through Top Couples face Side Couple on your left - Pass Opposite (right shoulder to right / Ladies passing left shoulders in the middle) [2 bars] + Face Partner and change places (left shoulder to left / Lady turns anticlockwise into place / Gent turns clockwise) + Face across [2 bars] and pass Opposite (right shoulders) + Change places with Partner (left shoulders) 8 bars
Swing Waltz hold - Swing Partner 8 bars
+ Repeat House around + Face the same Couple - Pass through and back + Swing 24 bars

Figure 2: Reels (72 bars)

All House around Waltz hold - House around 8 bars
Advance, Retire + Pass through Top Couples face Side Couple on your left - Open waltz hold - Advance and retire [4 bars] + Pass Opposite (right shoulders - Ladies in the middle) + Change places with Partner (left shoulders) [4 bars] + Repeat back to place (Advance and retire + Pass through) 16 bars
Swing Waltz hold - Swing Partner 8 bars
+ Repeat House around + Face the same Couple - Advance and retire + Pass through + Advance and retire + Pass back + Swing 32 bars

Figure 3: Reels (88 bars)

All House around House around 8 bars
Advance, Retire + House Across Waltz hold - Advance to the centre and retire + House around halfway to Opposite place + Advance and retire + House around to home position 16 bars
House Around House Around 8 bars
Swing Waltz hold - Swing Partner 8 bars
+ Repeat House around + Advance to the centre and retire + House halfway + Advance and retire + House to home + House around + Swing 40 bars

Figure 4: Jigs (88 bars)

Using Up jig steps...
All House around House around 8 bars
Tops House Top Couples - House around each other 8 bars
All Advance, Retire + House + Swing All Couples in waltz hold - Advance and retire twice (forward 1-2-123 back 1-2-123) + House around + Swing 24 bars
All House around House around 8 bars
Sides House Side Couples - House around each other 8 bars
All Advance, Retire + House + Swing Advance and retire twice + House around + Swing 24 bars

Figure 5: Reels (72 bars)

All House around House around 8 bars
Advance, Retire + Ladies cross + House Top Couples face Side Couple on your left - Open waltz hold - Advance and retire + Ladies change places passing right shoulder to right while Gents turn once in place clockwise (pulling right shoulder back) + House around with new Partner 16 bars
Advance, Retire + Ladies cross + House Advance and retire + Ladies change places while Gents turn clockwise in place + House around with original Partner 16 bars
Swing + House Swing + House around with Partner 16 bars
+ Repeat Advance and retire + Ladies cross + House around with new Partner + Advance and retire + Ladies cross + House around with original Partner 32 bars
Big Christmas All form a basket - Place left arm over the right of the person next to you and grasp the wrist of the next person with your left, Place right foot into the middle and circle left 8 bars

Steps

All Advance and Retire movements, for both the jigs and the reels, are danced Forward 1-2-123 Back 1-2-123.

For Ladies starting on the right foot (t = toe): R L Rt-Lt-Rt / L R Lt-Rt-Lt
For Gents starting on the left foot: L R Lt-Rt-Lt / R L Rt-Lt-Rt

Joe O'Hara notes that the set is danced quite flat, with some lift to the step - though not as much as in the Clare style - and little or no battering. The jig is danced with the rising (or up) jig step.

References

  • Moylan, Terry (1985). Irish Dances. Na Piobairi Ulleann: Dublin. 19-24.
  • Murphy, Pat (1995). Toss the Feathers. Cork: Mercier Press. 200-201.
  • Quinn, Tom (1977). Irish Dancing. Glasgow: Harper Collins. 421-424.

Web versions of this set

* 4-couple workshop version of the South Galway Set
* traditional half set version of the South Galway Set

Copyright (c) 2005 Arthur Kingsland.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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