St Petersburg with the Skye Gathering

This Reel was invented by Alasdair Hilleary
(Tune: Awa' tae St Petersburg, by Sheena Hilleary. Reel time: 32 bars)

Music by kind permission of The Highfield Reels Band
(The tune 'Awa' tae St Petersburg' by Sheena Hilleary is the sixth tune.)

NOTE 1: The right handed 'Russian' swing is done by positioning yourself beside the other person, facing in opposite directions, and placing right hands on the other person's right shoulder to swing. Vice versa for a left hander. When ladies dance with ladies, they make a small and graceful dip on each third step. When ladies dance with men, they simply turn. When men dance with men, they do high cuts or kicks as they go round, and shouting, "Hoi! Hoi! Hoi!" (for the uninitiated this means, "I'm having a Ball!").

Fireworks at St Isaac's after dinner

NOTE 2: The 'Skye Balance' is done down the centre of the reel. First, the dancing couple and each couple on either side, take their partners by their right thumbs at shoulder level, and execute a half turn catching the left thumb of the neighbouring couple at shoulder level, thus each facing in opposite directions and forming the 'Skye Balance' in the centre of the set. Keep holding thumbs and set twice, rocking back and fore. Releasing the left thumbs you execute a second half turn with your partner, and catch the left thumb of the other neighbouring couple. Set twice again and then return to your own place. When the whole set of six couples does the 'Skye Balance' all at the same time, this is a 'full house'. All should let out a cry of "Na zdorovje" (pronounced 'naztrovya') in recognition of the phenomenon!

NUMBERING: Sets of six ideally, in two lines of men facing ladies

Music Bars Description
1-7

1-7First and second ladies advance across the set to the second and third men, set and 'Russian' swing LEFT handed. First and second ladies then meet in the middle for a RIGHT handed 'Russian' swing (dipping demurely). First and second ladies return to their own side, swapping places (so 2,1,3). This is the point in the dance when the lady of the dancing couple moves down one place. Do not linger!

8-15 First and second men advance across the set to first's partner and number 3 lady, set and 'Russian' swing LEFT handed. First and second men then meet in the middle for a RIGHT handed 'Russian' swing (whilst executing 3 high cuts/kicks and shouting "Hoi! Hoi! Hoi!". First and second men return to their own side, swapping places (so 2, 1, 3). This is the point in the dance when the man of the dancing couple moves down one place. Move it!
16-23 First three ladies and first three men place arms around shoulders on their side and advance in line to stamp three times, then retire and clap three times.
24-32

The Skye 'balance': first three dancing couples take partners by the right thumb and swing half a turn, catching neighbours' left thumb to form the first 'balance' (observe for a Roulette!). Holding thumbs set twice. Release neighbour's left thumb, swing another half turn with partner, catching the other neighbour's left thumb to form the second 'balance' (watch again for the Roulette!), set twice, release neighbour's thumb and swing partner to return to your own places on your own sides.

Repeat Often!

 

Catherine Palace
Catherine Palace
Palace Square from the Hermitage
Palace Square from the Hermitage
The Hermitage and the Alexander Column
The Hermitage and the Alexander Column
St Petersburg University across the river Neva
St Petersburg University across the river Neva
Church of our Saviour on Spilled Blood
Church of our Saviour on Spilled Blood
'Have another vodka old boy (but do mind the achilles tendon)'
'Have another vodka old boy (but do mind the achilles tendon)'