THE ARAN SET

Study Notes Copyright © William Lynch 2007

First Figure - Grand Chain (Reels) 160 bars
1 Lead around and back: Partners take crossed hand hold in front, dance round to place, reverse direction by turning inwards while keeping hands held and dance back to place.  The last 2 steps are danced in place, with the gents' backs to the centre and the ladies facing in, to the count: 7, 2, 3 stamp, 8, 2 stamp. 16 bars
2 Swing, with ceili hold. 8 bars
3 Grand chain: partners face each other, take R arm hold (R hand holding the other's R elbow), dance 1 step back then chain all round, to dance the last 2 steps in place and facing each other. 16 bars
4 Swing. 8 bars
5 Top couples:
Ladies chain: ladies take R arm hold in the centre and turn under the opposite gent's L hand as he follows her round, pass back R to R, turn under partner's L hand and dance around behind him while he dances in place and turns clockwise to face his lady on the last step, with L hands still held, and take ceili hold.
8 bars
Swing.
Side couples take crossed hand hold and dance across anti-clockwise to the opposite place, the lady dancing 1 turn clockwise under both raised hands and 2 turns under R hand into place.  Sides dance the last 2 steps facing centre.
8 bars
Waves: slide in and out, partners facing each other with crossed hand hold and dancing - slide 2,3,4 and back 2,3,4 (4 bars) and dance across anti-clockwise to the opposite place, the lady turning clockwise once under both hands and once under R hand (4 bars).The movement is then repeated back to place. 16 bars
Swing.
Side couples dance anti-clockwise back to their own places, ladies again turning underhand, and dance the last 2 steps facing centre.
8 bars
6 Grand chain.
Swing.
24 bars
7 Side couples:
Ladies chain and swing. Top couples dance across.
Waves.
Swing.  Top couples dance back.
40 bars
Second Figure - Dance Around Opposites (Reels) 296 bars
1 Top couples: Ladies chain and swing. 16 bars
1st gent and 2nd lady dance around each other: they pass R to R into each otherís place, dance a clockwise turn to pass back and turn once anticlockwise to dance the last 2 steps face to face in the centre (8 bars) and swing, finishing with their backs to their own positions (8 bars). 16 bars
Waves: 1st gent and 2nd lady slide 1 step back while their partners slide 1 step forward to meet them face to face and take crossed hand hold.  Both couples slide 1 step in and 2 steps out and dance anti-clockwise across to the opposite place, ladies turning clockwise once under both hands and once under R hand. 8 bars
Under the arch:1st gent, still holding R hand, dances into the centre to face the couple now on his R, forming a R hand arch with his partner.  At the same time, 2nd lady dances around behind 1st gent and under the arch, while her partner dances forward to meet her and take R hand in R as she comes through (2 bars). All three dancers now fall back to place without turning (2 bars). Both couples take crossed hand hold and dance back to place, the ladies turning once under both hands and once under R hand. 8 bars
2nd top couple swing into the centre. On the last 2 bars, the 1st couple advances to the centre, gent's R arm around his partner's waist. 8 bars
Three and one: the 2nd lady falls back out of the swing and into line with the 1st couple, on the gent's L and with his arm around her waist. The line of three and the single gent retire, moving away from each other (2 bars), advance (2 bars) moving towards each other, retire and advance (4 bars), forming a little christmas on the last step. 8 bars
Swing four, falling back to place on the last 2 bars, while side couples swing in place. 8 bars
2 Side couples now dance 1. with 1st couple (R of 1st tops) leading. 72 bars
3 Top couples repeat 1. with 2nd couple leading. 72 bars
4 Side couples repeat 1. with 2nd couple leading. 72 bars
Third Figure - Gents Changeover (Polka) 88 bars
1 Circle: all join hands in a circle and advance and retire twice.  On retiring for the second time, ladies turn R and gents L to take their corners in waltz hold. 8 bars
2 Polka round 1 place: new couples dance clockwise into the lady's place, making 2 full turns. 8 bars
3 Circle and change partners.
Polka round 1 place.
Circle and change.
Polka round.
Circle and change.
Polka back home.
48 bars
4 Circle.
Swing.
16 bars
STEPS
The reel step is the same as is danced in the South Galway set with only the merest hint of a 'heel' and a little lift, though much less pronounced than in the Clare style.  The Polka step is also very flat.
SOURCES
Connie Ryan, Cecil Sharp House, London 1992.  Mick Mulkerrin also taught the set at the Solihull workshop in June 1995, the only difference between his version and Connie's appearing in the 'Grand Chain' in the First Figure.
Mick taught the chain as follows:
Grand chain: partners face each other, take R arm hold and chain round to meet partners in the opposite place and batter 2 bars in place, chain on back to place and batter the last 2 bars at home.  16 bars

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