The annotated Bottoms Up

If you've learnt to be wary of Threading the Needle, you could easily have learnt that while dancing Bottoms Up

Form...

The caller will ask for 5 couple sets and say:

  • Join hands along the lines and the couple at the bottom of the set also join up to make a horseshoe.

You find someone to dance with, wander up onto the dance floor, look for a set with not enough couples and join on the bottom. You will find "the men" will be on one side of the set and "the women" will be on the other. Don't get fazed if this is not the case. What is important is that the top two people on the men's side know that they have to make an arch.

The Dance

Everybody has their hands joined along the lines and across the bottom of the set. You have 10 people in one long, horseshoe shaped line.

A:Women, Thread the Needle

The caller will say Thread the needle or Women, Thread the needle. Whatever, the first and second man (or first and second person on the man's side) lift up their arms to make an arch. The First Lady, making sure she has a firm grip on the second lady, heads through that arch and dances round anticlockwise round the rest of the men.

What happens next depends on the top two men. They might decide on a gentle, sedate Thread the Needle (and wait until the first lady gets back to place with everyone else in tow) Full details are given in the Annotated Thread the Needle page. In either variant it's good that the arch remembers and makes it totally clear and obvious that it is there to be danced through. or go for the somewhat wilder variant where everyone is moving

Men...

The caller may say men, thread the needle or leave it to the music to tell you. The First and Second Lady need to make an arch, whether they are back in place or not, and the First Man drags the horseshoe back in the other direction through that arch.

Now it's the women's turn to decide whether to do the gentle or wild variant.

B1:Circle Left and Right

Join hands in a big ring, circle left and back to the right. The circle is there there to give you time to catch your breath, find the remains of your glasses, work out which way the top of the set is. Work out if you are the bottom couple, because if you are the bottom couple, you need to know...

B2:Bottoms Up...

Bottom couple, join both hands and gallop up to the top of the set, keep joined hands and pause slightly between the top couple...

The top and bottom couples are going to be dancing back down to the bottom together. The 'tops' place their hands on bottom couple's waists and all four dance down. When the Bottom Couple gets back to where they started, they stop. The tops dance that little bit further to make sure that they are "the new bottom couple" and join up into the horseshoe because it is all going to start again...

More information: Origins...

Written by Dougie Adams [citation needed]

See also...

Bottoms Up recorded at Red Fox Ceilidhs