Key to Text Cribs
MiniCribs from Charles Upton and the MiniCrib Team are the cribs you’ll most frequently
Please see about MiniCrib and how to produce your own crib
sheets using it. They are regularly updated with the latest dances and corrections. Choose the
Macro enabled ADVANCED database’ version if you have Word 2000 or later.
This is a typical example
MAIRI'S WEDDING (R8x40) 3C (4C set) Cosh 22 SCDs
1- 8 1s turn RH & cast to 2
place, 1s turn LH to face 1
9-16 1s dance 1/2 diagonal reel of 4 with 1
corners, 1s dance 1/2 diagonal reel with 2
17-24 1s dance 1/2 diagonal reel with 3
corner (pstns), 1/2 diagonal reel with 4
corner (pstns)
25-32 1s dance reel of 3 across (Lady with 2s, Man with 3s - LSh to 1
33-40 2s+1s+3s circle 6H round & back
The heading line contains the dance name, the type of the music and how many times it is
repeated, the number of couples and shape of the set for the dance, the name of the devisor
and where it was published. Here the dance is Mairi’s Wedding. The music is for a Reel,of 8
times 40 bars. The dance is for 4 couples in a longwise set with 3 couples dancing each time
through. Longwise is assumed for set – it could also be Sq.Set for a Square of 4 couples for
instance. The dance was devised by James B. Cosh and appeared in “Twenty-Two Scottish
Country Dances”. Well actually it appeared in a much earlier “Six Scottish Country Dances”
by him but let’s not get into that!
This key to MiniCrib can be seen by entering ZZ for the dance and is shown below.
Many dance figures are described in MiniCrib and a list can be seen by ZZ when selecting a
dance, for instance “ZZ Rondel” outputs a description of the Rondel.
? indicates optional action
Adv+Ret advance and retire
B’tw’n between
BtoB back to back (couple with backs to each other)
cnr corner
Fig(s) of 8 Figure(s) of Eight
Diamond Poussette Strathspey poussette (sometimes called all round poussette)
Double Fig of 8 Double Figure of Eight
diag Diagonal
J8x40 40 bar Jig danced 8 times
L Lady
LH left hand
LSh left shoulder
M Man
NHJ Nearer hands joined
opp opposite
PdB pas de basque
prtnr partner
pstn position
Reflection Reel Mirror Reel
R5x48 48 bar Reel danced 5 times
R&L Rights & Lefts
RH right hand
RSh right shoulder
S3x32 32 bar Strathspey danced 3 times
RH across Right Hands Across
LH across Left Hands Across
2H Both Hands
Twirl Turn Right (or Left) about - pull back RSh (or LSh) rotating to face opposite direction
Tandem Reel Couple (one behind the other) dance a reel in Tandem with the same person leading
Alternating Tandem Reel Couple (one behind the other) dance a reel in Tandem with the leading person
Corners are numbered anticlockwise thus 3
corner is partner’s 1
corner & 4
corner is Partner’s 2
Cribs by Eric Ferguson
This is from, Many of the cribs on the
Strathspey Server at are by Eric Ferguson and they will
appear in cribs on the web.
They differ most obviously from MiniCrib in using 1C instead of 1s for the first couple and
1W for first woman instead of 1L for the first lady.
Here is Eric Ferguson’s crib for Mairi’s Wedding
Mairi's Wedding 3/4L · R40
1– 1c turn RH | cast (2c up) ; turn LH to face 1cnrs
9– 1c ½Reel4 with 1cnrs (pass P Lsh) ; Repeat with 2cnrs
17– Repeat with 3cnrs (1cnr person) ; Repeat with 4cnrs (2cnr person)
25– 1W+2c & 1M+3c Reels3 across, Lsh to 1cnr
33– 2c+1c+3c circle6 and back
Note: Cosh explicitly tells 1c to pass Lsh in [9-24]; however the Rsh pass is quite common,
and nicknamed »Mairi's Divorce«.
Some abbreviations that are not immediately evident have been highlighted in bold below.
Abbreviations may change between versions. I welcome suggestions for improving the system of
½ Half
1- (etc) Bar numbering. If no second bar number is shown, it is an 8-
bar section
| separates 2-bar sections (but many older cribs still use a “,”)
; separates 4-bar sections.
or {n} duration = that number of bars
1C, 2C, 3C, 4C, 5C, … 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th , 5th .. couples
1M, 2W 1st man, 2nd lady/woman, (As the RSCDS uses Woman, we
use W; L always means Left).
1M(1W) instruction down(up)
shorthand for 1M instruction down while 1W instruction up
(used for »meanwhile« figures)
1pl, 2pl, … 1st, 2nd, … place.
1plx, 2plx, …. 1st, 2nd, … place on opposite side
1cnr, 2cnr 1st, 2nd, corner »person« or »position« is added when needed.
3cnr, 4cnr Partner's 1st, 2nd corner
All All those dancing, not all those in the set
P Partner
R Right
L Left
RSh, LSh right and left shoulders
clw, cclw clockwise, counterclockwise = anticlockwise
LH, RH, NH, BH Left, Right, Nearer and Both Hands
easy hand, EH the evidently most convenient hand
LHJ, RHJ, NHJ, BHJ Left, Right, Nearer and Both Hands Joined
lead vs dance Strictly, »lead« means RHJ, »dance« NHJ. older RSCDS texts
use »lead« for both; the correct formation is sometimes in
doubt. Some cribs still have this ambiguity.
(2C up) 2C step up
(2,3,4,1) or (to 2,3,4,1) (etc) indicates the order of couples in the set at that point.
(2x,3x,4,1) x indicates couples on opposite sides
BtoB Back to Back as a position
dance BtoB Dance Back to Back (the figure)
BiL Balance in Line (i.e. setting in line; dancers facing alternate
Circle_n_ (n=3,4,6,8,etc) n hands round ; always starts to the left unless specified
A&R advance and retire
Turn CPCP turn 1st corner RH, Partner LH, 2nd corner RH, Partner LH
RHA, LHA right hands across, left hands across
R&L Rights and Lefts.
Diagonal R&L (1C change places RH with 1cnr positions, LH on sides, RH
with 4cnr positions, LH on sides)
S&Link Set and Link (for two or three)
H.Schottische Highland Schottische (setting step, poussette)
DTr Double Triangles
DDTr Double Double Triangles (in a 5C set, above and below)
Set »H&G« Set to Corners and Partner
Reel3 (Reel4) Reel of three, (of four) (only one reel)
Reels3 (Reels4) Reels of three, (of four) (two or more reels at the same time)
(not yet put into all the cribs)
Reel3{6} 6-bar reel of 3 (only one reel)
Reels3{6} 6-bar reels of 3 (two or more reels at the same time) (not yet
put into all the cribs)
Fig8 Figure of eight
DblFig8 Double figure of 8
Gr-Chain Grand Chain
La-Chain Ladies’ Chain
M-Chain Men’s Chain
Teapots 4-bar figure: 1M&1W, each with two others, dance Hands
Across (R, L or Mirror)
PdB Pas de Basque
promhold promenade hold
(Comments on the crib or the dance are added when needed as a final line.)
Most cribs are arranged in 8-bar phrases. That makes it much easier to ‘see’ and remember
each 8-bar phrase as a ‘chunk’ of information. The signs ‘ | ; | ’ subdivide the phrase, where
necessary, into 2-bar bits.
The sign is used ‘+’for those dancing a figure together, and ’&’ or ‘and’ when two
individuals/groups/pairs/dance the same figure simultaneously (eg: 1C+2C & 3C+4C RHA).
Not all cribs follow this convention yet.
These cribs by Reuben Freemantle appear in the Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary at . Please see for a short description
of them and other cribs.
Other Lists of Abbreviations from the
Richmond VA Scottish Country Dancers. Codes for Figures adapted from the
Country Dance Index by Keith H Napier. Netherlee Scottish
Country Dance Club crib sheet abbreviations.