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Learn to ceilidh dance | Riverside

Riverside is an amazing dance! The highlight of which, we often call the 'Clothesline Run'; Where two couples run down either side of the sets - but still holding hands - meaning everyone else has to duck or risk decapitation!

The Setup

For this dance, you need to come on to the dance floor in couples. Come on to the floor holding hands with your partner and join up in a long line facing another long line of couples doing the same. Each set should have the same number of couples in it, so as you and your partner look opposite, you should see another couple facing you.

The Dance

The dance starts with you joining hands with your partner and everyone else in your big long line. You walk towards the other long line for four beats, cheering on the fourth, then walk backwards for another four beats, back to where you started. You then repear this whole things again, so walk towards the other line (who is hopefully also walking towards you!) cheer on the fourth beat, then walk backwards to where you started.

Now, lift your right hand up in the air, and together with your partner, join up right hands with the couple opposite you. This is called a right hand star and you circle left (clockwise) for four beats. Then, swap hands, so join up left hands with the same couple (forming a left hand star) and walk the opposite way (anti-clockwise) for four beats.

Next, you do-se-do with the person opposite you. (A do-si-do is where you walk past a person to their left, side step behind them - so brushing shoulders back to back - and then step backwards, back to where you started).

Then do the same do-si-do move with your partner.

The dance finishes with the top couple of each line joining up and creating a mini line of four at the very top of the set. This mini-line is perpendicular to the everyone else still in their big lines (See the picture above). So, while everyone else in the whole dance just stands exactly where they are (ok, maybe ducking if required!) they run down from the top of the set to the bottom of the set as quickly as they can.

The fun part is that they do this while all still doing hands and with the middle two people running down the middle of the big lines and the outside two people running down the outside of the big lines! This run should take about 8 beats and when done everyone gets ready to start the dance again!

Visualise it!

Here's a video of some guests enjoying this dance at a wedding we played at the lovely Walled Garden, Cowdray earlier this year:

Also if you'd like to see hear and see this being walked through slowly, I've found a great video of good friend Johnny Bell, from the amazing Sporran Again, going through the dance with people at a ceilidh up in Dundee. Great work from him:

The Sassenachs Ceilidh Band are based in London but if you'd like to book a ceilidh in Scotland, we can highly recommend the legendary Sporran Again!

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