I think it is about time that I tangled this thread a 'little' -
I was taught and teach another variantion of the three-couple grand chain -
"change places right (2 bars), change left (1 bar), change right (1 bar), change
left (1 bar), change right (1 bar) and change left (2 bars)".
As the three-couple grand chain is basically oval in shape and since the
starting and finishing positions are usually on the side-lines this variation
means that dancers have two bars to 'get into' the formation and two bars to
'get out of' the formation.
(I had hoped to provide a written/published reference but forgot to check out my
books over the weekend.)
In my experience, the three-couple grand chain is more usually taught -
"aim to get half way at the end of 4 bars (and three hands) and home at the end
of 8 bars (and six hands)".
I suspect that what actually happens in reel-time is that dancers will naturally
take longer at the beginning of the figure 'to get going' so that it resembles
the grand chain I teach formally. However, in strathspey time I have noted that
dancers start quickly and find themselves almost half way through at the end of
three bars so that they have to 'diddle' on the spot before continuing.
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