>Actually, I prefer two hands joined as in a turn by a couple, with the >third hand on top. The "teapot" solution, while logical and democratic, >is probably culturally inappropriate in historic country dancing.
To throw a 'spanner in the works', I do not like this method of giving hands!
After two dancers have joined hands as for a turn, I like the third dancer to bring their hand up underneath so that the three hands are joined like a 'triskele'.
Who joins hands first and who is the third dancer will depend on the context of the dance. In 'teapots', it usually will be the leading dancer (usually first man or first woman) and the dancer 'diagonally' opposite who join hands first. For example, with first man coming from the men's side and dancing three-hands across with third couple (on their own sides), it will be first man and third woman who will join hands first and third man who brings his hand up underneath.
This is 'similar' to the way we dance four-hands across - two dancers join hands while the other two bring their hands up and join up below the first two dancers.
At no stage should a hand be placed on top during hands across!