Alan Paterson (in correspondence with Eric Ferguson) identifies the
difficulty that, in attempting to solve a perceived problem by having the
men start with the left foot, you create another problem later in the
movement when the men have to manage the half-turn on the "wrong" foot. If
you stand behind the men's line as they all turn on bar 6 of the poussette,
you will witness the most amazing contortions of what I call the flailing
Two possible solutions - one is just to start the poussette on the right
foot which as several people have mentioned is irrelevant socially. Or start
on the left foot but change feet at bar 6 (left, right, left, right, left,
left, right, left) which has the additional advantage of leaving you on the
correct foot ready to start the next movement. I have been doing this for
years and only use the "Manual version" when I need to satisfy some external
observer who will be cheking that all the jetes are pointing up the set at
the end of the poussette. Even then, I will sometimes change feet twice just
for the halibut (left, right, left, right, left, left, left, right). But
then I think SCD is social dancing and, regrettably, the Manual is geared to
performance (uniform) dancing.
Happy dancing :)
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>Alan Paterson (in correspondence with Eric Ferguson) identifies the
>difficulty that, in attempting to solve a perceived problem by
>having the men start with the left foot, you create another problem
>later in the movement when the men have to manage the half-turn on
>the "wrong" foot...
I believe it is so with the various solutions to what to do with the
feet, that in using one solution you just move the problem to a
The real problem is that PdB isn't a very good step for travelling
and turning! The PdB is really designed for dancing on the spot. It
is no wonder that it causes so much difficulty when it is used
I also believe that many of the so-call problems are only perceived,
with the important caveat that one has a good PdB step (and if you
are dancing as a couple as in Poussette, the caveat applies to both
dancers). All of the traveling and turning actions that happen with
the PdB should occur when the dancer is airborne (during the jete
However, if the PdB becomes glued to the floor for one or both
dancers (as can happen to all of us when we become tired or advanced
in years), the problems become real ones. It is only skilled,
energetic dancers that don't really have problems with traveling and
turning in PdB. There are many dancers who don't have the energy or
strength to get the PdB airborne, so the feet tend to get in each
Not getting the PdB airborne is an accommodation for a physical
limitation. So if we have already accepted one accommodation, perhaps
we should be willing to accept others in order to make the dancing
Hmmm...I'm not sure what I am advocating here. It is late in the
evening and that is as much clarity as I can produce right now...
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While I agree with Oberdan re the pdb for traveling, it is probably as authentic a tradition as our "skip-change-of-step" both the style and the name were probably coined by Miss M.
This was necessary as what ever two-step that was historical had, by her time, degenerated into a very unstructured polka step.
In the country dance style of Scotland, called "county" and at many celidhs, the standard traveling step is a version of a pdb as is seen in another styling in the country and step dances of Ireland.
Note: Paterson, the original publisher of the [R]SCDS books published numbers 1 & 2 of Irish dances using the exact same format.
Just to add my two penn'orth- and probably throw things into even more
confusion-- It has also seemed to me to be far more logical that whoever
(man or woman) is going FORWARD for the quick poussette, to start on the R
foot, and for the one going backwards to start on the L foot. This follows
the teaching in ballroom dancing. At least the first corner is easy then for
both dancers.I can't really see the reasoning for the man or woman to always
have to start on the same foot as they are not always moving in the same
direction -it depends on whether they are first or second couple.
Mary, UK said
> Just to add my two penn'orth- and probably throw things into even more
> confusion-- It has also seemed to me to be far more logical that whoever
> (man or woman) is going FORWARD for the quick poussette, to start on the R
> foot, and for the one going backwards to start on the L foot. >
As a long time ballroom dancer before I ever did Scottish dancing, I
absolutely agree. As 2nd lady I still find myself wanting to move back on
my Left foot. I don't usually do it. Well, almost never. Malcolm has trained
me too well over the last 20+ years.