Strip the willow

Strip the willow

Strip the willow is a country or barn dance. It has variations depending upon whether it is being performed as a movement in a larger dance or a complete dance in itself.

The form described here is that commonly used as part of an English barn dance.

The dancers form a longways set (a row of gentlemen facing their partners, a row of ladies). The 'objective' is to move the top couple to the bottom of the set, and usually the other couples move up one position. With two exceptions (at the start and end), the top couple alternate right-handed clockwise half-turn swings with their partner with left-handed anti-clockwise swings with someone else's partner working steadily down the set. At the start and end, a whole turn with your partner is required to get into position.

Thus if the set is (lower case ladies, upper case gentlemen): a b c d A B C Dthe movements are:
* Clockwise whole turn A with a.
* Anticlockwise half turn A with b and a with B.
* Clockwise half turn A with a.
* Anticlockwise half turn A with c and a with C.
* Clockwise half turn A with a.
* Anticlockwise half turn A with d and a with D.
* Clockwise whole turn A with a.

The sets can be as long as the music allows.

Variations include:
* The gentleman not turning with other ladies, only his partner, whilst the lady "strips the willow" down the set with all the men.
* The lady not turning with other gentlemen, only her partner, whilst the gentleman "strips the willow" down the set with all the women.
* A three-stage process where first the lead gentleman "strips the willow" down the line of ladies, then the lead lady "strips the willow" up the line of men back to the top, then finally the leading couple both "strip the willow" back down to the bottom. The new top couple may start shortly after the previous top couple have set off on their final leg.
* Multiple willow stripping, best done in long sets, with every second or third couple stripping downwards and everyone else constantly moving upwards. Once a couple reach the top, they wait for the appropriate bar and start another movement.

External links


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