Scoot Dances:

The Four Hand Reel - Plethen a Beswar

Recalled by Mr Arthur Biddick, Boscastle (1982). Four Hand Reel was another dance collected from Arthur Biddick. Arthur strongly associated the tune with the Boscastle Breakdown insisting that the tune for Boscastle Breakdown could also be used for the Four Hand Reel, if played at the right speed. Although one is a fast reel, and the other a hornpipe, it can be seen that the two are related. The first tune given for the four hand reel is traditional, the third and fourth parts were written by Merv Davey in order to complete the pattern of the dance. Although only using one step, and with a simple shape, Four Hand Reel is actually one of the harder Cornish dances. There is a reasonably leisurely ‘dosi do’ at the beginning of the dance, but the reel actually requires very tight corners and step work in order to succeed

Formation:Couples stand in line, two people standing back to back in the middle with their partners facing them.

Steps (TRAVELLING STEP): The basic travelling step for this dance is as follows: Hop on left foot whilst crossing right foot over left and kicking forward, to bring back right beside left to land together. As the right foot kicks forward it should scoot, i.e. make brushing and noisy contact with the floor. This should be done simultaneously with the left foot hitting the floor after the hop. This happens on the first beat of the bar so that crossing the foot over and the first part of the hop is effectively like a leading note to the tune. Repeat for the next step but hop on right foot and cross left foot over and so on.


1 — 8 Couples 'dosi do' (back to back) using eight of the above steps.

9 — 16 Again, using eight of the above steps, dance a complete reel, but carrying on one place to your partners place, turning to face your partner on the eighth step. This reel is very fast and must therefore be as narrow as possible.

17 — 24 All take four steps (as above) to right and set as follows:

Step on to the left foot, shuffle the right foot

Step on the right foot, shuffle the left foot

Step on the left foot and shuffle the right foot

Step on the right foot and shuffle the left foot

Step on the left foot and shuffle the right foot

Step on the right foot and shuffle the left foot

Stamp the left, then the right, then the left foot again.

25 — 32 Moving to the left this time, repeat bars 17 — 24.

33 — 40 Repeat bars 1 — 8

41 — 48 Repeat bars 9 — 16 (You will return to your original starting place at the end of the reel)

49 — 56 Repeat bars 17 — 24

57 — 64 Repeat bars 25 — 32

Plethen a Beswar / The Four Hand Reel

Traditional Cornish with additional bars (17—32) by Merv Davey to allow for completion of figure.

music score

Some More versions of Plethen a Beswar – Four Hand Reel