Maxwell's Rant is a Scottish Reel. I do not know the origins of the piece but it is now a popular dance with most Scottish Country Dancing Societies. In spite of its name, Maxwell's Rant is quiet a graceful reel unlike many others of the genera. The word 'rant' meaning literaly 'dance'. The music is usually played on accordion and fiddles. The reel is danced by four couples, who start in two rows facing each other ladies on one side, gentleman on the other. These are the crib notes for the reelers produced by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.
Maxwell's Rant 8 x 32 Reel
1-8 Couple1 dance reel of 3 on
opposite sides, Lady1 giving left shoulder to Gentleman 3, Gentleman1 right
shoulder to Lady 3 to start
9-16 Repeat reel of 3 on own side
17-20 Couple 1 cross by the right, cast, Couple 2 move up
21-24 Couple 1 half fig 8 round Couple 2 to end on own side in 2nd place
25-28 Couple 1 lead down between Couple 3 and cast up into 2nd place
29-32 Couples 1, 2, 3 turn partners by the right
Confused, just wait until you get out there on the dance floor!
This is a quote from someone very
keen on Scottish country dance:
"A moment in which phrasing and covering come together occurs near the end of Maxwell's Rant when the first couple have danced down between the third couple and cast to their own sides. Just as they pass through the middle, their movement is magically transmitted to those on the sidelines, and all turn as one to round off the dance. Both phrasing and covering are not an obligation, but a source of joy!"
And here is the music, for some reason there are two variations on the tune, I expect the musicians amongst you will understand why.