The Mary Isdale MacNab Collection

Mary Isdale MacNab Dances collected by her niece Elizabeth Sutorius
for the benefit of all teachers and dancers

Mrs MacNab with her Braemar Group in 1963

Below are links to all published and previously unpublished Mary Isdale MacNab Collected/ Arranged/ Choreographed dances.

Nine Sets of dances in their original form as published by RSCDS from 1948 to 1966 and as were taught mainly by Mrs Mary Isdale MacNab and Miss Jean Milligan at St Andrews Summer School between those dates.

By referring to the introductory List (which is an updated version of page 14 of Reel 313) it can be seen which Sets the individual dances were originally published in. This information can also be seen in Angus Henry’s diagrams (RSCDS London Branch are most grateful to Angus for granting permission for these to be reproduced here).

Eleven individual Highland, Country and Set dances some previously privately published by Elizabeth Sutorius at her Aunt’s request or by RSCDS.

Twelve dances not known to have been collected by Mary Isdale MacNab but included by her in Festival exhibitions of Highland and Country Dancing

Sixteen, generally unseen MacNab dances in typed form set down by Dr Hugh Thurston, The Fletts, inter alia.

In addition, there are sixteen mainly handwritten dances in fragmented form awaiting development and only listed in the below list.

Reference to the below List gives a further fifty-four dance names for which information is sought.

Living Archive: Any person – dancer/ deviser/ teacher wishing to create a best guess at resurrecting the originally intended dance by Mrs MacNab by interpreting her handwritten notes should apply to stating which dance(s) in the list they would like to tackle and the handwritten information that is known will be sent to you as a foundation.

Similarly, to the same email address should any errors, discrepancies or improvements be found in these dances or videos please write in with the details and they will be remedied where appropriate.

You are also invited/encouraged to dance these dances and should any new video result you may apply using the same address to have it added to this archive.

RSCDS London Branch is grateful to Meryl Thomson for making this Mary Isdale MacNab resource possible by setting up links to both dance descriptions and available dance videos (some of which feature London Branch members). Thanks, are also given to Peter Knight for making available several of these videos.

You are invited to click on the five links below to read more about Mary Isdale MacNab and her niece.

S01 Because he was a Bonnie Lad and video 

S02 Bonnie Anne and video

S03 The Braes of Balquhidder and video

S04 Brig o’ Doon and video

S05 The Duke of Gordon’s Welcome to Aberdeen and video

S06 The Earl of Errol’s Reel and video

S07 Hebridean Weaving-Lilt and video

S08 Jeannie o‘ the Witchin’ E’e and video

S09 Kelvingrove and video

S10 Laird o’ Dochart’s Reel and video

S11 Lamont of Inveryne and video

S12 The Lerwick Reel and video

S13 Lochanside and video

S14 MacDonald of Sleat and video

S15 MacNeil of Barra and video

S16 McLaine of Lochbuie and video

S17 Macleod of Dunvegan and video

S18 MacLeod of Harris and video

S19 McNichol of the Black Isle and video

S20 Miss Fiona MacRea of Conchra and video

S21 Moulin Dhu and video

S22 Over the Dee and Over the Don and video

S23 Rothesay at the Fair and video

S24 Rouken Glen and video

S25 The Royal Salute and video

S26 St Andrew’s Cross and video

S27 St Andrew’s Nicht and video

S28 The Shepherd’s Crook and video

S29 Tir nan Og

L01 The Broadswords of Lochiel

L02 The Caller Herrin

L03 The Deeside Lilt

L04 The Huntly Reel

L05 The Jacobite Sword Dance and video

L06 Lady Louisa MacDonald of Sleat and video

L07 MacLeod of Lewis

L08 McKenzie of Seaforth and video

L09 Perth Assembly and video

L10 The Rose of Benbecula and video

L11 A Salute to Mac Nab

F01 Bonnie Breist Knot 

F02 The Eight Men of Moidart (from Mingarry) 

F03 The First Day of August and video

F04 Flora MacDonald’s Fancy and video

F05 The Graces

F06 The Highland Fling and video

F07 Highland Laddie and video

F08 Over the Water to Charlie

F09 The Reel of the Blackcocks and video

F10 Scotch Measure

F11 Scottish Lilt or Jig

F12 The Village Maid and video

T01 Bonnie Prince Charlie

T02 Bronach

T03 The Cameronian Rant

T04 The Dirk Dance and video

T05 Double Sword Dance

T06 Flowers of Edinburgh and video

T07 The Glengarry Waltz

T08 Lewis Bridal Dance

T09 Maid of Islay and video

T10 The Meeting of the Waters

T11 The Portree Lassies

T12 The Sailors’ Knot  

T13 The Sword Dance of Culloden

T14 Waltz Cotillion

T15 A Weaving Lilt

T16 Whirlygig

A list of dances with incomplete descriptions mainly in Mrs MacNab’s handwriting –
no links except H02 The Brooch of Lorne.

H01 Aberdeen Lassies
Believed 6x8b Jig Ladies’ Hebridean dance for 8 dancers

H02 The Brooch of Lorne (incl.The Dirk Dance)
Reel-time dance spectacular for many dancers depicting The Cairngorm Brooch of Robert the Bruce – for full description see RSCDS Bulletin Issue 82 Dated November 2004 excellent article by Rosemary Coupe (and Mary Murray) on Mary Isdale MacNab.

H03 The Clansmen
Believed Reel for 11 dancers and 10 swords

H04 Duke of Gordon’s Fairhaired Lassies
Believed 64b 4-couple Reel in a square set

H05 Four Marys
Believed 16b Strathspey and 48b Reel for 4 ladies in a square

H06 Honor the Piper
Large display dance Waltz/March/Strathspey/Reel
Piper in the centre of six dancer spokes

H07 Hopping Dance
Believed 48b Irish Jig for 4 couples

H08 Indian Stick Dance
Believed solo ladies’ sword dance (believed 64b Strathspey)

H09 McKenzie of Kintail
Believed 7x8b Strathspey for 4 couples in a square set

H10 Mrs Pringle
Highland dance. Reel-time. Description difficult to understand/follow

H11 Sadie Simpson
Possibly hornpipe. Description difficult to understand/follow

H12 Sailors of Harris
Believed 6x8b Hornpipe Hebridean dance 8 dancers in costume

H13 Shandy Heather Waltzing Medley
208b Waltz for 4 couples in a square set

H14 Star of Robbie Burns
Believed Strathspey and Reel for 5 dancers

H15 The Three Swords
Believed Strathspey and Reel for 3 dancers

H16 Wee Waltz
Believed 8x32b Waltz for 4 couples