The Gay Gordons is a social ceilidh dance, named after British regiment The Gordon Highlanders and usually danced to the dulcet (?) sound of bagpipes, either to the tune of the same name or Scotland the Brave. Couples follow each other round the room for the first part of this dance.
The dance goes as follows:

  • Begin with the couple facing the same direction, with right hands joined behind at the woman’s right shoulder (with the man’s arm behind her back) and left hands joined just above the man’s left hip (woman’s left arm across the front of the man’s body).
  • Walk forward four steps.
  • Pivot so the couple face in the opposite direction and the left hands are now joined at the woman’s shoulder . Her right arm is now across the front of the man.
  • Walk backward four steps (so you are actually travelling in the same direction as before.)
  • Repeat in the opposite direction.
  • Loose and drop left hands, raise right hands above the woman’s head. The woman turns beneath the joined arms, while the man stands still.
  • Take a ballroom position (facing each other, with the woman’s left hand on the man’s right shoulder, arms extended and hands joined) and polka round the room until the tune returns to the beginning.
  • Repeat until the music stops. The length of time will vary depending on the band.

When I was a child, children in primary (elementary) school were invariably taught this dance to the great embarrassment of all, and it was regularly committed at birthday parties. The parents, no doubt, thought it was “sweet”.

My source says that “for Scottish country dancers the first eight bars are in allemande hold”. I have no idea what this means.*

Source for steps:

*liveforever pointed me at a site explaining allemande hold. It means the starting position I described above.