Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary


Most dances are divided up into Repeats, a sequence of Figures performed first by one Active set of Dancers and then, following the Progression, repeated by other Active sets (i.e., by other permutations of the Dancers from the Full set) until every Dancer has performed in every Place at least once. The number of Repeats is normally implicit from the format of The set. It is explicit in the musical description: for example, 8×32 bars means that each Repeat has 32 bars and that there are eight Repeats in the whole dance.

Scottish Country Dance descriptions normally cover one Repeat of the dance only.

The verb form, "Repeat after passing a Couple", is traditionally used at the end of the formal RSCDS description of 3 Couple repeat in 4 couple set and 2 Couple repeat in 4 couple set dances to indicate the standard Progression for these formats of Longwise sets.

Some dances are not made up of multiple Repeats. By far the greatest number of these are those Square set dances in which all Dancers are equal, i.e., there is no distinction between Dancing couple(s) and Supporting couples and so Progression would have no significance; these are simply danced once through. Bonnie Lass O' Bon Accord is a typical example.

A few Square set dances, such as The Eightsome Reel, have a more complex structure of Repeats involving Dancing couple(s) or a Dancing lady or a Dancing man often bracketed by choruses performed by all the Couple(s) performing the same Figures. Similarly, a few Longwise set dances, such as The Earl Of Errol's Reel, have a more complex structure which may include some sequences Repeated with each Couple performing as the Dancing couple interspersed with choruses performed by all, equally. In all these more complicated cases, the Dance instructions must define the whole dance, explicitly.

Bonnie Anne is an example of the rare form of a Longwise set dance which has no Repeat structure and no Progression even though there is a clear distinction between the parts performed by the Dancing couple and the Supporting couples.

Links To Pages Related To 'The Set'

Types Of Sets