Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Theme (of the Celtic Brooch)

Hugh Foss's, The Celtic Brooch, is not so much a single dance as a recipe for producing thousands of millions of different dances in a highly prescriptive format of Figures within the Celtic brooch set, an unusual form of Circular set for three Scottish Country Dancing Couples. The theme is the 12-bar Figure which is danced by the three Ladies in bars 1-12 and by their Partners in bars 17-28 of every 32-bar sequence; for convenience, the deviser calls these the "outsiders". The immense variety of combinations is provided by the Figures performed by their Partners, whom he calls the "insiders", while the "outsiders" perform The theme.

The following is a description of The theme as it occurs in bars 1-12 of The Celtic Brooch (Elementary), Starting with the Couples arranged in the Celtic brooch set format; skip change is used throughout:

Bars 1-4
Giving right shoulder, Ladies Pass Partners to Start Right hands across a little more than halfway, releasing hands and Dancing Out to Finish 1st lady in 3rd place, 2nd Lady in 1st Place and 3rd Lady in 2nd Place, all Ladies Turning on the spot approximately one quarter, clockwise, to Face ready for the next Figure;

Bars 5-8
Giving right shoulder to the Facing Men, Ladies repeat bars 1-4, Finishing 1st lady in 2nd place, 2nd Lady in 3rd Place and 3rd Lady in 1st Place;

Bars 9-12
Giving right shoulder to the Facing Men, Ladies repeat bars 1-4, all Finishing in Original Places, Facing Partners.

In the most basic 32-bar sequence of The Celtic Brooch dances, the Men do not move while the Ladies perform The theme in bars 1-12 (and, similarly, the Ladies do not move while the Men perform the same Figure in bars 17-28); however, it is good etiquette for the Standing Men to acknowledge the arrival of each Lady in his Partner's Place (and similarly for the Standing Ladies). Bars 1-4 of this simplest sequence are shown in Diagram 114.

Diagram 114: The Theme in Celtic Brooch Dances - bars 1-4.
Ladies paths are shown broken, 1st lady's emboldened; arrow heads mark the positions of the ladies at the end of bar 4, the shaded arrow heads showing their positions at the end of the movement and the unshaded showing the final facing direction, ready to repeat the figure from a new place.

The deviser recommends that the "outsiders" (the Ladies in this diagram) should Take right hands on the second and third bars of each 4-bar phrase except when the requirements of the "insiders" Figures make that impossible.

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates The Celtic Brooch Theme

Celtic Brooch Theme Video Clip

Note that this clip shows The theme danced by the Ladies with the Men Standing in bars 1-12 and also by the Men with the Ladies Standing in bars 17-28; it is, in fact, the first, and simplest, 32-bar sequence of The Celtic Brooch (Elementary).

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