Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

4-Couple Square Set

In Scottish Country Dancing, the 4 couple square set is by far the most common of the Circular set formats.

As in all Circular sets for Couples, the 4 couple square set is formed by the Dancers being evenly spaced in a circle with the Ladies Standing on the right of their Partners. Couples are numbered clockwise with the Top couple at the beginning of the dance as 1st couple of the Full set and the Top couple at the beginning of the Repeat as 1st couple of the currently Active set. The diagram shows the Dancers at the beginning of the Repeat following a Progression which has left 4th Couple of the Full set as 1st couple of the new, Active set.

In those few 4 couple square set dances where there is Progression, the dance is normally performed with the Dancers Progressing around the Square set in four Repeats, clockwise as in Rothesay Rant or anticlockwise as in Culla Bay. When there are two Dancing couples, there may be only two Repeats, as in The Haunt of the Gnomes.

Diagram, Square Set

Square Set

A 4 couple square set at the Start of the fourth Repeat following the Progression, 2341, or of the second Repeat following the less usual Progression, 4123.
Note that the numbered Places of the Dancers in the Full set (the Places in which they Started the dance) are shown as 1 2 3 4, i.e., in Times New Roman font in the upper left part of the Dancer's symbol; their numbered Places in the Active set (the Places in which they Started the Repeat) are shown as 1 2 3 4, i.e., in Helvetica font in the lower right part.

More commonly, there is no Progression, the dance being performed once through with all Couples having an equal part. There may be a Chorus at the beginning and the end and sometimes also at one or more intermediate points; these Choruses may demarcate repeated sequences, led by successive single Dancers as in The Buchan Eightsome Reel or by two Opposite Couples as in Nottingham Lace and in Ian Powrie's Farewell to Auchterarder.

Here are some more examples of Scottish Country Dances which have the format, 4 couple square set -
Dancing Master
Floozie In The Jacuzzi
For Ever And Aye
Margaret's Dance
Scarborough Holiday

Links To Pages Related To 'Circular Sets'

Types Of Sets

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