Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Celtic Brooch Set

Hugh Foss devised the Celtic brooch set format for 3 Couples long before the Triangular set became popular. The Celtic brooch set could much more accurately be described as triangular; hexagonal is a more appropriate description for what we have come to call the Triangular set, as is clearly indicated in the following diagram.

3-Couple Triangular Set.
At the start of the third repeat following the most usual progression, 231, or of the second repeat following the less usual progression, 312.
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, 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, i.e., in Helvetica font in the lower right part.

In the Celtic brooch set, the Couples are arranged with the Ladies at the vertices of an equilateral triangle Facing Inwards towards their Partners who are at the vertices of a smaller, concentric, equilateral triangle Facing Outwards, as shown in the following diagram; the Couples are numbered clockwise. They could alternatively be regarded as being equally spaced on two concentric circles, with couples on the same radius, and so this format is classified under Circular sets.

Celtic Brooch Set.
At the start of every 32-bar sequence in any of The Celtic Brooch dances.

Hugh Foss originally defined the Celtic brooch set with one vertex pointing Down The set but this requires the Couples to be numbered starting with the Top left vertex which is somewhat counter-intuitive. For simplicity, we have chosen to show one vertex pointing Upwards since this maintains the consistency of 1st couple always being nearest to The music. His Celtic Brooch dances are sufficiently symmetrical that this makes no material difference. He also recommended that the spacing between the Ladies should be about six yards (5.5m) but this is probably only appropriate for a single display Set; for a class or ballroom situation, 4½ yards (about 4m) should be ample. The spacing between each Lady and her Partner should be just over one yard (1m).

Making up this Set format is more visually practicable than in the more familiar Triangular set format though the large spacing between the Ladies may present a problem. For those familiar with the recommendation for Making up the Triangular set, the following procedure may be helpful for the Celtic brooch set:
all Take hands in a neat circle with 1st couple at the Top, 1.2m (4ft) between Dancers (this is full stretch for small Dancers and almost so for average or larger Dancers, much more widely spaced than in the Triangular set), Finishing as in the upper diagram;
move round one twelfth of the circle anticlockwise so that the Top man has his back to The music (the line between him and the 3rd lady will be the Centre line of The set and so 3rd lady should control the rotation so that she looks over his head towards The music on a line parallel to what would be a Sideline in a Longwise set);
each Man, Turning on the spot, should now Turn his Partner By the right, still at (almost) full stretch, one third round so that they Finish Facing each other (1st couple Finish on the Centre line, 2nd lady and 3rd lady Finish in a line Across the set, i.e., at right angles to the Centre line and equidistant from it);
finally, each Man should move 20cm (8in) toward his Partner, so that they are now only 1m (1.1 yards) apart, aligned as in the lower diagram.

There is no Progression in any of the Celtic Brooch dances; at the end of every 32-bar sequence, the Dancers are all back in their Starting Places.

Links To Pages Related To 'Circular Sets'

Types Of Sets

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