Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Large Circular Sets

Despite the name, this format of The set in Scottish Country Dancing is not classified as a Circular set, primarily because it is for a variable number of Couples; logically, it is a not well differentiated subset of the Round the room set format for single Couples. However, Large circular sets are usually quite different in style, being mostly Ceilidh dances, i.e., fairly easy and usually encountered at weddings or Hogmanay events and so with many local variants; for example, The Fairy Ring, is quite different from other Round the room set dances for single Couples such as, Round About Hullachan, which is closer in style to the Highland Dancing tradition. The distinction is retained on this site, with those dances in which the Couples Start in one circle, Man on left of Partner, both Facing In, classified as Large circular sets. However, this classification is somewhat subjective and so the seeker of either type would do well to check both types.

The Couples are not numbered in Large circular sets; all perform the same Figures; and the number of Repeats is not fixed. Almost always there is Progression around The set, usually with the Ladies going clockwise, the Men anticlockwise, to meet new Partners for the next Repeat as, for example, in Circle of Cheer. Circassian Big Circle is, in one version, a rare example of the non-Progressive form though it is much more commonly performed Progressively.

When space is at a premium, a dance in this form can readily be performed with concentric circles so long as it does not involve any Figure which makes substantial use of the Inside of The set; although Advance and retire does use the Inside of The set, an inner circle can be accommodated provided the Dancers take small steps.


See Alternative Dance Selections for lists of those dances in rarer formats of The set, such as this, for which a crib or a crib diagram is available on this site.

Links To Pages Related To 'Round The Room Sets'

Types Of Sets

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