Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Round The Room Sets For Single Partner Groups

In Scottish Country Dancing, Round the room sets are normally performed in what is logically one large Full set with Active sets disposed in a circle (more precisely, a rectangle with rounded corners when the floor area is rectangular) around the edge of the ballroom. There are two main types:
those which are Progressive with pairs of Partner groups, half Progressing clockwise and the other half anticlockwise, are covered in Round the room sets;
those for single Partner groups are covered on this page.

Some Round the room sets for single partner groups are Progressive by Partner, others not. For the latter, while it may stretch the logic to regard Ballroom and Sequence dances as being performed in Sets, Ceilidh dances such as The Gay Gordons and The Schottische must not be excluded from the Scottish Country Dancing rĂ©pertoire. In any event, their inclusion in a Scottish Country Dancing Ball programme adds to the musical and the dancing diversity.

In those Round the room sets for single partner groups which are Progressive by Partner, the single Partner group Starts either in a line Facing anticlockwise or side-by-side Facing Inwards or Facing each other in either of these Directions. At some time during the Repeat, the single Partner group breaks up into its constituent Dancers who then form new Partner groups with Dancers from adjacent Partner groups for the next Repeat. For example, in Ardailly Mill, the Active set consists of one Man between two Ladies, Starting Facing anticlockwise; at the end of the Repeat, each Man Progresses anticlockwise to perform the next Repeat with the two Ladies in the next Place who do not Progress.

Note that it is not convenient to try to adapt dances of this type to a Longwise, Full set format (as is possible in Round the room sets for pairs of Partner groups) because, as one part of the Partner group reaches the Top, the complementary part needed for the new Partner group will be at the Bottom. Sometimes, too, the single Partner group makes use of adjacent Partner groups for certain parts of the Repeat.


Large circular sets, which are also for variable numbers of Couples, are often classified separately though they are not logically different from Round the room sets for single Couples. However, they are usually quite different in style, being mostly Ceilidh dances; 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 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.
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


Back to the top of this Scottish Country Dancing 'Round The Room Sets' page