Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Round The Room Sets

In Scottish Country Dancing, Round the room sets are normally performed in what is logically one large Full set in a circle (really a rectangle with rounded corners) around the room, usually with half the Partner groups Progressing clockwise and the others anticlockwise; these Partner groups are usually made up of one or more Couples or threesomes as prescribed for the particular dance. A clockwise Partner group and an anticlockwise Partner group perform one Repeat of the dance as one Active set. At the end of the first time through, the Progression moves both Partner groups one Place forward in the direction they were first Facing so that they meet another Partner group for the next Repeat.

The format is like a Longwise set wrapped round so that the Top joins on after the Bottom. This can be put to good use if the room is not wide enough to accommodate the Full set as a "circle"; instead, a Longwise, Full set can be adopted. The Partner groups Face each other in lines Across The set and perform one Repeat. After the Progression, the Partner groups who have reached the Top and the Bottom have no Partner group with whom to dance the next Repeat. They Turn on the spot and wait, ready to perform the next Repeat going in the opposite direction.

If the number of Partner groups wishing to dance is odd, no-one need be disappointed. For the first Repeat, one Partner group waits in the "circle" while all the rest perform. After the Progression, a Partner group will meet them, enabling them to form an Active set and so dance the next Repeat; the Partner group approaching them from behind will have to stand for one Repeat. The same principle applies if the Longwise, Full set has been adopted, though the Standing Partner group should start at the Top or the Bottom; in this variation, there will be one Standing Partner group for every Repeat.

Occasionally, the Active set contains only one Partner group which breaks up at the end of each Repeat. For example, in Ardailly Mill, the Active set consists of one Man and two Ladies; 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. It is not convenient to try to adapt dances of this type to a Longwise, Full set format because, as one part of the Partner group reaches Top, the complementary part will be at the Bottom.

All of the above are classified as Progressive Round the room sets in MaxiCrib dance instructions.

While it may stretch the logic to regard Ballroom and Sequence dances as being performed in Sets, Ceilidh dances such as 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. These are classified as Round the room sets in MaxiCrib dance instructions.

For example, here are some more Scottish Country Dances categorized as Progressive Round the room set dances -
Circassian Circle
Come Under My Plaidie
Dashing White Sergeant
Nice to See You
Niel Gow's Farewell to Whisky
Sons of the Rock
Waltz Country Dance

Links To Pages Related To 'Other Sets'

Types Of Sets

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