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 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 for single Partner groups, which are often Progressive by Partner, are covered in Round the room sets for single partner groups;
those with pairs of Partner groups, half Progressing clockwise and the other half anticlockwise, are covered on this page.
Each pair of Partner groups is 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. During each Repeat, usually at the end, both Partner groups move forward in the direction they were first Facing so that they meet another Partner group for the next Repeat; normally, this form of Progression moves each Partner group only one Place but, exceptionally, they can move more.

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 either one Standing Partner group for every Repeat or two for every alternate Repeat.

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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