Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary


To Set in Scottish Country Dancing means to perform the prescribed Setting step or, if none is specified, the basic Setting step appropriate to the tempo, i.e., Pas-de-basque or the Strathspey setting step, once. The dancer will almost always be Facing another dancer who also performs the Setting step; often it is only the context which determines which dancers are involved and who Faces whom. For example, with all dancers in their Original Places in a Longwise set:
1s Set means that the 1st Couple perform the basic Setting step Facing each other Across The set;
1s2s3s Set means that they Set on the Sides, i.e., the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Men and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Ladies Take Nearer hands and perform the basic Setting step Facing their Partners Across The set.

When there is any risk of ambiguity over who is Setting to whom, qualifying directions such as Up and down or on the Sides, should be included. On rare occasions, for example on the first bar of Petronella turn, the dancers Face away from each other though, in this example, they Turn on the spot in the next bar so as to Face each other at the end of the step.

When using Pas-de-basque or the Strathspey setting step, the Figure takes 2 bars; with other steps, the appropriate Timing applies, notably 4 bars for the Highland schottische setting step. The Strathspey setting step involves substantial movement to the right. When another dancer is Standing to the right of the dancer who is Setting (as, for example, in 1st Place on the Ladies' Side of a Longwise set with the dancer Setting in 2nd Place), there is a risk of collision, especially in a crowded ballroom; the line of the Setting step should be modified slightly so that the Setting dancer passes just in front of the Standing dancer on bar 1 and returns to the Starting Position on bar 2. This problem could also arise with the Highland schottische setting step but never with Pas-de-basque, of course, because there should be no sideways movement in the basic form of this Figure.

See also Set structure, for references to The set as the group performing the dance.

For example, here are some Scottish Country Dances in which the term, Set, is used in either the MiniCrib or the MaxiCrib Dance instructions or both -
Glowerin' Coo
Hamilton House

Links To Pages Related To 'Setting'


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