Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Size Of The Set

The Size of the set is determined by the amount of space required in order to execute the Figures which are to be performed by the Scottish Country Dancers.

In a Circular set, there are two conflicting considerations over the spacing:
there must just be room for two Dancers to Lead Out between a Couple in their initial Places;
the Dancers must be close enough to each other in their initial Places that they can Take hands with Partners and First corners, even though the arms may have to be rather straighter than is ideal (see Taking hands) and so Dance Hands round without having first to step Inwards. The optimum spacing of adjacent Dancers is about 1yd (0.9m).

In a Longwise set, there are two similar conflicting considerations over the width:
there must be ample room for two Dancers to Lead down between the other Couples who are Standing on the Side lines and, for a few dances, just enough space for three may be needed;
the Side lines must be close enough to each other that, with one dancer Standing on the Centre line between a Couple on the Side lines, all three can, after Facing Up or Down as appropriate, Take hands comfortably and so Set in line Across without requiring any inward movement by the Couple on the Side lines. Again, the optimum spacing of adjacent Dancers in the Side lines is about 1yd (90cm) and so the spacing between Partners is about 2yd (1.8m).

Some dances, mainly those using the Figures, Reel of four Across or Figure(s) of eight across, are better suited if The set is a little wider than normal.

The spacing between Scottish Country Dancing Couples in a Longwise, Active set of 3 Couples should be half the width of The set, thus placing the Corners at the corners of a square; when applied generally to Longwise sets, this means that the spacing between adjacent Places on the Side lines should be half the width of The set.

The spacing between Longwise sets should be sufficient to allow a Lady in the rightmost Set (as seen from the Top) and a Man in the adjacent Set to Cast comfortably on their Own sides at the same time; unless space is at a premium, this should be the same as the width of each Set.

The spacing between Circular sets should be sufficient to allow Dancers in adjacent Sets to Cast comfortably at the same time.

In a crowded ballroom less space may be available than is ideal. If so, Men Casting into the same space between Sets must give a Lady Precedence; adjacent Dancers on a Side line of a Longwise set may need to make a small Step up or Step down movement to allow a Couple to Lead Out of the Side line between them; similarly, a Standing Couple may need to make a small step backwards to allow three Dancers to Lead down or Lead up between them.

The number of Dancers that can be accommodated on floors of various sizes is dependent upon the shape as well as the size; this is covered in Room Capacity.

Links To Pages Related To 'Size Of The Set'

Types Of Sets

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