CALEDONIAN SET

Newcastle Irish Set Dancers learnt this dance at the Willie Clancy Summer School in July 2001. The version listed here is closest to that in Pat Murphy's "The Flowing Tide". Other published instructions for this dance differ some in quite significant ways. Other sources include Larry Lynch's "Set Dances of Ireland", Terry Moylan's "Irish Dances" and Tom Quinn's "Irish Dancing". Joe O'Hara has 2 versions of the Caledonian Set online. The Brooks Academy, Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann [Cooley-Keegan Branch of San Francisco] and the Irish-American Lobby Education Foundation also have instructions online.

FORMATION

First Sides to the LeftSquare Set of four couples, Gents on the left of their partners. First Top Couple have their backs to the band, with Second Top Couple opposite them. First Side Couple are on the left of First Top Couple (when facing into the set) and Second Side Couple are opposite them (to the right of First Tops).

STEPS

Traditionally the Reel and Hornpipe figures are danced with smooth flowing steps pushing flat along the floor. The Jig figure uses the down jig.


FIGURE 1: REELS (128 BARS) - House Across

All Couples Circle - Advance and retire twice [8 bars] + House at home [8 bars] 16 bars
Top Couples Slide and change: Waltz hold - Advance and retire + House half way [8 bars] + Repeat to home 16 bars
Top Couples House at Home 8 bars
Top Couples Slide and change: Advance and retire + House half way + Repeat to home 16 bars
All Couples Waltz hold - Advance and retire [4 bars] + House at home [4 bars] 8 bars
Side Couples Slide and change + House at home + Slide and change 40 bars
All Couples Advance and retire + House at home + House the set 16 bars

FIGURE 2: REELS (96 BARS) - House Around

All Couples Circle - Advance and retire twice + House at home 16 bars
Top Couples House around inside the set 8 bars
Top Couples House at home 8 bars
Top Couples House around inside the set 8 bars
All Couples Waltz hold - Advance and retire + House at home 8 bars
Side Couples House around inside + House at Home + House around inside 24 bars
All Couples Advance and retire + House at home + House the set 16 bars

FIGURE 3: REELS (192 BARS) - Home and Across

All Couples Circle - Advance and retire twice + House at home 16 bars
Top Couples Waltz hold - Advance and retire + House at home 8 bars
Top Couples Advance and retire + House to opposite place 8 bars
Top Couples Advance, Retire + House in place + Advance, Retire + House to original place 16 bars
Top Couples House at home 8 bars
Top Couples Advance, Retire + House in place + Advance, Retire + House to opposite place 16 bars
Top Couples Advance, Retire + House in place + Advance, Retire + House to original place 16 bars
All Couples Waltz hold - Advance and retire + House at home 8 bars
Side Couples Advance, Retire + House at home + Advance, Retire + House halfway 16 bars
Side Couples Advance, Retire + House at home + Advance, Retire + House to original place 16 bars
Side Couples House at home 8 bars
Side Couples Advance, Retire + House at home + Advance, Retire + House halfway 16 bars
Side Couples Advance, Retire + House at home + Advance, Retire + House to original place 16 bars
All Couples Advance and retire + House at home + House the set 16 bars

FIGURE 4: JIGS (224 BARS) - Gents House Opposite Ladies

In this figure while active Gents are turning across the set their Partners turn once in place. In some regions this figure is danced to reels and has quite different instructions.

All Couples Circle - Advance and retire twice [1-2-3-kick up back-2-123] + House at home 16 bars
Top Couples House around inside the set 8 bars
Top Couples Waltz hold - Advance and retire [1-2-3-kick up back-2-123] 4 bars
Top Couples Gents change: Gents cross passing left shoulder turning twice clockwise (pulling right shoulder back) to meet the opposite Lady in her place...
meanwhile Top Ladies turn clockwise (right shoulder back) once in place while the Gents cross.
4 bars
Top Couples With Opposite person - House around inside the set 8 bars
Top Couples Advance, Retire + Gents change back to Partner (while Ladies turn) + House inside 16 bars
Top Couples House at home + House around inside the set 16 bars
Top Couples Advance, Retire + Gents change to Opposite Lady + House inside 16 bars
Top Couples Advance, Retire + Gents change back to Partner + House inside 16 bars
All Couples Waltz hold - Advance and retire + House at home 8 bars
Side Couples Repeat: House + Advance, retire + Gents change, etc. as for Top Couples 88 bars
All Couples Advance and retire + House at home + House the set 16 bars

FIGURE 5: REELS (192 BARS) - Gents House all the Ladies

In this figure while active Gents are turning around inside the set all four Ladies turn once in place (not inside the set!). After the active Couples have Advanced and retired the first time all four Ladies join in the Advance and retire.

All Couples Circle - Advance and retire twice + House at home 16 bars
Top Couples House around inside the set 8 bars
Top Couples Waltz hold - Advance and retire once 4 bars
Top Gents + All Ladies Gents left: Gents pass each other (left shoulders) turning clockwise twice and continue around inside the set to meet the Lady on the left of his original place...
meanwhile All Ladies turn clockwise once in place. Side Ladies finish slightly inside the set to meet Top gent.
4 bars
Top Gents + Side Ladies House around inside the set 8 bars
Top Gents + All Ladies

Top Gents with Side Ladies - Advance, Retire + Gents change to next Lady on the left / Ladies turn clockwise once in place

8 bars
Top Gents + Opposite Ladies

House inside

8 bars
Top Gents + All Ladies

Advance, Retire + Gents change to next Lady on the left

8 bars
Top Gents + Side Ladies House inside 8 bars
Top Gents + All Ladies Advance, Retire + Gents change back to Partner 8 bars
Top Couples

House inside

8 bars
All Couples Waltz hold - Advance and retire + House at home 8 bars
Side Couples Repeat: House + Advance, retire + Gents change, etc. as for Top Couples 72 bars
All Couples Advance and retire + House at home + House the set 16 bars

FIGURE 6: HORNPIPES (160 BARS)

All Couples dance all parts of this figure.

Body Body: Dance in and back in waltz hold (pause-1-2-3-pause-1-2-3) [2 bars] + Dance on to next position [2 bars] + Repeat 3 times back to place 16 bars
House House the set 8 bars
Advance and retire Waltz hold facing into the set - Advance and retire once (1-2-123 back-2-123) 4 bars
Ladies change Ladies move to the Gent on the right turning clockwise twice outisde the set, ...
meanwhile Gents turn once anticlockwise (inside the set)
4 bars
Body + House Body + House the set 24 bars
Change, Body, House Ladies change + Body + House the set 32 bars
Change, Body, House Ladies change + Body + House the set 32 bars
Change, Body, House Ladies change (to own Partner) + Body + House the set 32 bars

REFERENCES

Lynch, Larry (1991). Set Dances of Ireland: Tradition and Evolution. California: Séadna Books. 17-56.

Moylan, Terry (1985). Irish Dances. Dublin: Na Píobaairí Uilleann. 25-31.

Murphy, Pat (2000). The Flowing Tide. Cork: Mercier Press. 79-81.

Quinn, Tom (1977). Irish Dancing. Glasgow: Harper Collins. 86-90.


Updated: 4 July 2015