There are many terms you will come across in dances but here are select few, that are the most frequent. 


Corners are people of the opposite set at a particular position in the set. Suppose the dancing couple is standing between another pair of couples, then the corners are as follows:

[Man's 2nd corner] [Dancing lady] [Man's 1st corner] Up Down [Lady's 1st corner] [Dancing man] [Lady's 2nd corner]

The 'first corner diagonal' is the one with both first corners on it. In many dances, a figure starts by doing something with first corners, then something with second corners, so that the dancing couple is arrange on one of the two diagonals.

In a square set, the corner is the person next to you who is not your partner.

Dancing couple

In many dances, one particular couple is doing most of the work at any one time. They are referred to as the 'dancing couple'. This does not imply the other couples are not dancing. In four or five couple dances, there may be two dancing couples. Typically, the dancing couple will change as the dance progresses so that everyone gets to do the same.

Top couple

The top couple is the one who is uppermost. It may refer to the topmost dancing couple, i.e. if only three couples out of four are dancing then the top couple is the uppermost of those.

Bottom couple

The bottom couple is at the other end of the set from the top couple.

Facing Up

Towards the business end of the room, where some combination of the band, caller, CD player, loudspeakers, stage etc. is located. In some forms of dance from south of the border this is known as 'towards the presence'.

Facing Down

The opposite direction to Facing Up.

Figure of 8 / Reel of three 

As the name suggests this is a loop done with three people in the shape of an 8 

NB: Always start the direction your facing. 

      Used in the Dashing White and Duke of Perth to name a few dances.

Set - also known as a pardi bar 

Refers to a group of couples, as in 'four couple set'. 


A subtle sideways move, starting with the right foot, in which move your weight from one foot to another. 


Depending on the dance it could either your right hand or left hand. 

If it is the right hand your stating with. Everyone places their right hand in the air and holds on to each others in the circle. They then face clockwise (so you see the person in fronts back) moving clockwise whilst still maintaining each others hands. Left hand is anti clockwise. 

NB: This is used in the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh and The Inverness Country dance to name a couple