Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Bourrel (for 2 Couples)

In Scottish Country Dancing, The bourrel (for 2 couples) is an 8-bar Figure used as a Progression to interchange adjacent Couples in a Longwise set in Strathspeys; the Strathspey travelling step is used throughout.

When performed by 1st and 2nd Couples, from their Original places, it consists of:

Bars 1-2
1st man and 2nd lady Set advancing While their Partners Chase anticlockwise approximately 13 around the rectangle formed by 1st and 2nd couple's Places;

Bars 3-4
1st man and 2nd lady Turn approximately 23 with Both hands, release their Hold and Turn halfway clockwise On the spot to Finish back to back on the Centre line, 2nd lady Facing Up, 1st man Facing Down, While 1st lady and 2nd man continue to Chase anticlockwise to Finish on the Centre line Facing their Partners;

Bars 5-6
both Couples Set Facing their Partners;

Bars 7-8
both Couples Turn their Partners ¾ with Both hands, Finishing with 2nd couple in 1st place and 1st couple in 2nd place.

On bar 4, an experienced dancer with an inexperienced "Partner" may prefer to release the hands on the Ladies' Side of The set (1st man's right, 2nd lady's left) and then push the joined hands toward the Ladies' Side before releasing hands to finish neatly back-to-back.

Note that, where The bourrel occurs in bars 17-24 of A Summer Meeting (Townshend), the final Turn with Both hands is replaced by Petronella turn.

For example, here are some Scottish Country Dances in which the term, The bourrel, is used in either the MiniCrib or the MaxiCrib Dance instructions or both -
Campsie Glen
Expert Dancer
Frae A' The Airts
Grey Wanderer
Jean Martin Of Aberdeen
Lake Geneva
My Friend Joe
Northern Lights
Trip To Austin

Note that The bourrel for 3 couples and The bourrel for 4 couples are derivative forms but are not Progressions since Dancers Starting Opposite their Partners do not Finish Opposite them.

Dance Video Clip Which Demonstrates The Bourrel

The Bourrel Video Clip

Links To Pages Related To 'The Bourrel'

Complex Figures

Additional search terms: Bourel, Bourell.

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