Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Butter Churn (McKinnell)

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

The Butter Churn 8x32 Reel for 3C by Sue McKinnell

1-8 1C cross, cast behind 2C, and dance a ½ figure of 8; 1W down through 3C, 1M up through 2C to meet in the center of the dance and turn LH ½ way; 2C step up on 3-4.
9-12 1W and 3C, 1M and 2C dance 2 bars of RH across to put 3W and 2M in the center; 3W and 2M change places LH.
13-16 3W, 2W and 1M (at top), 2M, 3M and 1W (at bottom) dance 2 bars of RH across to put 2W and 3M in center; 2W and 3M change places LH.
17-20 2M, 2W and 1W (at bottom), 3M, 3W and 1M (at top) dance 2 bars of RH across to put 1C in the center; 1C turn LH to end 1W facing down and 1M facing up.
21-24 1C dance out the ends of the dance and cast left to end in 2nd places on own sides.
25-32 Diagonal right and lefts, beginning 1W up and 1M down.


(Dance crib compiled by the deviser, Sue McKinnell, Apr 2001)

Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams

Dance Instruction Videos

The Butter Churn (McKinnell) - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

Also see the dance The Butterchurn (Dempsey) by Shelagh Dempsey.

This reel, The Butter Churn, was inspired by dancing Barry Skelton's dance The Celtic Reel.

Suggested music is The Fireside Reel from Memories of a Scottish Weekend.

(Dance information by the deviser, Sue McKinnell)

The butter churn is a mechanical device historically utilized for the conversion of cream into butter.

Commonly employed in domestic and agricultural settings, especially during eras when manual churning was prevalent, the device typically comprises a cylindrical container with a handle. The handle facilitates the agitation of the cream, separating the butterfat from the liquid components.

The churning process involves repetitive vertical or horizontal movements, inducing physical changes in the cream that lead to butter formation. Although contemporary technologies have largely replaced manual butter churning, these tools continue to exist in history and culture, helping us understand how people used to process food in different ways.

Butter Churn
A Butter Churn

Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original Butter Churn article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright Musphot On Wikimedia Commons.
Additional search terms: Butterchurn.

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