Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Cooper's Wife (Mitchell) (3-Couple Version)

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

The Cooper's Wife (Mitchell) (3-Couple Version)
John W Mitchell (adapted RGF) Whetherly Book 16
Jig 3 x 40 bars 3 Couple Repeat 3 Couple Set Longwise Set
10 bar phrases.

  1-2   1s cast to 2nd place WHILE 2s step up;

  3-10 1s dance figures of 8 round 2s finishing facing first corners;

11-12 1s turn corners halfway by the right, finishing 1s facing clockwise;

13-16 corners turn by the left 1½ times in the centre WHILE 1s chase clockwise halfway;

17-18 1s turn corners halfway by the right;

19-20 1s turn by the left to face second corners;

21-30 repeat bars 11-20 with second corners, finishing facing first corners in partner's first corner position;

31-34 1s half diagonal reel of 4 with first corners, finishing facing second corners in partner's second corner position;

35-38 half diagonal reel of 4 with second corners, 1s finishing in 2nd place;

39-40 1s take nearer hands and lead down to finish in 3rd place WHILE 3s step up.

(MAXICRIB. Scottish country dancing instructions compiled by Reuben Freemantle)

Dance Notes

  1-40 The 10-bar phrasing is a little counter-intuitive but it does allow ample time for all movements.

39-40 These are the changed movements to achieve the extra progression.

    -40 Having just stepped up, 3s must be ready, as the new 2s, to step up again on the next two bars.

Dance Information

Also see the original dance The Cooper's Wife (Mitchell) by John W Mitchell, the original for 3 couples in a 4-couple set.
Also see the dance The Cooper's Wife (Will) by George Will.

This jig, The Cooper's Wife, by John W Mitchell was written in 10-bar phrases to accompany the well-known Scottish folk song Wee Cooper O' Fife - Song.

"The Wee Cooper O'Fife" is a Scottish folk song about a cooper who has "a braw new wife" who will not cook, clean, and sew in case she "spoil her comely hue". A town in Fife is called Cupar; this is a pun.

Traditionally, a cooper is someone who makes wooden barrels.

Wee Cooper O' Fife' Song - Information Video

Barrel Making - Information Video

A Cooper At Work but no wife
A Cooper At Work

Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original Wee Cooper O'Fife article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright under this Creative Commons Licence 2.0.

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