Definition of bourrée in English:



  • 1A lively French dance like a gavotte.

    • ‘I just cleaned up and reformatted this great, great lute bourrée.’
    • ‘Bourrée in E minor is a popular lute piece’
    • ‘All of the bourrées the group played (including on the recording) have this rollicking character, which is unlike what I have heard from other groups.’
    • ‘It was also frequently included in the suite as an optional movement and was, like the bourrée and gavotte, usually placed after the sarabande.’
    • ‘She did not think she was superior to the peasants; she played with them, she visited them, she went to the country dances, she danced the bourrée, she listened to the music.’
    1. 1.1Ballet A series of very fast little steps, with the feet close together, usually performed on the tips of the toes and giving the impression that the dancer is gliding over the floor.
      • ‘Changements, beats, and very fast pas de bourrées are possibilities here.’
      • ‘The pas de bourrée ends with a low step forward on the right whole foot, this being the preparation for a jeté en avant onto pointe on a bent left leg.’
      • ‘During a rehearsal of ‘Swan Lake ‘when the corps de ballet is moving in a long sequence of bourrées, up and down, back and forth, the camera only shows the feet of the dancers.’
      • ‘This new feat ushered in a new dance vocabulary of hovering balances and quick, light bourrées, as well as a new image of the ballerina as gravity-defying sylph.’
      • ‘Instead it is now often customary to see bourrées that open and close in the effort to cover space.’


[no object]
  • Perform a bourrée.

    • ‘The girl actually looks at him, realizes she's in danger, holds her arms up to her face, shielding herself, and begins bourréing quickly backward.’
    • ‘The other evening I bourréd and fouettéd all over the house to Swan Lake.’
    • ‘She was spectacular, ... bourréing across the stage as if eiderdown in the wind or traveling weightlessly in arabesques voyagées.’
    • ‘Alone on stage in a black leotard, the dancer becomes a perpetual-motion machine, spinning, bourréing, twisting and arching with such energy that ... she becomes trance-like.’
    • ‘She bourréd her way onto ‘the Letters to the Editor’ page of the Globe & Mail.’


Late 17th century: French, literally ‘faggot of twigs’ (the dance being performed around a fire made with such twigs).