Definition of bourrée in US English:



  • 1A lively French dance like a gavotte.

    • ‘I just cleaned up and reformatted this great, great lute bourrée.’
    • ‘It was also frequently included in the suite as an optional movement and was, like the bourrée and gavotte, usually placed after the sarabande.’
    • ‘Bourrée in E minor is a popular lute piece’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1Ballet A series of very fast little steps, with the feet close together, typically performed on pointe and giving the impression that the dancer is gliding over the floor.
      • ‘Instead it is now often customary to see bourrées that open and close in the effort to cover space.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’


[no object]
  • Perform a bourrée.

    • ‘She bourréd her way onto ‘the Letters to the Editor’ page of the Globe & Mail.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She was spectacular, ... bourréing across the stage as if eiderdown in the wind or traveling weightlessly in arabesques voyagées.’
    • ‘The other evening I bourréd and fouettéd all over the house to Swan Lake.’
    • ‘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.’


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