The bourrée is a French dance originating from a folk dance performed in the region of Auvergne. In the Baroque period, bourrée became a theatrical dance presented both on stage and at court balls. Danced in a rather quick tempo with mincing steps, at times lively and lighthearted.
The dance was first mentioned in the 16th
century as a folk dance presented during royal celebrations. The bourrée entered the repertoire of court dances in the 17th
century, together with the minuet. Initially performed as a social dance at court balls, the bourrée was later presented on stag (till the end of the 18th
century), invariably retaining its lively, rustic character and 4-measure metre. Its first choreographies transcribed in the Feuillet notation date back to the early 18th
century: they are dances composed by the famous dancer and choreographer Louis Pecour. Both Bourréed’Achille
of the La Bourgogne
suite and Bourrée La Savoy
feature single pair choreographies danced predominantly in the papas de bourr
Characteristic of the bourrée is the pas de bourrée or fleuret figure, i.e. three tip-toed steps in all directions and various combinations.
Conté Pierre, Danses anciennes de cour et de théâtre en France, Paris, 1974.
Drabecka Maria, Choreografia baletów warszawskich za Sasów [Choreography of Warsaw Ballets During the Saxon Reign of Poland], Cracow, 1988.
Larousse-Bordas, Dictionnaire de la danse, Paris, 1999.