Pas de bourrée is a ballet standard. We teach it to our beginners, and it's an essential connector step used at every level of ballet. What does it mean? Well that gets a little tricky! It's one of the irregular terms in ballet where the meaning is not closely linked to the movement.
Pas de bourrée - pronounced [pa də buʀe] - pas like "pa" with a silent s and a soft a, de as if practicing the sound the letter D makes, bourrée sound close to the animal "boar" (a wild pig) plus a long A sound (be careful to avoid the American diphthong sounds here - in other words, don't add a W sound to the "boo" or the Y sound to the long A).
Bourrée does exist in French, meaning stuffed or packed with something. In slang or informally, bourrée can also mean to be drunk.
Usually said to come from Auvergne, pas de bourrée is related to a regional popular dance. It dates at least back to 1565 (the informal meaning relating to drunkenness only dates back to the 20th century) and became a very popular court dance. As with many court dances, steps were often taken in whole or part and adapted for ballet, primarily during the reign of Louis XIV who established the first Académie Royale de la danse in 1661.
This definition is difficult to read because of the early French, but translates roughly to:
Dance of the same name, that is believed to come from Auvergne. It is composed of a balance and a coupé (think one foot sliding in and the other picking up). The rest of the description entails the specifics of tempo and musicality.
Below you'll find a video of the traditional regional dance. It's hard to discern exactly how this turned into pas de bourrée but if you listen to the music, you can hear a very fast pas de bourrée tempo, and the movement reveals an up, up, down pattern and perhaps a prelude to the ballet pas de bourrée when the dancers move laterally switching partners.