Lilliburlero/Lilli Burlero (1690)

Original Publications:

  • The Dancing Master, 8th Edn, published by H. Playford, London 1690 (and all subsequent editions) Original notation
  • La Lirboulaire in Receuil de Contredances, Feuillet, Paris 1706

Modern Interpretations:

  • Lilli Burlero in [The] Country Dance Book Part 4, Cecil J. Sharp & George Butterworth, published by Novello and Company Ltd, London, 1916
  • The Art of Dancing: Dances of the Early Georgian Period, Dolmetsch Historical Dance Society, 1985
  • Lilli Burlero in The Playford Ball, Kate Van Winkler Keller & Genevieve Shimer, The Country Dance & Song Society, Boston USA, 1990 (repeating the Cecil Sharp interpretation)
  • La Lirboulaire in Purcell's Dancing Master, Nicolas Broadbridge and Marjorie Fennesy, published by Nicolas Broadbridge, Lanark, Scotland, 1996
  • Lilli Burlero in Purcell's Dancing Master, Nicolas Broadbridge and Marjorie Fennesy, published by Nicolas Broadbridge, Lanark, Scotland, 1996
  • Lilli Burlero in Purcell Playford and the English Country Dance, Christine Helwig and Marshall Barron, USA, 1995
  • Lilli Burlero in More Vavorites of the Boston Centre, Helene Cornelius and Francis Attanasio, published by the Country Dance & Song Society, Haydenville, MA, USA, 2008 (repeating the Cecil Sharp interpretation)


  • The reconstruction in the Country Dance Book:
    • repeats both phrases although there is neither musical nor dance directive to do so (whilst the Feuillet notation shows AABB it is unusual compared to many ballads etc which use AAB
    • substitutes a two bar movement (which is not back to back) for the specifically notated back-to back movement (which is invariably four bars long)
    • starts the rights and lefts movement with your partner whereas the original is specific about this movement starting on the side
  • The three different figures (dances) given in Feuillet are clearly a different dance from that in Playford with the first figure being closest but definitely different.  This is good evidence for the notion that dances took their name from the tune and that there could be different choreographies for the same name/tune.
  • Since it seems most likely that the ballad tune preceded the dance, I have followed the ballad format to create a 32 bar dance that requires the 16-bar AAB refrain twice for once through the dance


  • Longways for as many as will (duple minor proper)



A1 1-4 First couple lead through the second couple and cast back to place
A2 1-4 Second couple lead through the first couple and cast back to place
B1 1-2 First man change places with second woman
B1 3-4 Second man change places with first woman all are now progressed and improper
B1 5-8 All fall back a single and come forward a single and turn single effectively a set and turn single with the setting back and forward rather than sideways.  This is the literal translation.  However, a similar figure in La Lirboulaire shows: fall back a double and then come forward turning singe.
A3 1-4 Change places with partner a "paunch-to-paunch" change over with two doubles as in Hole in the Wall, all are now progressed and proper
A4 1-4 Do si do with neighbor on the side
B2 1-8 Rights and lefts back to this place starting with neighbor right hand to neighbor, left hand to partner, right hand to neighbor, left hand to partner, each change taking one double

[Bold text represents original instructions and light text represents interpretations by Michael Barraclough]

© Michael Barraclough, 21 April 2021

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