By Louis Horst
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No description of the steps of the Courante ever gives any hint as to the necessity for this change of rhythm, so that we infer it was probably a device originated by the composers. Francois Couperin was the most prolific composer of the Courantes in this classification, although Bach, Chambonnieres and Rameau have also contributed some fine examples. Berta Ochsner has used these changes of rhythm very effectiveIy in a dance entitled T h e King Points Out the Fine Points of the Courante, to Chambonnieres' music.
No other court dance sustained its popularity for such a long period, with the possible exception of the Minuet. Indeed, for some time the rivalry between the teachers of these two dances was extremely bitter. Concerning its origin, we find a great difference of opinion. Some authorities attribute it to Italy, while others say it originated in the French province of Poitou. Both claims, however, are probably correct, the Courante really stemming from two separate sources. The first form of the Courante, called the Corrente (from the Latin: curro--to run ) , undoubtedly came from Italy.
The Gigue is a very old dance, and probably belongs to many nationalities. " But the earliest known ones have come GIG U E to us from Italy, where it dcrivcd its name from giga--the name of a small stringed instrument. Giga also meant a leg, or limb. However the three greatest authorities on the Gigue, Werner Danckert, ( Geschichte der Gigue, l924), Jeffrey Pulver, (The Origin of Jig, 1917 ) and Charles Read Baskervill ( T h e Elizabethan Jzg, 1929), all claim an English origin for the dance, insisting.