The History, Fun,
Movement, and Formula for Success, of Foxtrot Dancing
of the Foxtrot came on a whim, as vaudeville actor,
Harry Fox needed a substitute for his female dancers
that would replace the more difficult two-step. The
ballroom dance craze was created when Fox added
staggered steps (two trots), which gave way to the
slow-slow-quick-quick rhythm that the Foxtrot is now
based on. The exact location where the birth of Foxtrot
took place was on the roof of the New York Theatre,
where Fox tweaked the trotting steps he would
incorporate into his new act.
The first time the public ever laid eyes on the upbeat
dance was in 1914, which gained extraordinary reviews as
one of the most original and fascinating dances of the
time. Soon, the gifted dance duo of Vernon and Irene
Castle incorporated their grace and style with the new
steps. Word of the Foxtrot spread like wildfire and the
cream of the crop in the dancing world began seeking the
excitement associated with this latest trend in
In later years, the Foxtrot would receive the attention
of some of the greatest names in dance. The talented G.K.
Anderson traveled to London, and along with Josephine
Bradley, won numerous Foxtrot competitions. A style of
Foxtrot dancing developed from their efforts. Arthur
Murray, who would revamp the steps to mimic some of the
positions associated with the American Tango, also took
interest in the dance. Over the years, the dance would
continue to undergo a variety of transformations,
including the split into two versions of speed: slow
(Foxtrot) and quick (Quickstep).
When the Foxtrot initially captured an audience, the
steps were danced to ragtime, but today, usually big
band music (the same type of music swing is executed
to), accompanies the steps.
The Influence of Foxtrot on Ballroom Dancing
When Foxtrot was first introduced, this style of
movement was hailed as one of the most prominent
developments to take hold of the ballroom dancing scene.
Dancers now enjoyed a certain level of flexibility that
came with the combination of slow and quick steps of the
Foxtrot. When compared to the one-step or the two-step,
it also brought about a larger sense of pleasure.
Quickly, these dances were replaced by the Foxtrot, as
the challenge of mastering the Foxtrot became one of the
greatest journeys to partake in. Since a wealth of
variation is connected to the Foxtrot, some feel it is
one of the hardest dances to get the hang of.
As time passed, dancers saw the emergence of the
Peabody, and the Roseland Foxtrot. To some extent, the
Foxtrot also opened doors for the Lindy and the Hustle
Understanding the Steps
As you allow the Foxtrot music to sweeten your ears, you
will notice it is often the same type of tunes that
swing dancers enjoy. The Foxtrot displays the
combination of slow steps, which utilizes two beats of
music, and quick steps that use only one. To better
understand the footwork timing, it is often called out
as: slow-quick-quick or slow-slow-quick-quick.
When comparing the Foxtrot to other dances, it is the
Waltz that shares many similarities. Both are considered
“smooth” dances that allow participants to follow a line
of dance in a counterclockwise manner about the space of
a ballroom floor. The Foxtrot also showcases long
walking movements that create the delicate presentation
of rising and falling.
The progressive movement of the Foxtrot is known to
cover quite a bit of ground. All you really need to
possess to enter this intriguing style of dance is the
ability to walk. A certain level of smoothness will also
help you go a long way with the Foxtrot.
To begin, you should know that your posture is expected
to stay in the upright position. The hold is much
similar to that of the Waltz. When dancing, your focus
should involve taking long steps during the slow counts,
and short, full-of-life steps when the long counts roll
around. It is important to remember that when the tempo
of the music increases, your steps will need to become
shorter in order to give the appearance of an energetic
trot. This will also help you to maintain the necessary
balance associated with the dance.
If you are considering lessons or wish to impress your
loved ones with a couple of new moves, you may practice
by completing a few exercises in the comfort of your own
home. For starters, you can stand upright and place your
feet together. Walking forward, you should count aloud
and step to the rhythm that accompanies the following:
To get an idea of dancing in pairs, on slow counts 1 and
2, the man’s left foot will be forward while the woman’s
right foot is set back. On slow counts 3 and 4, the
man’s right foot is forward while the woman’s left foot
remains back. The 5th quick count has the man’s left
foot to the side while the woman’s right foot is placed
to the side. The man will bring his right foot close on
the 6th quick count while the woman brings her left foot
Foxtrot Dancing of Today
With its elegant social nature, the clubs of New York
City saw spectacular showings of the foxtrot during the
1920s. Since the steps followed a 4/4 pattern, it
complemented most kinds of music, regardless if it is
slow or fast-paced. Today, when you want to witness a
few foxtrot moves, an array of jazz clubs throughout
major cities may show glimpses of the dance. It also
appears in the majority of ballroom dance competitions,
including televised endeavors, such as "Dancing with
Stars," and "So You Think You Can Dance."
Dancing Tips for Foxtrot Enthusiasts
When learning a new dance, every bit of help can make
the process much easier. When it comes to the foxtrot,
you may focus on the following tips, which make dancing
with a partner less difficult.
1) The first thing to do is get a few CDs that allow you
to familiarize yourself with the type of music that
accommodates the foxtrot. Whenever you are out, play the
music in your car, and during moments of free time, let
the rhythm take over when you're relaxing at home. After
awhile, you will be able to call out the step timing for
both slow and quick movements without any trouble.
2) Constantly practice the basic steps, especially your
step timing so that over time, the movements will become
3) Focus on a style of foxtrot that interests you and
practice the movements. For instance, East Coast swing
involves the triple step and the rock step. You should
also know that practice doesn’t always have to include a
partner to get acquainted with the basic steps.
4) Gather helpful instructional videos, like the ones
offered at www.FoxtrotCrazy.com to help you learn and
perfect your foxtrot skills.
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