The Foxtrot is one of the most popular and versatile of the ballroom dances that can be danced to a variety of music styles and tempos. Foxtrot dancing evolved in the early 20th century when ragtime music, with its syncopated beat, became popular and the Waltz just did not work with ragtime rhythm. The Foxtrot dance was first presented by Harry Fox in the 1900's in a Vauedville performance in the New York Theatre and was initially called "Fox's Trot". The Foxtrot dance steps were trotting-like steps, meant to be danced to ragtime music. When this dance was presented in England, it was refined and the result was the elegant ballroom Foxtrot. The Foxtrot video on this page shows examples of what the Foxtrot dance looks like.
The Foxtrot dance is a beautiful, smooth, progressive ballroom dance consisting of continuous, long, full, sweeping, movements that travel counterclockwise around the dance floor. Foxtrot dance music is written in 4/4 time and uses slow and quick steps. The basic step is counted Slow-Slow-Quick-Quick(SSQQ). The slow steps are danced to two beats of music and the quick steps are each danced to one beat of music. The more advanced Foxtrot dance pattern is counted Slow-Quick-Quick(SQQ). Longer gliding steps are taken on the slow count and shorter steps are taken on the quick count, creating a "rise and fall" which is more subtle than in the Waltz. When dancing Foxtrot, progression around the dance floor is emphasized. There is also use of "sway" movement, as in the Waltz. At the more basic level, this dance is ideal for social dancing and at its advanced level resembles the style of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers with side by side and open partnering movements. Again, you can see this demonstrated in the Foxtrot video on this page.
There are two styles of Foxtrot. The first Foxtrot dance style is the International Style Standard also called Slow Foxtrot, which is danced in a closed dance hold throughout the dance and is counted Slow-Quick-Quick. The second Foxtrot dance style is the American Style Smooth Foxtrot, which is danced at a somewhat faster pace and can be counted Slow-Slow-Quick-Quick or Slow-Quick-Quick. This style of the Foxtrot dance allows the dancers to break contact (completely in some figures) with open movements, turns, spins and a greater variety of figures. Both Foxtrot dance styles are demonstrated in the Foxtrot video on this page.