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The Foxtrot originated in the summer of 1914 by Vaudeville actor Harry Fox. The Fox-trot originated in the Jardin de Danse on the roof of the New York Theatre. As part of his act downstairs, Harry Fox was doing trotting steps to ragtime music, and people referred to his dance as "Fox's Trot." The Foxtrot was the most significant development in all of ballroom dancing. The combination of quick and slow steps permits more flexibility and gives much greater dancing pleasure than the one-step and two-step which it has replaced. There is more variety in the fox-trot than in any other dance, and in some ways it is the hardest dance to learn! The international style Slow Foxtrot, or "SlowFox", is a smooth progressive dance characterized by graceful, flowing movements across the dance floor. Continuous foot passing actions, heel turns, weaves and fallaways are staple movements of the Foxtrot. It is a difficult dance to master, for even the most basic patterns are technically demanding.


Technical specifics

Meter: 4/4
Tempo: 112 - 120 beats per minute
Basic Rhythm: Slow-Quick-Quick
Music Style: Medium-slow jazz/swing music.
Listen to sample music
View the dance position


Movement fundamentals

Footwork: Forward driving steps are taken with the heel first in contact with the floor, with the toe lowering as the body moves over it. With body flight or rise, or on "weave" actions, forward steps are taken with the toe. Backwards walks are almost always taken with the toe first, with the heel lowering as the body moves over it. At the same time, the toe of the forward foot should release from the floor as the body moves away. Side steps normally use the toe first.

Rise & Fall: The rise & fall action is present in a majority of patterns using a consistent 3-step cycle, although it is still more subtle than in Waltz, owing to the continuous passing of the feet in a lengthwise manner.

Contra-Body Movement: Typical of the smooth and standard ballroom dances, contra-body movement is used to commence most rotational movements.

Sway: Sway is defined as the inclination of the body to the left or right, usually accompanying movements to the side.


Click HERE for the steps of the Foxtrot.

Link to more advanced Foxtrot steps


| Developed 2006 | Peter Hastie |