Learn to Dance the Foxtrot

In 1913, Harry Fox introduced the now famous foxtrot.  Almost 100 years later, the popular foxtrot is still going strong. Why not?  What is there not to like about an intimate, seductive tempo and some dazzling moves while in the arms of your favorite dancing partner.  Yes, there is a lot to like about the foxtrot and dancers have carried the foxtrot moves through the 20th century and into the 21st and you’ll see plenty of mention to it if you take ballroom lessons.

The original foxtrot was more upbeat than today’s version.  Over time, the dance has undergone a few personality changes, but all the basics that made the dance so appealing are still in place.

The Bronze level foxtrot is closest to Fox’s original dance and consists of fairly simple combinations of walks and chasses that made the dance so socially popular.  The Silver foxtrot added continuity to the walks and chasses and is very similar to the international foxtrot where open and close movements are common.

Meanwhile the English developed a Slow Foxtrot with very precise moves.  The Slow Foxtrot requires long, smooth continuous movements.  That formula did not work well with nightclub dancing and the popularity of the English foxtrot waned.  Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly led the freewheeling American version to new popularity heights.

The American foxtrot features bold open and closed movements.  The footwork is busy with a series of walking steps where the toe leads.  The rise and fall aspects of the foxtrot are displayed in the chasses and involve a three-step move.  Most turns are initiated through contra-body movements.

In the foxtrot, the sway is the inclination of the body to the left or the right with accompanying movements to the side.  Continuity is continuous passing of the feet from step to step without closing chasses.  Three successive passing steps result in continuity.

The foxtrot always begins in a closed dance hold.  This position establishes the dancer’s line and frame.  For social dancing, the position is often adjusted to a semi-closed position.  In the closed position, the dancers stand in front of each other slightly offset to the left.  The lady’s right hand is held by the man’s upper clasp left at the woman’s eye level.  The frame should be sustained but is more relaxed than the waltz.

The foxtrot is very versatile and can be performed to a wide variety of musical styles and tempos.  The slow, quick, quick rhythm constitutes one measure.  A good foxtrot is fun and puts forth a lot of positive energy. You may consider taking ballroom dancing classes if you’re more interested.

Comments Off