Time signature: 4/4
Measures per minute (MPM): 28-30 (may vary)
Beats per minute (BPM): 112-120 (may vary)
Origin: United States
W. C. Handy ("Father of the Blues") notes in his autobiography that his "The Memphis Blues" was the inspiration for the Foxtrot. During breaks from the fast-paced Castle Walk and One-Step, Vernon and Irene Castle's music director, James Reese Europe, would slowly play "The Memphis Blues". The Castles were intrigued by the rhythm created a slow dance to go with it. The Castles introduced what they then called the "Bunny Hug" in a magazine article. Shortly after, they went abroad and, in mid-ocean, sent a wireless to the magazine to change the name of the dance from "Bunny Hug" to the Foxtrot. It was subsequently standardized by Arthur Murray, in whose version it began to imitate the positions of Tango.
At its inception, the Foxtrot was originally danced to Ragtime. From the late teens through the 1940s, the Foxtrot was certainly the most popular fast dance and the vast majority of records issued during these years were Foxtrots. The Waltz and Tango, while popular, never overtook the Foxtrot. Even the popularity of the Lindy Hop in the 1940s did not affect the Foxtrot's popularity, since it could be danced to the same records used to accompany the Lindy Hop.
When Rock and Roll first emerged in the early 1950s, record companies were uncertain as to what style of dance would be most applicable to the music. Notably, Decca Records initially labeled its Rock and Roll releases as "foxtrots", most notably "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and His Comets. Since that recording, by some estimates, went on to sell more than 25 million copies, "Rock Around the Clock" could be considered the biggest-selling Foxtrot of all time. Today, the dance is customarily accompanied by the same big band music to which Swing is also danced.
Over time, the Foxtrot split into slow and quick versions, referred to as Foxtrot and Quickstep respectively. In the slow category, further distinctions exist between the International or English style of the Foxtrot, both built around a slow-quick-quick rhythm at the slowest tempo, and the American Style, using a slow-slow-quick-quick rhythm at a somewhat faster pace. In the context of the International Standard category of [Ballroom Dance|Ballroom Dances]], for some time the Foxtrot was called "Slow Foxtrot", or "Slowfox". These names are still in use, to distinguish them from other types of Foxtrots.Waltz. Both are extremely smooth dances that travel along a line of dance counterclockwise around the floor. The rise and fall action of the Foxtrot comes from the long walking movements made by the dancers. The dance combines quick steps with slow steps, giving dancers more flexibility in movement and greater dancing pleasure.
- Weave: Consists of 6 quick steps in a row, all on the toes. (Quicksteps are usually performed on the toes, with slow steps taken on the heels.)
- Feather Step: The man steps outside of the woman. This step earned its name because of the action of the step: it resembles the "feathering the oar" action in rowing.
- Three Step
- Feather Step
- Natural Turn
- Reverse Turn
- Closed Impetus
- Feather Finish
- Natural Weave
- Basic Weave
- Closed Telemark
- Open Telemark
- Hover Feather
- Hover Telemark
- Hover Cross
- Open Impetus
- Reverse Wave
In the Foxtrot, the first and third beats are accented more strongly than the second and fourth beats. The foxtrot is typically danced to big band Swing-style music written in 4/4 time, with a tempo around 112 to 120 beats per minute (varies).