This ballroom dance in four-quarter-beat counts as a cosy "universal dance" among the ballroom dances. It is suited for small and for large dance floors, it offers unlimited formation possibilities and is to be learned easily. Typical for Foxtrot is the zigzag lines leadership, with which the couples move over the dance area with rotations at place. Because of its large adaptability Foxtrot is one of the most popular general dances.
Foxtrot is danced in 4/4-time with a speed of 44 to 48 beats per minute with clear walking steps in the rhythm slow-slow and with fast, small sideways steps in the rhythm quick-quick.
Past and Present
The origin of Foxtrot can be seen in Onestep and Rag. Onestep, imported from North America to Europe in 1910, with its simplified one-step-move at constant rhythm has been a march or walk without chassee. It was danced in a quick 2/4-time forwards, backwards or sideways, without turns on balls. As a Ballroom Dance it replaced Twostep (like Polka without bounces). Onestep, which in the German-speaking area also was called "Schieber", first was introduced in Great Britain and replaced Viennese Waltz. Its popularity was equally good as Tango remaining a French domain.
When about 1912 Ragtime, the first modern form of dance music, gained ground in Great Britain, Onestep evolved into Rag. This dance had a special Rag-nuance with knee bent steps at a synchopated rhythm (accentuation at time 2 and 4). Later on Ragtime and Onestep music were played slower, which made it possible to introduce an alternating step, the so-called chassee. This basic Foxtrot came into being, consisting of random changes between quick and slow steps, forwards and backwards with chassees. In the twenties British dancing instructors layed the foundations for the British style. The basic step, on heels and the new body sway, allowed a better swing. Around 1922, the Foxtrot style was an established and is danced even nowadays. Because of different music speeds, Foxtrot spread up into Slowfox, as the slower played variant, and into the fast Quickstep.
Slowfox bases on artificial, long and sliding walk movements in linear step patterns. Quickstep, in the beginning, was named "Quicktime Foxtrot and Charleston" and adopted the chassee. Quickstep is the most cheerful and vivid of all ballroom dances. After World War II it changed its character, obviously being extended by little rhythmic bouncing steps.
Because of its simplicity (one dancing step per beat) popular marching Foxtrot, danced at quick Foxtrot tunes, is still actual today.