The Foxtrot

Aptly named, the Foxtrot is both graceful and a bit sly, and remains the epitome of what social dancing is all about. From an outside perspective, the Foxtrot may look complicated, but it’s actually one of the easiest dances for beginners to learn. In addition, the Foxtrot is the type of dance that can immediately be applied on a dance floor in a variety of social dancing occasions such as receptions or on cruises, and as such it offers instant gratification for students. Contact Arthur Murray Dance Studios today for your introductory lesson and get started on discovering the sheer joy of dancing the Foxtrot.

What Is The Foxtrot?

The Foxtrot, one of the social dances that falls under the ‘American Smooth’ category, is often referred to as the ‘getting to know you’ dance due to the fact that dance partners stand close enough to dance and engage in conversation at the same time. The dance is essentially a series of walks and chassés with partners often separating from a closed dance position; it’s characterized by flowing, smooth movements with dance steps paced at a consistent rhythm of slow, then quick dance steps.

The Foxtrot is a graceful social dance that is both stealthy and swift. In fact, this combination of slow and fast steps is one of the dance’s most appealing factors; the intriguing pace adds variety and zest, which is why many dance students find this particular dance so interesting. As they learn how easy it is to perform this graceful, sprite dance, most students immediately feel a sense of accomplishment and the joy that goes with it. Imparting this gift of discovery to their students is what makes this dance so particularly gratifying for Arthur Murray dance instructors, who carry on the tradition of teaching it with the same love, zeal and excitement that Arthur Murray himself did.

The Foxtrot – Rich in History

Officially codified by Arthur Murray in the 1910s, the Foxtrot is a progressive social dance typically with a tempo of 28 to 30 bars per minute and a 4:4 time signature. Though historically unverified, some sources claim that the dance gets its name from Harry Fox, a vaudeville dancer and actor who was popular at the turn of the 20th century when the dance was introduced.

The Foxtrot has the distinction of being the first social dance that permitted dance partners to dance closer than arm’s length to each other, and it’s this particular novelty that helped propel its rise in popularity. During the era of the Foxtrot’s introduction, ragtime music (named for its syncopated or ‘ragged’ rhythm) was all the rage, and this dance accompanied the music genre’s success. In the 1920s, the jazz genre began to overtake ragtime, followed by the big band swing era of the mid-1930s to mid-1940s.

The Foxtrot easily adapted to the shifting popularity of musical genres throughout the 1910s to the 1940s, and continued to do so when musical tastes once again shifted with the introduction of rock music in the1950s. As rock music subsequently continued to rise in popularity over the course of the next several decades, so did the Foxtrot. In fact, the Foxtrot is the most popular of all social dances, thanks to its inherent versatility in adapting to different musical genres and tempos. It can be performed to songs by Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, and Nat King Cole as easily as music by Harry Connick Jr., Stevie Nicks, or Kings of Leon.

Our instructors take full advantage of the Foxtrot’s adaptive qualities. Arthur Murray – already predicting the Foxtrot’s versatility when it first hit the scene – infused his codified version of the dance with some elements of Tango, thereby creating a particularly lively and vibrant version which is taught today at Arthur Murray Studios.

How We Teach The Foxtrot At Arthur Murray

While teaching the Foxtrot, instructors at Arthur Murray Studios emphasize its graceful yet sometimes playful nature. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing together perfectly exemplifies the Foxtrot. Taking the visual representation one step further, imagining a fox (which uses a combination of slow and quick steps as it gracefully and swiftly bounds from one spot to another) can also provide inspiration to students as they learn the dance.

The Foxtrot’s signature moves have a rhythm consisting of a series of slow-slow-quick or slow-slow-quick-quick steps. Instructors at Arthur Murray Studios teach beginning students the dance’s basic patterns, including the Front Basic, the Back Basic, the Corner Step, the Side Sway and the Promenade Step. When students advance through the Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced levels of programs available, they are taught more advanced Foxtrot patterns, including Quarter Turns, Promenades with Underarm Turns, Twinkles, Grapevines and much more. Ultimately, the frequency and suggested number of dance classes to take on a weekly basis depends largely on each student’s individual goal. Whether you want to learn the Foxtrot for impressing friends and strangers at social receptions, or if you have an eye towards performing in ballroom competitions, Arthur Murray dance instructors are on-hand to develop your very own customized dance program that’s right for you.

Arthur Murray Dance Studios

Arthur Murray Dance Studios offer expert social dance instruction combined with excellent customer service. We have developed a multi-leveled, dynamic dance instruction system which adapts to any students existing and evolving skill level. Our beginner level covers foundation patterns of the Foxtrot (plus the foundation patterns of a variety of other popular social dances); it’s this level that emphasizes basic footwork, rhythm and timing for each dance.

Dance instructors at Arthur Murray Studios guide students with an unequaled level of support throughout their course of evolution, teaching more advanced notions of footwork, technique, styling and showmanship as students progress. This level of customization and added value is how we stand apart, and ensures that our students remain thoroughly satisfied with their instruction, every dance step of the way.

For its ease, versatility, showmanship and pure fun factor, the Foxtrot simply cannot be beat. So join us at your local Arthur Murray studio to experience the joy for yourself.


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