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History and Style of the Foxtrot


The Foxtrot is an early 20th Century American dance that has its origins in the one-step, the two-step, and syncopated ragtime dances (Norton). It was popularized in the USA by dancers Vernon and Irene Castle in 1914, and it is believed to be named after Harry Fox, who was an entertainer (Bedinghaus). The versatility of the dance is greatly responsible for its popularity. It can be danced to most music that’s in a simple duple metre (Norton).



The foxtrot is a smooth dance where the dancers travel across the dance floor (Bedinghaus). The long walking movements contribute to the iconic rise and fall motion. The footwork is a combination of slow and quick steps. The slow steps take up two beats of the music, and the quick steps take up one beat. The pattern is typically Slow-Quick-Quick or Slow-Slow-Quick-Quick. 

Watch the video below to see examples of people dancing the foxtrot.

Bedinghaus, Treva. "Slow Foxtrot." ThoughtCo, Jan. 15, 2017,

Norton, Pauline. "Foxtrot." Grove Music OnlineOxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 19 Nov. 2017,

History and Style of the Foxtrot