"My favourite dance is the Foxtrot. It's a proper dance with proper music. It has class." -Anton de Beke
The world is filled with so many talented individuals who have an absolute knack for the creative arts. Whether they are dancing, singing, acting, or drawing, the passion of some individuals drives them to excel in their specific field.
On the other hand, there are many people who feel they have no special artistic skills and rather watch from a distance at those who excel in the arts.
The attitude of never doing anything creative or artistic for fear of failure and lack of ability is completely erroneous since everyone can learn to dance, draw, or sing!
Therefore, in today's article, we shall examine one of the world's most cherished dances known as the foxtrot and how all types of people, no matter their artistic talents, can learn to dance it!
The Beginnings of the Foxtrot
"The job of feets is walking, but their hobby is dancing." -Amit Kalantri
Like the Samba, the Waltz, Breakdancing, the Rumba, the Salsa, and swing dancing, the foxtrot has unique origins that make it different from other important international dances.
Nevertheless, it is important to mention that unlike other important dances, the origins and name of the foxtrot are not 1005 determined and sure.
For example, there are some theories that state that the name "foxtrot" comes from the vaudeville actor Henry Fox who made the dance popular. However, on the other hand, Vernon Castle and Betty Lee both have said that the credit for the foxtrot is owed to African American dancers who had danced the dance for some 15 years at a specific night club before it gained significant popularity.
It is essential to state that the foxtrot was first premiered to the outside world in 1914 when husband and wife duo, Vernon and Irene Castle, danced the night away and gave the foxtrot its signature grace and style.
Nonetheless, going back to the fact that the foxtrot origins are unclear, although the Castles are credited for the classic dance moves of the foxtrot, Henry Fox developed the moves of the pre-Foxtrot or "slow step" in 1912 during ragtime music's heyday.
Individuals accustomed to ballroom dancing in the early 1900s were thrilled to learn the steps of the foxtrot since they were exhilarated by its quick steps, fine lines, and fancy footwork. While the waltz and tango became popular couples ballroom dances, they never quite received the acclaim and admiration of the foxtrot.
Although still practised and cherished today among many ballroom dance lovers, in the 1930s, the foxtrot had reached its peak popularity and was constantly danced to at important parties and in dance clubs.
Depending on the area of the world in which you are living, there are distinct types of foxtrot steps that are followed.
Read the following subheading to find out!
Distinct Characteristics of the Foxtrot
Since we live in a world of overwhelming variety, every single part of the world is known for its unique culture, traditions, dialects, and dances. Even a favourite and very specific dance that we may think is uniform throughout all continents may differ in rhythm, steps, and overall flow.
What about the foxtrot? Are there distinct versions of the foxtrot?
Although the foxtrot can be easily recognised by its steps, style, and grace, it is usually split up into two versions: fast and slow. The foxtrot is the slower version and, on the other hand, the faster type of dance is known as the "quickstep."
It is important to state that in the slower version of the dance known as the foxtrot, there are major distinctions that may escape the inexperienced eye; nevertheless, they exist. For example, the International or English style follow and build around a slow-quick-quick rhythm at the slowest tempo. While, in contrast, the American style uses a slow-slow-quick-quick rhythm at a faster pace.
Do the previously mentioned differences really stand out that much? Of course! Dancing is very specific and only slight changes in the movements or steps can change the entire rhythm or vice versa.
The following list will provide readers with a more thorough understanding of how the foxtrot differs in certain ways depending on the style:
- American Social Foxtrot: known by many dance professionals as the original version of the foxtrot, the American Social Foxtrot is primarily taught to beginners at dance institutes all over the world. It features many similarities to the waltz and tango which make it easier to grasp. It was widely employed in the United States as a social and party dance. The American Social Foxtrot uses six-count and eight-count figures. For example, the six-count figure extends itself across one a half measures of music and uses the slow, slow, quick, quick steps which are each responsible for two counts, two counts, one count, and one count.
- International or British Foxtrot: frequently used in Europe and Great Britain, the International Foxtrot is social yet extremely competitive at the same time. One of the main rules is that partners must maintain body contact at all times. Therefore, the possible amount of figures and positions is far more limited than in the American version. Most dancers flow and gently glide across the floor while following a figure that is based upon four-count units with a slow rhythm: slow-quick-quick (two counts, one count, one count). Since the British or International Foxtrot is recognised worldwide, the moves are strictly controlled by the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing to ensure quality and adherence to the norm.
The previously mentioned description helps dance beginners to become familiar with one of the world's most famous dances; it would be wise to also analyse the distinguishing steps of the American Continuity Style foxtrot.
But isn't it a bit difficult to understand a dance without any visual aids?
Of course, we couldn't agree more! Therefore, we recommend that learners browse certain videos to learn the varying steps and characteristics that make each version unique.
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Best Songs to Dance the Foxtrot to Like a Boss
Wouldn't it be a little mad to learn how to dance without any music & lyrics? Thankfully we don't live in such a cruel world and there are so many distinct songs to choose from and dance to. Every type of dance has its own songs to go along with.
For example, lindy hop dances are complemented by jazz music, Viennese waltz' enjoy the accompaniment of classical music, and hip-hop moves are best expressed with the sounds of R&B or rap.
But what about the foxtrot? Is there specific music for the foxtrot?
The foxtrot is best complemented by the unique jazzy songs of iconic crooners such as Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Micheal Buble. Nevertheless, the following are the absolute best songs to put anyone in a foxtrot dancing mood:
- A Wink and a Smile by Harry Connick Jr,
- Ain't That a Kick in the Head by Dean Martin,
- Don't Get Around Much Anymore by Tony Bennett,
- All of Me by Michael Buble,
- Busted by Ray Charles,
- Better Together by Jack Johnson,
- Baby its Cold Outside by Dean Martin,
- Call Me Irresponsible by Bobby Darin,
- Deed I Do by Ella Fitzgerald.
The previously mentioned songs are extremely jazzy, and if jazz isn't your thing, there are some foxtrot-based ballads from modern-day artists that leave dancers gliding across the dancefloor forgetting all of their problems!
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Where to Find Foxtrot Dance Lessons in the UK
Has reading this article inspired you to find foxtrot dance lessons at a dance academy near you? Do you have a burning desire to master the steps of one of the world's most beloved dances?
Have no fear, Superprof is here to save the day by offering suggestions of where to attend foxtrot lessons with a professional teacher at a school near you. The following are the best dance academies to learn how to foxtrot in the UK's largest cities:
- Zig Zag Dance Factory: located near Birmingham in the city of Wolverhampton, Zig Zag Dance Factory is a fantastic place to learn some of the world's most classic dances such as salsa, waltz, and foxtrot. Consult the informative website to learn more about the dance lessons and classes.
- Arthur Murray Dance Centers: located on Baker Street in London, the Arthur Murray Dance Center is a fantastic place to brush up on dance skills such as the foxtrot from professional teachers with a world-class experience.
Learning how to dance to a classical dance is a wonderful experience that should not be overlooked and viewed as impossible. The foxtrot is a wonderful dance for beginners to learn to look fantastic on the dancefloor.