Dance Tidbits – Fox Trot

Want to be compared to two of the most famous dancers of all time, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, then learn how to Fox Trot and learn it well!

First, a little background as to what the Fox Trot is and how it got started. It developed in the early 1900’s and gained in popularity in the 1930’s and remains a ballroom favorite to this day. There was a couple, Vernon and Irene Castle, who were a husband and wife team of ballroom dancers. This couple was famous for two reasons. First, they were in Irving Berlin’s (famous American composer and lyricist) very first Broadway show, “Watch Your Step” in 1914. And while in this Broadway show, they brought an enchanting grace and style to the Fox Trot giving it a whole new perspective.

How they got the name Fox Trot is not exactly clear, although there was a very popular vaudeville actor and comedian named Harry Fox. It was believed he gave his name to the Fox Trot. Other sources say that African American dancers introduced the Fox Trot.

It’s good to know that when the Fox Trot was first discovered, it was originally danced to ragtime music. The Fox Trot was without a doubt the most popular fast dance well into the 1940’s. In terms of music even today, Fox Trot is accompanied by the same big band music as swing. Over a period of time, different versions of the Fox Trot began to develop. There was the slow and quick version known as the Fox Trot and the Quickstep. Then it began to be broken down in International and English style of Fox Trot. Both of these versions were of a faster pace. There is more variety in the Fox Trot than in any other dance. In some ways, this makes it the hardest dance to learn. But those dancers that do master the Fox Trot stand out from the crowd.

Now, let’s get back to you. If you read the first paragraph of this blog, I’m assuming you want to be the best ballroom/dancesport dancer ever and you also know who Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are? Fred and Ginger were actors as well as superb dancers. They made the Fox Trot the “Rolls Royce” of the Ballroom standard.

If you plan to rival Fred and Ginger and your other competition, you better have very smooth dance moves while covering as much space as you can. We want to see a streamlined couple moving as one. The most beautiful thing about the Fox Trot is the elegance and beauty combined with flexibility in those quick and slow steps. Many dance couples in competition consider the Fox Trot the most difficult dance to master and win in a competition. Now get out there and make Fred and Ginger (and your moms and dads) proud!

Happy dancing,

Thought Of The Week:

“Knowledge is gained by learning; trust by doubt; skill by practice; and love by love.” Thomas Szasz



Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website