Originally a fast bouncy dance created by vaudevillian Harry Fox, morphed into a slow romantic dance under the influence of Arthur Murry.
It’s a combination of slow and quick steps put together in different ways, but most of them fall into one of two categories: slow-quick-quick or slow- slow-quick-quick. (quick steps step on every beat, slow steps move on every other beat).
It’s a smooth dance, moving around the floor in the line of direction, counter clockwise. Competitive ballroom dancers consider the slow foxtrot to be the ultimate challenge, because stepping on every other beat when the music is slow is difficult to manage with grace and balance. From a social dance perspective, however, this is because it’s the wrong dance for the music.
Foxtrots can work to any music that is smooth and in 4/4 time, with a fairly wide range of speeds, but if the music is too slow to comfortably take slow steps, in our opinion there are other dances that are more appropriate.
Putting the different rhythms together is the most challenging part of Foxtrot, but beginners can choose to use only the patterns of one rhythm at a time as they hone their leading and following skills.
It’s a popular dance for wedding first dances because of it’s musical flexibility and because it’s fairly easy to learn. Most popular music is in 4/4 time, and most of it will work for Foxtrot in a pinch.