The foxtrot is a very smooth and rather easy dance. It’s also one of the most basic ballroom dances. This is also classified as a progressive dance. Note that you will be making continuous and flowing steps and movements. The dance would appear similar to waltz but of course the rhythm of the foxtrot is different.
This dance was introduced in 1914. One theory is that the name of this dance was taken from the man who popularized it – Harry Fox. Of course, that is only one theory. It should be noted that the exact origin of this dance and the source of its name is rather unclear.
What we know is that the style and graceful demeanor of this dance was formulated by dancing couple Irene and Vernon Castle. Vernon Castle admits that he only observed the dance at an exclusive colored club danced by African Americans.
The forward basic is the basic or fundamental step in foxtrot. This is the set of steps that you need to learn first before you learn more advanced steps. It is a combination of two walks and then comes a chasse.
The counting pattern is as follows: slow, slow, quick, quick. The steps follow a rather progressive movement, which means you can repeat the steps over and over in order to travel the line of dance.
The forward basic is danced in a straight line somewhat like tango (though tango steps tend to make you veer slightly to the left). Note that you and your dance partner won’t be making any turns when executing the basic steps in foxtrot. If you wish, you can even dance the forward basic steps along the diagonals of the dance floor. If you do, please make sure that you aren’t disrupting the flow of traffic or else you risk bumping into other dancing pairs.
The Foxtrot Rolling Footwork
The footwork in foxtrot is quite interesting. The footsteps you make glide from one step to the next. People often describe the gliding of the feet as some sort of a rolling motion especially when you perform steps 1 and 2.
This natural rolling action of the feet is used – you do that by gently but rather smoothly shifting your weight from the heel to the toes (a roll). You don’t jitter or pause after taking a step. You immediately glide into the next step after taking one step.
To facilitate this smooth gliding motion you should keep your knees flexed as you take your steps. The heel of your foot is the first that comes in contact with the floor. And then you roll your weight to the flat of your foot. And then as you do you take the next step doing the same footwork with your other foot.
The backward steps performed by the follower will also do the same footwork but only in reverse. Instead of the heel, the follower will take a backward step with the toes coming in contact with the floor first. You will then roll the rest of the foot down on the floor as the weight of your body rests on that foot and as you do so you progress to the next foot taking the next back step in concert with the lead.
The Foxtrot Chasse
The last two steps in the count for the foxtrot are actually part of a chasse. You can use a slight rise and fall when performing the chasse. The rise and fall occurs at the last two steps made in foxtrot.
Steps for the Men
Again, there are four steps for both the men and women dancing the foxtrot. Just a reminder: the count is slow, slow, quick, quick. So here are the steps for the men or the lead.
1. The first step is a forward step with the left foot. This is the first slow count. Again mind the footwork – your foot should roll. The lead will be facing the line of dance. No rise is required on this step.
2. Step two is another forward step but this time with the right foot. Footwork here is heel-toe. Note that you should rise at the end of step 2.
3. Step 3 is the first quick count and you do a step to the side with the left foot. You should make this step going slightly forward. Foot work for this step is toe ball. You should go up on count 3 but you should begin to lower at the end of his coun.
4. The last step is the second quick count in this series. You close with the right foot placing it right next to your left foot. The foot work involved in this step is ball heel. Note that you should lower yourself slightly by bending your knees all throughout count 4. You should still be facing the LOD.
Steps for the Woman (Follower)
Again, the man and woman should begin in the closed position. She will be backing the line of dance as she goes along with the steps.
1. The woman begins with a backward step with the right foot. This is the first slow step in the count. Footwork involved is a toe heel. Do not rise with this step.
2. Step number two is another backward step but this time with the left foot. This is the second slow count. Again, the footwork involved here is another toe heel with the left foot. Remember to release the toe of the front foot. You should rise at the end of the second step.
3. Step 3 is the first quick and the woman does a side step to the right with her right foot. The footwork involved is a toe ball. She should go up on count 3 but begin to lower at the end of this count.
4. Step 4 is the second quick count and the woman moves her left foot close to the right foot. Footwork involved here is a ball heel. She should lower all throughout count 4. Remember that the woman should be backing the LOD the whole time.
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