Slow Foxtrot

April 17th, 2010

It’s predecessor and a faster dance than the Foxtrot, the One Step or Two Step, was danced in the Victorian era. It was introduced as the ‘Castle Walk’ at the nightclub performances of Vernon and Irene Castle, and made popular by Harry Fox in the stage show ‘Ziegfeld Follies’ in New York in 1913. Harry Fox’s involvement has been taken as the origin of the name “Foxtrot”, although there are some other possibilities.
The term was used in the military for a type of equestrian walk which could have been used to describe the dance. This walk is unusually smooth – in a normal trot there are moments when all four legs of the horse are off the ground, the landing from which causes a jarring action. In the ‘Fox Trot’, the front leg is moved before the hind leg, so that the horse always has one foot on the ground, which gives a smoother action .
Another possibility is that the name stems from the actual animal itself. The fox can walk with its feet under its body, making a single track of footprints. In the dances’ early years, the Foxtrot was danced this way, with the left and right feet falling on one line of dance, each being placed directly in front of or behind the other. In the 1950’s there was a revision in the technique where the left and right feet each had their own separate tracks on the floor. The dance continues to be taught in this style today.
Foxtrot was being taught in the schools of Arthur Murray and Fred Astaire and soon became a hit in New York and a year later in London. It was seen as a rebellion against 19th Century dancing, as it used parallel feet rather than the turned out feet of the Victorian dances. By 1922, the trotting steps had been replaced by a less energetic movement called the Saunter, and by 1927 the dance was called the Slow Foxtrot – characterised by smooth gliding movements.
Since that time, the dance has evolved into two forms – the Quickstep and the Slow Foxtrot. The Slow Foxtrot is performed to slower music and retains the walks and pivots of its routes. It has continued to have a smooth flowing and classy characteristic which makes it a perfect dance for Marie-Louise and Garreth. Full of grace and charm, this dance is a romantic classic.

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