Fox Trot

The Fox Trot provides a good foundation for all dances and is often called the get acquainted or first impression dance.


In 1913, Harry Fox, a vaudeville comedian, introduced a trot to a ragtime song in the 1913 Ziegfeld Follies that pushed other trots into the background.  It became America’s most popular dance and remains so to this day as the standard of social dances.


Foxtrot music is written in 2/4 or 4/4 time.  The first and third beats are accented in 4/4 time.  The range of foxtrot tempos makes it possible to consider foxtrot as though it were three dances:  Slow Fox Trot; Medium Fox Trot; and Fast Fox Trot, also called Society Tempo.  Fox Trot has two major teaching rhythms: Magic Rhythm – slow, slow, quick, quick (SSQQ) and Box Rhythm – slow, quick, quick (SQQ).


The basic components of foxtrot are walking steps and sidesteps.  Crowded dance floors or nightclub conditions require that all three tempos be expressed with short steps.  In larger ballrooms the Slow Fox Trot is characterized by longer smooth gliding steps, demanding ease of movement and control in order to give this dance an unhurried appearance

Teaching elements

  • Dance position                                  To develop attractive appearance in ballroom dancing
  • Footwork                                            Work on ankle flexibility, smooth walks and chasses
  • Follow-through                                 Develop control of timing
  • Maneuverability                               Learn to move comfortably in all directions
  • Amalgamations                                Combine steps easily and smoothly to all tempos, transitions from Swing to Fox Trot and back
  • Continuity                                         Be able to move continuously and smoothly
  • Compare/contrast                           Waltz, Tango, Rumba, Swing

Foxtrot songs and artists include:

New York New York – Frank Sinatra

My Baby Only Cares for Me – the Brian Setzer Orchestra

It Had to Be You – Harry Connick Jr