The Foxtrot originated in the summer of 1914 by a Vaudeville actor Harry Fox.
A music publisher liked his voice and hired him to sing songs from the boxes of vaudeville theaters in San Francisco. After the San Francisco earthquake and the fire of 1906, Harry Fox migrated East and finally stopped in New York.
In early 1914, Fox was appearing in various vaudeville shows in the New York area. In April he teamed up with Yansci Dolly of the famous Dolly Sisters in an act of Hammerstein's. At the same time, the New York Theatre, one of the largest in the World, was being converted into a movie house. As an extra attraction, the theater's management decided to try vaudeville acts between the shows. They selected Harry Fox and his company of "American Beauties" to put on a dancing act.
At the same time, the roof of the theatre was converted to a Jardin de Danse, and the Dolly sisters were featured in a nightly revue.
The Fox-trot originated in the Jardin de Danse on the roof of the New York Theatre. As part of his act downstairs, Harry Fox was doing trotting steps to ragtime music, and people referred to his dance as "Fox's Trot."
There was no doubt that the fox-trot was the most original and exciting of various dances.
The elite of the dancing world were soon trying to capture the unusual style of movement and when a very talented American, G.K. Anderson went over to London, and with Josephine Bradley won many competitions, he set the seal on the style of the foxtrot.
As a result of the great popularity which ballroom dancing was enjoying, it was necessary to evolve a form of dance that could express the slow syncopated 4/4 rhythm and yet could remain "on the spot." This did not mean that the "traveling" fox-trot was dropped, but the "on the spot" dance did provide a means of enjoying the music in a background which large numbers of people could afford and enjoy.
The "on the spot" dancing was known appropriately as crush, then rhythm dancing. It is now called "social" dancing and possibly this conveys its purpose and limitations. It would be anti-social to attempt to stride around a ballroom crowded with dancers, to dance with only one partner when out with a party, or to be so engrossed with the performance of figures that any conversation is taboo.
The Foxtrot was the most significant development in all of ballroom dancing. The combination of quick and slow steps permits more flexibility and gives much greater dancing pleasure than the one-step and two-step which it has replaced. There is more variety in the fox-trot than in any other dance, and in some ways it is the hardest dance to learn!
Variations of the foxtrot include the Peabody, the Quickstep and Roseland foxtrot. Even dances such as the lindy and the hustle are derived to some extent from the foxtrot.
The basic elements of Foxtrot are walking steps and side steps. The long walking movements also involve a rise and fall action, which is similar to waltz, although more subtle. The basic box step is also similar to Waltz steps – the main difference being timing (Foxtrot is 4/4, Waltz is 3/4).
The first and third beats of each measure are more heavily accented. It is danced in combinations of slow and quick steps, with each slow step taking two beats and each quick step one beat of music. Therefore, a dance basic figure in slow, slow, quick, quick rhythm takes one and a half measures, while a dance figure in slow, quick, quick rhythm takes one measure.
Foxtrot is extremely versatile and can be danced to a variety of musical styles and tempi. In competitions, however, it is danced to music at a tempo of 29 to 34 measure per minute depending on the level.
CARnHAL, Performing to "I'm Alive".
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