The Foxtrot originated in the summer of 1914 by Vaudeville actor Harry Fox. Born Arthur Carringford in Pomona, California, in 1882, he adopted the stage name of “Fox” after his grandfather. 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.” 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 foxtrot or fox trot is a smooth progressive dance characterized by long, continuous flowing movements across the dance floor. It is danced to big band (usually vocal) music, and the feeling is one of elegance and sophistication. The dance is similar in its look to waltz, although the rhythm is 4/4 instead of ¾ time. Developed in the 1920’s, the foxtrot reached its height of popularity in the 1930’s, and remains practiced today. At its inception, the foxtrot was originally danced to ragtime. Today, the dance is customarily accompanied by the same big band music to which swing is also danced. Over time, the foxtrot split into slow and quick versions, referred to as “foxtrot” and “quickstep” respectively. In the slow category, further distinctions exist between the International or English style of the foxtrot and the continuity American style, both built around a slow-quick-quick rhythm at the slowest tempo, and the social American style using a slow-slow-quick-quick rhythm at a somewhat faster pace. In the context of International Standard category of ballroom dances, for some time the foxtrot was called “Slow Foxtrot”, or “Slowfox”. These names are still in use, to distinguish from other types of foxtrots.