The Foxtrot is unquestionably America’s favorite dance. Other dances come and go, but the Foxtrot grows ever more popular. The overwhelming majority of all songs written today are with the Foxtrot rhythm, and it is one of the core dances we teach here at the Arthur Murray Dance Center of Cranford.
Unlike most other dances, the Foxtrot is distinctly and entirely American, which may account for its permanent popularity in this country. It is a dance characterized by flowing movements and freedom of styling—the same kind of dynamic informality which characterizes the American way of life.
The name of the dance supposedly comes from a vaudeville performer named Harry Fox, who introduced it in 1913. During his act he used to select a variety of chorus girls and “trot” with them around the stage. The dance he did came to be known as the “Fox Trot”, nowadays one word: simply the Foxtrot.
The dance as we know it today is far different from the fast, simple trotting step that Mr. Fox introduced, but the name has persisted. As with the Lindy Hop, the origin of the name has been largely forgotten, but the dance remains the favorite of all dancers, young and old alike.
The origin of the Foxtrot itself goes back beyond Harry Fox to the introduction and growth in popularity of ragtime music. This distinctively American form of music, with its different and exciting rhythms, swept the country. With it arose new dances to express the rhythmic urges which sprang up wherever ragtime music was played. The Cake Walk, the Two Step, the Bunny Hug—these and many others were forerunners of the Foxtrot. With the introduction of the Foxtrot and its instantaneous rise to popularity, the other dances were forgotten and the Foxtrot became America’s favorite dance—a position it still holds today and the Arthur Murray Dance Center of Cranford teaches with pride. Feel free to schedule your first lesson with us and learn firsthand the appeal of the Foxtrot!