The Foxtrot is one
of the most deceiving dances as it looks very easy, but is one of the most
difficult to do. The dance originated in the Victorian era as the "One Step"
or "Two Step". It was later introduced as the "Castle Walk" by the American
performers, Vernon and Irene Castle. Then, in 1913, a Vaudeville performer
by the name of Harry Fox performed a little trot, which appealed to the
social dance teachers in New York and thus the Foxtrot was born. It has gone
through many changes since that time and is now comprised of more soft and
Danced in 4/4
timing, the music has 4 recurring, even beats. There is an accent on the
first beat of each bar. The music is smooth suggesting a constant movement
and transfer of weight across the floor.
In its present
form, the Foxtrot should be performed with a smooth, continuous undulating
movement. The rise and fall should not be as pronounced as the Waltz, but
still be apparent. There should always be a sense of smooth continuous
movement around the floor.
MAN - Stand in a
natural upright position with knees slightly flexed, body inclined forward
from the feet braced at the waist with shoulders relaxed at normal level,
and with no tension in the chest, body weight forward over the balls of feet
with the feet flat
LADY - The poise
as a lady will be the same as described for man, except that she would be
poised backwards from the waist. This backward poise must not be
exaggerated. Some dancers and teachers like to talk about the backward poise
being created from the upper back rather than the lower back but it is
definitely a point of contention.
MAN - Stand
facing the lady as described above, with the lady very slightly to the
man's right side. Hold the lady with the right hand, placing the hand
just below her left shoulder blade with the fingers neatly grouped.
The upper part of the r5ght arm should slope downwards from the
shoulder to the elbow, then downwards from the elbow to the hand in a
hand will hold the lady's right hand between the thumb and first
finger, the other fingers closed over the right side of her hand. The
left wrist must not bend, there should be a straight unbroken line
between the elbow and the hand. The palm of the hand facing diagonally
to the floor., the upper part of the left arm should slope downwards
slightly, the arm bent sharply at the elbow with the forearm slanting
upwards from the elbow to the hand. The hand being held just above the
height of the left ear, the forearm inclined very slightly
outwards from the body.
LADY - The
left warm will be placed lightly on the man's right arm, the fingers
of the left hand grouped neatly in the center of the arm just below
the right shoulder (depending on the height of the partner).
arm will slope very slightly downwards from the shoulder to the elbow,
then upwards from the elbow slanting forward towards man's left hand/
The fingers will fold lightly over the man's left hand between his
thumb and first finger.,
Reverse Turn in Foxtrot; having stepped back on the RF, starting to
turn to the left, the turn will commence on the ball of the RF, the
heel will then lower and all the remaining turn will continue on the
heel with the foot flat. A body rise will be felt.
The LF will
be drawn back with the heel in contact with the floor. The heel of the
LF will close to the heel of the RF with the fee flat and parallel. A
weight change will be made to the LF at the end of the turn. The RF
will then be taken forward onto the tow, then lower to the heel.
Timing is SQQ.
Turn of Natural Turns would be the same except that it will start with
the LF back and the turn will be made to the right.
the distribution of weight of the body over the feet. When taking a
forward or backward walk there are three points of balance: forward,
backward, and when the weight is equally distributed (middle of foot).
When moving forward the center of gravity will start to travel from
the heel, to the middle of the foot, then to the ball, and finally
through the toes. When moving backwards the weight will start from the
toes, to the ball, then to the middle of the foot, and finally through
the heel. This is true if you are coming into a step and then going
out if it. In other words, at standstill your weight should be over
the middle of the foot.
This is the
inclination of the body to the right or left from the ankles upwards.
It is used to assist balance or turn, but mainly for effect.
Principle of sway is to lean towards the inside of a circle. There
will be no sway when using CBM, but the sway will be to the right
after a RF CBM, and to the left after a LF CBM and is normally held
for 2 steps following the CBM step (except step 3 of a Curved
is normal to sway for two steps at a time, some figures have sway on
one step only, such as, Telemarkds, Impetus and Open Imputeus Turn,
Change of Direction, etc. In these cases the sway should not be
several figures where way is not used, such as Spins, Natural or
Reverse Turn Pivots, Progressive Chasse to the Left or Right, Forward
and Backward Lock Steps, Chasse from Promenade Position etc.
Sway can be
used without actually making turn between the feet. For example a
Whisk as a man, or when using a slight curve to the right or left in
the body, as in a Feather Step and a Three Step.
used in a Change of Direction or a Hover preceding a Hover Feather in
Foxtrot and last part of a Natural Hesitation Change in Waltz, is not
normal sway but is felt from the waist upwards and is sometimes
referred to as broken sway.
Sway is most
obvious in the Waltz due to the more pronounced rise and fall and the
lilt of the dance.
Rise and Fall:
Rise is the
increased elevation created by the bracing of the muscles of the legs,
the straightening of the knees and the stretching upwards of the body,
usually accompanied by the raising of the heel or heels from the
Fall is the
lowering of the supporting foot from the toe to heel and subsequent
flexing of the knees , as the next step is taken.
No foot Rise
- happens when the rise is felt through the legs and body as described
above, but when stepping back no rise occurs in the supporting foot
(as with the lady's part of a Feather and Three Step).
When a side
step follows no foot rise, the supporting foot will be flat and when
full weight is taken onto step 2, the heel of step 1 will be released
from the floor (ex. 1-3 of a Natural Turn in Waltz or Quickstep as a
When a step
back is followed by another step back with no foot rise, the toe of
the supporting foot is released from the floor so that when step 2 is
taken pressure is felt in the heel of the front foot. A body rise will
be felt when the weight is distributed between the hell of the front
foot and the ball of the back foot, (ex. Feather Step or Hover Feather
as a lady in the Foxtrot).
When no foot
rise follows a step, the heel of the side step will lower (not the
body) as the next step is taken to end up no foot rise (ex. Feather
Finish as lady).
The body should be
braced at all times, whether or not employing rise and fall.
In the Foxtrot,
the normal rise and fall will be: Rise at the end of count 1, up on count 2
and 3, lower at the end of count 3 to denote a quicker type of rise.
Contra Body Movement (CBM)
and Contra Body Movement Position (CBMP):
Movement is a body action used to initiate turn. It is the moving of
the opposite side of the body towards the stepping foot, either
forward or backward. The action will be strongest on Natural and
Reverse Turn Pivots. When stepping forward using CBM the toe will turn
slightly out. When stepping back the toe will turn in.
Movement Position is the placing of the stepping foot, forward or back, onto
or across the line of the other foot, giving the appearance of CBM having
been used, but without turning the body.
CBMP is used on
all Outside Partner steps, except step 3 of a Fishtail, to ensure a good
line and contact. CBM is also used on some Outside Partner steps.
CBMP can be used
when in line with the partner (ex. step 3 of a Change of Direction and all
normal LF forward steps in Tango.
across" in CBMP means that the moving foot travels more across the line of
the other foot. This applies to steps in Promenade Position only.
man's right and the lady's left sides are in contact with the opposite
sides of the body turned out to form a slight V. The feet will
normally match the turning out of the body.
Foxtrot Closed Syllabus
1. Feather Step
2. Three Step
3. Reverse Turn
4. Natural Turn
5. Feather Finish
6. Closed Impetus
1. Natural Weave
2. Change of
3. Basic Weave
1. Closed Telemark
2. Open Telemark
and Feather Ending
3. Top Spin
4. Hover Feather
5. Hover Telemark
7. Hover Cross
8. Open Telemark,
Natural Turn, Outisde Swivel & Feather Ending
9. Open Impetus
10. Weave from
11. Reverse Weave
1. Natural Twist
2. Curved Feather
to Back Feather
3. Natural Zig-Zag
from Promenade Position
Reverse and Slip Pivot
5. Natural Hover
6. Bounce Fallaway
with Weave Ending
Social Class Choreography
1. Feather Step (SQQ)
2. Three Step (SQQ)
3. Feather Step (SQQ)
4. Change of
5. Feather Step (SQQ)
6. Three Step (SQQ)
7. Feather Step (SQQ)
8. Change of
CONTINUE WITH #1
We had talked
about doing as many Feather and Three Steps as possible down the floor. If
the floor is long enough then after step 3 do another Three Step and another
Feather Step before doing step 4 which is the Change of Direction. On the
short side on the other hand you might only have room to do a Feather and go
right into the Change of Direction rather than doing a full sequence of
Feather Step, Three Step, Feather, and then the Change of Direction.
We had also spent
some time talking about the footwork for the Feather and Three Step.
Although I don't think it is terribly important right now I like to answer
the questions fully so here it is:
A Feather Step
consists of three steps. Forward on the right inside partner (Heel Toe),
forward on the left (Toe), and forward on the right outside partner (Toe
Heel). So when we write out the footwork for the full step it is HT, T, TH -
where each comma separates the steps.
A Three Step
consists of three steps. Forward on the left (Heel or Heel Flat - even
though you still roll through your foot naturally), forward on the right
inside partner (Heel Toe - therefore you rise as you roll off the foot), and
forward on the left (Toe Heel - as we lower our weight). So when we write
out the footwork for the full step it is H, HT, TH - where each comma
separates the steps.
I am trying to
fill up the website with more information to help everyone with the
individual steps, but it takes a long time. Eventually, you will be able to
click each step that appears on the syllabus above and you will be able to
look at a detailed chart with the steps, timing, rotation, rise and fall,
sway, swing, footwork, and any other details that you might need to know
like precedes and follows. If you would like to see what that looks like go
to the dances that I have already finished like the Jive and Paso Doble.
Also if you have
any questions or you think there might be a mistake let me know by email or
even give me a call. Remember Kora and I don't do much outside of dance so
you will not be interrupting anything.
Newcomer Class Choreography
Step (1234 5678)
2. Feather (SQQ)
3. Reverse Turn
(Incorporating Feather Finish (SQQ SQQ)
4. Three Step (SQQ)
5. Natural Turn (SQQS)
6. 1-3 Natural
7. Closed Impetus
and Feather Ending (SQQ SQQ)
8. Reverse Turn
(Incorporating Feather Finish) (SQQ SQQ)
9. Three Step (SQQ)
10. Natural Turn (SQQ
CONTINUE WITH #2
Long Side: 1-7
Short Side: 7-10
Bronze Class Choreography
2. Reverse Turn
(Incorporating Feather Finsih) (SQQ SQQ)
3. Three Step (SQQ)
4. Natural Weave (SQQ
5. Change of
6. Feather (SQQ)
7. Reverse Turn
(Back Check on Step 4) (SQQ S)
8. Basic Weave (QQ
9. Three Step (SQQ)
10. 1-3 Natural
11. Closed Impetus
and Feather Finish (SQQ SQQ)
CONTINUE WITH #1
Long Side: 1-7
Short Side: 7-11