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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 fluid movements.


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 straight line.

The left 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).

The right 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.,

Heel Turn:

In the 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.

The Heel 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.


Balance is 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.

The 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 Feather).

Although it 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 overemphasized.

There are 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.

The sway 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 floor.

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 lady).

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):

Contra Body 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.

Contra Body 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.

"Forward and 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.

Promenade Position:

When the 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 Direction

3. Basic Weave


1. Closed Telemark

2. Open Telemark and Feather Ending

3. Top Spin

4. Hover Feather

5. Hover Telemark

6. Natural Telemark

7. Hover Cross

8. Open Telemark, Natural Turn, Outisde Swivel & Feather Ending

9. Open Impetus

10. Weave from Promenade Position

11. Reverse Weave


1. Natural Twist Turn

2. Curved Feather to Back Feather

3. Natural Zig-Zag from Promenade Position

4. Fallaway Reverse and Slip Pivot

5. Natural Hover Telemark

6. Bounce Fallaway with Weave Ending

Social Class Choreography

1. Feather Step (SQQ)

2. Three Step (SQQ)

3. Feather Step (SQQ)

4. Change of Direction (SSS)

5. Feather Step (SQQ)

6. Three Step (SQQ)

7. Feather Step (SQQ)

8. Change of Direction (SSS)


Choreography Modifications:

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.

Footwork Question:

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

1. Preparation 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 Turn (SQQ)

7. Closed Impetus and Feather Ending (SQQ SQQ)

8. Reverse Turn (Incorporating Feather Finish) (SQQ SQQ)

9. Three Step (SQQ)

10. Natural Turn (SQQ SSS)


Long Side: 1-7 Short Side: 7-10

Bronze Class Choreography

1. Preparation Step (SQQ)

2. Reverse Turn (Incorporating Feather Finsih) (SQQ SQQ)

3. Three Step (SQQ)

4. Natural Weave (SQQ QQQQ)

5. Change of Direction (SSS)

6. Feather (SQQ)

7. Reverse Turn (Back Check on Step 4) (SQQ S)

8. Basic Weave (QQ QQ QQ)

9. Three Step (SQQ)

10. 1-3 Natural Turn (SQQ)

11. Closed Impetus and Feather Finish (SQQ SQQ)


Long Side: 1-7 Short Side: 7-11


3 Lesson Package

3 Full hour private lessons with Simeon or Kora. Your choice Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz, Quickstep, Cha Cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble, or Jive. New Students Only.




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