Ballroom dance from the 1920's. In the Fox Trot, the first and third beats of every measure are more strongly accented than the second and fourth. It is danced with slow and quick steps combined, the most popular rhythms being slow-slow-quick-quick and slow-quick-quick. Each slow step counts for 2 beats while each quick step counts for one.

Fox Trot music is written in 4/4 time. The slow step is long and graceful, and the quick step is short and lively.

Fox Trot is another of those Ragtime Animal Dances where you try to act like a fox. Slow steps become little leaps, and quick step become runs. It sounds just like a toddle so far, but the styling is different. In Fox Trot you want to keep smooth and quiet, as if you are hunting wabbits, or perhaps being hunted yourself.


Alternately, Fox Trot is a dance unto itself, much like a One Step, but with one more degree of freedom in the rhythm of your feet.

Instead of a regular one step per beat, one combines quick steps and slow steps, where one slow step takes the same amount of time as two quick steps.

Any combination of quicks and slows is fair game, although if you don't choose an even number of quick steps, things can get out of hand in a hurry. So, add these to the list of rhythms in the One Step :

  • slow-quick-quick
  • quick-quick-slow
  • slow-slow-quick-quick
  • slow-slow-quick-quick-slow
  • slow-slow-quick-quick-quick-quick
  • slow-slow-slow-slow-quick-quick-quick-quick-quick-quick-quick-quick
I purposefully left out slow-slow-slow-slow and quick-quick-quick-quick because those are really One Step.

For a beginning leader, it is recommended that you pick one rhythm, and stick with it for several phrases, before switching to another one. There's no shame in keeping the same rhythm for an entire song. An advanced leader can mix slows and quicks willy-nilly, without ever establishing a pattern; but remember : your primary objective is to give your follower a pleasing experience, and most will be less than pleased if they have to constantly worry about their feet.

Now, go back to the One Step page and try all those combinations again, but with different rhythms of slows and quicks. You'll find some combinations of step and rhythm work quite well, while others work quite poorly.

There are a wide variety of theories on the origin of this term, which I'll add here some day, unless someone else beats me too it (hint, hint).

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