History of the Foxtrot
Dance experts dispute the origins of the foxtrot, but one of the most widely-held theories is that a vaudeville star named Harry Fox invented it while performing in between movie showings at the New York Theatre. The story goes that Fox had initially developed a series of trotting steps to ragtime music that proved enormously popular to the movie-going audiences, and eventually Arthur Murray and a handful of other dance instructors standardized the steps into a recognized dance style henceforth known as the Foxtrot.
As anyone who has seen a foxtrot performed will remember, however, the contemporary foxtrot looks nothing like an actual trot. In fact, not too long after its creation, choreographers realized that the original foxtrot would prove too tiresome to perform for long, so they developed a slower and more fluid style that suited dancers better and which could be done even in small spaces. The modern foxtrot retains much of its ancestral characteristics, however, not just in name but also in the use of 4/4 time and its reputation for being a casual yet intricate social dance that, as one commentator put it, “is one of the easiest to learn and one of the hardest to master.” Today, it remains one of the most popular dances in the United States.