Smooth and Standard Dances
The Foxtrot is a smooth and gliding dance in 4/4 time with combinations of slow and quick steps. It
was originally known as Fox’s Trot, named for its originator, Henry Fox, a vaudeville performer in New York in 1914.
Socially, it was first danced at “Jardin de Danse”, a dance hall located on the roof of the New York Theater that
same summer. There it was noticed by a famous ballroom dance couple, Irene and Vernon Castle, who further refined
the steps. Years later these steps were standardized by the legendary Arthur Murray. Foxtrot is usually danced to
music that is similar to Big Band Swing music, though with a narrower range of (more slow) tempos. It is an easy
dance for beginners to learn, and also has a great many variations for the serious student. Foxtrot is one of the
dances that is commonly envisioned when someone mentions the words "Ballroom Dance" for it is danced with large,
flowing movements counterclockwise around the dance floor.
Quickstep developed simultaneously in New York and in England in the 1920’s, and is an International
Style competition dance. Many of the dance bands at the time played music for the Foxtrot at too fast a pace for
the Foxtrot dance. This eventually led to the development of two different dances: Slow Foxtrot and Fast Foxtrot.
When Charleston became popular starting in 1925, some elements from this new dance were incorporated into the Fast
Foxtrot. Ragtime jazz music was then popular and influenced the music for this new dance; eventually this Fast
Foxtrot became known simply as Quickstep. Today in the United States, Quickstep is regularly taught and danced as
an American Social Dance. As in all International Standard Dances, all of the step patterns are danced in closed
ballroom dance hold. The current step list was established in the 1920’s and has many step patterns that are
similar to those of the Waltz. Of all of the ballroom dances, none express the joy of dancing more than the Quickstep!
The American Tango originated in Latin American and is danced to march-like music in 2/4 time. It
contains gliding steps punctuated by sudden turns and pauses. Unlike in its International counterpart, couples
dancing the American Tango may break dance hold to execute spins, turns and other figures. This highly stylized
dance should be danced in a very dramatic fashion.
Tango originated in Argentina; but when the dance traveled to Europe and The United States, it changed
considerably. Both American and International Tango are danced to the same music when danced socially. International
Tango is a “Standard” dance, though has no rise and fall, nor sway. Instead, it is full of contra-body staccato
movement. It is the Tango seen on shows such as “Dancing with the Stars” and exhibits lots of sharp snaps and turns.
It can be a very dramatic dance, and is a lot of fun to learn.
Waltz is traditionally considered to be the most romantic of all ballroom dances, and all waltzes are danced
to music with three counts to a measure, and are full of large, flowing movements best suited to a large dance floor.
In addition to basic steps in closed dance position, American Style Waltz is characterized by turns and spins with the
couple often breaking contact completely. This is in contrast to International Standard Waltz where the couple never
breaks their closed dance position. Waltz is a very easy dance to learn, and can be danced around an entire dance
floor with only one basic step pattern. Waltz is the most familiar dance that is commonly envisioned when someone
mentions the words "Ballroom Dance" for it is danced with large, flowing movements counterclockwise arount the dance