Music and Song · Parties and Visits · Vintage Entertainment

Add the Foxtrot to Your Dance Routine

Two Twenties couples dance the foxtrot. Pencil sketch of head and shoulders.

If you only learn one dance from the Twenties, make it the foxtrot. It’s simple, it offers lots of variety, and it goes with everything. (Kind of like that little black dress or your favorite tux). Adding the foxtrot to your dance routine helps you glide through a Twenties party.

Because of the dance’s popularity, almost every song in 4/4 time billed itself as a foxtrot. Some were slow and others fast, but as long as the beat is correct you can foxtrot to it all. Marking “a new foxtrot” on the front of sheet music guaranteed some sales. Piano players often wanted to provide danceable music for evening guests. Foxtrot also guaranteed that you wouldn’t go home with a dirge. It also labeled the song as current with the times, since everyone was dancing the foxtrot. (At least, it seems that way from the music that survives.)

Learn to Dance the Foxtrot Online

This Youtube video shows many different ways the foxtrot appeared through the Twenties. In a little over six minutes you can see the basics as well as some fancy foxtrot footwork, all from vintage clips.

Long, long, short-short… long, long, short-short. This step sequence helps to create the signature swaying movement that characterizes the foxtrot. However, you can start by simply taking one step after another: walk, walk, walk, walk. This video playlist shows you the basics and beyond, in 26 very short clips from the Sway Ballroom Dance studio.

If you need to learn to foxtrot in a very small space, try this video. In it a dance instructor leads you through a slow foxtrot in a very tight living room.

On the other hand, if you prefer more traditional instruction, this introduction by May I Have This Dance takes you from the beginning to a foxtrot promenade that glides you around the room.

Adding the foxtrot to your dance routine means you never have to sit along the wall at a Twenties dance party. Whether you gather with a few close friends for dinner and dancing at home, or attend a Twenties bash at a large venue, you will be well prepared with a good foxtrot. And if you’d like a few songs to trot to, you might want to check out this post on Twenties music hits.