Salsa is one of the most popular club/social dances in the world. It is primarily danced to Latin music with Afro-Cuban rhythms. The dance is characterized by rolling hip motion and body movement, as well as numerous, fast spins and turn patterns. Salsa is danced to music in 4/4 time, incorporating a basic counting pattern of 1, 2, 3 _5, 6, 7_
Originating in the Dominic Republic, Bachata is distinctive for its slower tempo music and its side to side movement with sharp hip motion on every fourth count of music. Bachata can be danced in a sexy embrace, usually with legs intertwining and close hip action, or it can be danced with plenty of space between partners and more focus on fancy, syncopated footwork. You and your partner choose your comfort level.
Cumbia is most popular at clubs where the music has Mexican and Columbian influences. It shares the same steps, patterns, and rhythm as Street-Style Salsa, only the styling is a little different. Cumbia has a distinctive lilt and grounded look which hint at its roots as a folk dance.
Merengue is considered a ‘walking’ dance, implementing a one-step-on-every-beat pattern. With simple, basic footwork and timing, it gives dancers the freedom to play with the music. One of the easiest to learn, this Latin dance can get fancy very quickly with intricate wraps and patterns.
Kizomba is a dance that has evolved from 1970s Angolan Semba dance. It is characterized by a slow, romantic, rhythm and danced to a more modern music genre with a sensual touch mixed with African rhythm and Haitian Compas.
Brazilian Zouk is a partner dance originating from Brazil. At first known as Zouk-Lambada, the dance is a descendant of Lambada, and it was danced to Lambada Music. Later on it was danced to Caribbean Zouk music, from where it got the name "Zouk". Today (2018), Brazilian Zouk is danced to a broad set of music styles, including R'n'b, hip hop, and pop music.
The Foxtrot is a smooth and elegant Ballroom dance that was a favorite of Fred and Ginger Rogers. It’s a versatile dance that can be danced to many different tempos and variety of music. Therefore, it’s a popular style to learn for a wedding dance or social events and dancing parties.
History of the Foxtrot
The exact origins of the Foxtrot remain unknown. However, a Vaudeville actor named Harry Fox who performed a variety act in New York City popularized the Foxtrot in 1914. Harry Fox was born with the name Arthur Carringford in 1882 in Pomona, California and was give then name of “Fox” after his grandfather.
At the age of 15, Fox was pushed to support himself and joined a circus for a short tour. For a brief time he also played professional baseball. Fox’s career developed further in San Francisco when a music publisher hired Fox to sing songs from the boxes of vaudeville theaters. In 1904, he appeared in a comedy titled “Mr. Frisky of Frisco” at the Belvedere Theatre. After San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake, Fox moved Eastward and landed in New York.
As Fox was getting his bearings on the East Coast, ragtime was born in 1910 and embraced across the United States. The dance was very different from previously popular and smoother ballroom waltz styles. Ragtime included partners dancing in a closer hold and improvising within the dances. Playful moves such as the kangaroo hop and turkey trop characterized this new dance style.
In 1914, Fox took the stage with his company of “American Beauties” in a New York theatre. Their dancing act was featured in between shows at the world’s largest movie house. One of their dancing acts included Henry trotting to ragtime music. The comical act was a hit and Fox’s “Trot” became popular in dance studios and dancing halls. It is believed that audiences tried to emulate Henry’s style of dance and called it “Fox’s trot.” In addition to this New York theater performance, the foxtrot gained momentum in the Jarin de Danse, which hosted a nightly revue.
At first, the Foxtrot had many short, “trotting” steps, as well as kicks, jumps and lunges. By the 1930s, the Foxtrot slowed down in tempo and dancers started taking longer steps and creating the elegant, continuous strides. When the dance migrated to Britain, ballroom experts smoothed the scampers, hops, and kicks out of Fox’s trot. This smoother version of the dance is much like the Foxtrot that is practiced today. Over time, the foxtrot split into quick and slow versions known as the “quickstep” and “foxtrot.” In the slower “foxtrot” version of the dance, International and American styles have distinguished the dance even further. It is used socially and popularly within ballroom dance competitions.
Foxtrot Dance Today
Today, the Foxtrot has evolved into a dance of social elegance and is celebrated by both the social dance circuit and competitive dance circuit.
In the competitive dance world, Foxtrot is found in both American Smooth and International Standard dance styles. International dancers often refer to Foxtrot as the “Slow Foxtrot.” This can lead people to think that Quick Step is the “Quick Foxtrot,” but Quickstep is really a dance of its own with aspects Foxtrot, Waltz, and other dances. In competitive American Smooth Foxtrot, dancers are allowed to dance in both open and closed frame positions. In competitive International Standard Foxtrot, dancers remain in a closed frame position.
In the social dance world, Foxtrot is more commonly found in dance studios, dance ballrooms, and venues featuring music for all the ballroom standards.
Today, the Foxtrot is easily recognizable because it was built off a foundation of simplistic walking steps and side steps. Slow steps and quick steps are utilized harmoniously in this dance. The slow steps use two beats of music and the quick steps use one beat of music. While dancing the Foxtrot, dancers strive to be completely smooth with no jerking movements and to have good timing. Often, it is recommended that new dancers learn the Waltz or Quickstep before learning the Foxtrot, as it is conceptualized as a more difficult dance.
A specific feature of the Foxtrot is the way dancers take long steps during the slower counts of music and shorter steps during the faster counts. The “trot” of this dance refers to the dancers shortening their steps as the music increases in tempo. Traditionally, the Foxtrot is danced to Big Band style music, however, many styles of music, including modern up –tempo songs and ballads, work well with the Foxtrot style dance. Today, contemporary pop music hits that work with the Foxtrot timing are just as popular for dancers as old Foxtrot classics.
Foxtrot dancing has caught the public eye as it was featured on National television on competitive reality shows such as “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” It’s also featured regularly on Brittan’s popular show “Strictly Come Dancing.” Foxtrot continues to be a ballroom dance standard and is a versatile favorite of both social and competitive dancers.