(2011): The exact origin of the name of the dance is unclear,
although one theory often cited is that took its name from its inventor,
the vaudeville actor Harry Fox. The dance was premiered in 1914,
quickly catching the eye of the talented husband and wife duo Vernon
and Irene Castle, who lent the dance its signature grace and style.
W.C. Handy ("Father of the Blues") notes in his autobiography
that Noble Sissle told a story that Handy's Memphis Blues was the
inspiration for the Foxtrot. Jim Europe, the Castles' music director,
would play slowly the Memphis Blues during breaks from the fast paced
Castle Walk and One-step. The Castles were intrigued by the rhythm
and Jim asked why they didn't create a slow dance to go with it. The
Castles introduced the "Bunny Hug" in a magazine article.
They went abroad and in mid-ocean sent a wireless to the magazine
to change the "Bunny Hug" to the "Foxtrot."
It was later standardized by Arthur Murray, in whose version it began
to imitate the positions of Tango.
At its inception, the foxtrot was originally danced to ragtime. Today,
the dance is customarily accompanied by the same big band music to
which swing is also danced.
From the late teens through the 1940s, the foxtrot was certainly
the most popular fast dance and the vast majority of records issued
during these years were foxtrots. The waltz and tango, while popular,
never overtook the foxtrot. Even the popularity of the lindy hop in
the 1940s did not affect the foxtrot's popularity, since it could
be danced to the same records used to accompany the lindy hop.
When rock and roll first emerged in the early 1950s, record companies
were uncertain as to what style of dance would be most applicable
to the music. Notably, Decca Records initially labelled its rock and
roll releases as "foxtrots", most notably "Rock Around
the Clock" by Bill Haley and His Comets. Since that recording,
by some estimates, went on to sell more than 25 million copies, "Rock
Around the Clock" could be considered the biggest-selling "foxtrot"
of all time.
Over time, the foxtrot split into slow and quick versions, referred
to as "foxtrot" and "quickstep" respectively.
In the slow category, further distinctions exist between the International
or English style of the foxtrot and the continuity American style,
both built around a slow-quick-quick rhythm at the slowest tempo,
and the social American style using a slow-slow-quick-quick rhythm
at a somewhat faster pace. In the context of International Standard
category of ballroom dances, for some time the foxtrot was called
"Slow Foxtrot", or "Slowfox". These names are
still in use, to distinguish from other types of foxtrots.