Ballroom Dance

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v Foxtrot

It is fairly certain that this dance dates to 1914, when Harry Fox invented it for a stage routine. It became so popular that he started teaching it as a social dance. The main difference with respect to earlier dances was its alternation of quick and slow steps. (VE)

The 1920s fox trot mixed walking steps and two-steps (a two-step from the 1900s through the 1920s was a step-close-step) in a wide variety of combinations. 1920s dance manuals consist mainly of fox trot variations. The 1920s fox trot also incorporated the milder tango steps such as simple dips, box steps, and so on. It is smoother than the 1910s fox trot. One interesting thing is that some 1920s fox trot variations cross musical measures; dancers followed the beat rather than the measure. After all, you can fill up any odd number of beats with walking steps. [Frances Grimble ]

This was the dance the Hobart College _Herald_ disgustedly called a "syncopated embrace." And the Cincinnati _Catholic Telegraph_ wrote: "The music is sensous, the embracing of partners--the female only half-dressed--is absolutely indecent; and the motions--they are such as may not be described, with any respect for propriety, in a family newspaper. Suffice it to say that there are certain houses appropriate for such dances; but those houses have been closed by law."

In the 1920s, this "new style of dancing" was denounced in "family" publications as "impure, polluting, corrupting, debasing, destroying spirituality, increasing carnality," and decent folk were called upon to "raise the spiritual tone of these dreadful young people." [Holly Gallup ]

This file is part of the FAQ list for the newsgroup The FAQ list is being maintained by Victor Eijkhout (victor at eijkhout dot net, talk about vanity), who appreciates being sent additions or corrections on the material in this collection. Copyright 1994/5/6/7/8/9/2000 lies with the maintainer and the contributors of various parts.

Listen up: Victor did not write most of this stuff; he just collected it. So don't send him any dance questions.

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Last modified on: 2000, Monday May 8.