Why Your Arthur Murray Teacher Recommends the Foxtrot
We are going to explore different dances that your dance teacher may suggest for your development. In this article we are going to explore the dance that usually breaks the seal on your very first dance lesson:
Now, this dance may not have the same "street cred" as popular nightclub dances like the Salsa or Bachata, but we will explore some of the reasons why it is still vital to any aspiring social dancer.
So let's dive in and get a better idea for why your Arthur Murray instructor suggested it, some important benefits to learning the dance, and some common misconceptions that will help you make an informed choice going forward.
Foxtrot: The Benefits of the Dance
1. Talking and Dancing
The Foxtrot puts the "social" in social dancing. This isn't just some splashy marketing headline for the dance. One of the primary superpowers of the Foxtrot is talking and dancing. This type of multi-tasking is much more challenging in other dances, so the Foxtrot is the way to go to make your dancing more social.
2. Practical and Adaptable
With the Foxtrot, there will never be another wedding reception, reunion, office party, or dinner dance where you won't be able to get up and dance. Foxtrot is as adaptable as it is easy to do, so it scores big in the practical department.
Being able to dance is one thing, but learning how to maneuver around a crowded dance floor (also known as "floorcraft") is another great benefit of the Foxtrot. This is the dance that can teach you the ins and outs of dancing through traffic.
4. The Great Metamorphosis
There is no other dance that will evolve as much as the Foxtrot. Through your Bronze 1 & 2 levels, it is a fun, yet sophisticated, complement to Swing. Once it reaches the Bronze 3 & 4, however, it transforms into something like a jazzy Waltz. The best part? You can intermix both feelings of the dance to demonstrate your own creative combination of patterns.
5. Leading and Following
With a vast array of patterns built around basic North, South, East and West movements, the Foxtrot is like the dance equivalent of driving in a parking lot to practice for your driver's test. There are so many great skills that can be developed through this dance and carried over into others.
Foxtrot: Integrations to Other Dances
Any dancer with Foxtrot in their program will see an immediate benefit in the other dances they enjoy. Here are some quick examples to look for.
At the height of the Swing era, the Foxtrot (sometimes referred to as "the walk") would be the dance people would use to cool down and relax. The music for both dances is interchangeable and gives any aspiring Swing dancer a great alternative to
Spoiler alert! One of the coolest, and unexpected, moments on your first dance lesson at Arthur Murray is finding the connection between the Foxtrot and Tango. With just a slight change in the dance element recipe, you'll see that the two dances are closer than you might think.
While the Foxtrot does morph into something very Waltz-like in the Full Bronze, that doesn't mean you can't find some Waltz vibes in the early stages of your Foxtrot. In fact, the Foxtrot can help develop the stride in your walking steps in the Waltz as well as help make clearer changes of direction.
Not to mention, they both have a box step.
4. Other Dance Styles
If you've ever admired the "soft-shoe" movements of Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, or Ginger Rogers - you were seeing many movements and patterns from the Foxtrot. Those timeless dance moves take time and technique, but Foxtrot is the vehicle that can deliver that feeling.
Foxtrot: Important Facts
Learning how to talk and dance is one of the most important skills in social dancing, and the Foxtrot is the dance that teaches it the quickest.
We refer to the Foxtrot as "the first impression dance" because you can size up a lot about someone's dance ability in the Foxtrot.
The Foxtrot Magic Step has the same shape as the Knight in chess (two forward, one side).
The Foxtrot has remained relevant for over 100 years because of it's ease of use and practical application to any dance environment.
In competitive dancing, the Foxtrot is seen as "the great equalizer" as it helps to reveal a lot about the couple's creativity, feel for the music, and overall expression on the dance floor.
The Foxtrot is like a romantic comedy for a lot of people. You hate it in the beginning and then fall in love with it in the long run.
If this were a fable, the Foxtrot would be the tortoise and any dance craze would be the hare. Whether it was the Latin dance craze of the 50's, the twist, the hustle, lambada or Salsa - Foxtrot has continued to move slow, slow, quick quick in the background.
It may not seem flashy, it may never be as popular, but it will always be one thing: Reliable.
So if your teacher has suggested the Foxtrot in your dance program, just know that it is not, in any way, meant to replace something hot and sexy like the Cha-Cha or Salsa.
It's to give you a dance you can always count on when the music gets jazzy, or the event is a little more formal, or if you just might benefit from putting a little more "social" in your dancing.