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Dancesport - Slow Foxtrot

Domenico Soale - Gioia Cerasoli, Italy


Slow Foxtrot History
Slow Foxtrot Characteristics
Slow Foxtrot Interpretation
Couples to Observe
Slow Foxtrot Music
The next Dance, Quickstep
The previous Dance, Viennese Waltz


The Slow Foxtrot is often seen and positioned as the "Cornerstone" of the Ballroom Dances, some people say if you can dance the Slow Foxtrot well you have a mature foundation to Dance the other dances also well!!..... I agree with this statement for the "Swing and Flow" dances, not for the Tango and Quickstep!

Unlike the other dances the Slow Foxtrot did not change very much since its early developments. The construction of the dance consists of basic steps and variations are limited. In competitions many times great diversity is given to the dance which in my opinion is killing the true Slow Foxtrot character which is based on factors as Style, Elegance Grace, Balance, Movement and Rhythm.

You don't win the Slow Foxtrot with an exiting Choreography, you will win by showing the judges a high "quality" of movement over the Competition floor. Words I associate with the Slow Foxtrot are: Quality, Technical Skills, Harmony, Pure, ....... Think about it!!

Best Regards

Piet Rullens

Attention: This Information, may not be reproduced without our written permission signed: © Piet Rullens, Rullens Dance Consultancy 1996 all rights reserved For reactions and messages send your mail to:

Slow Foxtrot History

The Foxtrot was introduced in Europe just before World War 1, from its origin the Foxtrot was a passional dance with slow and quick movements, they say the name comes from a musical dancer Harry Fox. The European dance teachers were not enthusiastic about the "wild" character of the Foxtrot and started to polish it more. Between 1922 and 1929 Frank Ford, with whom Josephine Bradley used to give demonstrations, developed the basic movements of the Slow Foxtrot. With his interpretation he won the 1927 "Star Championships" with partner Molly Spain. Many of the figures they danced are still used by today's competitors.

Strict tempo music was not yet invented in those days. The Foxtrot could be played at anything from 40 to 50 Bars/min, and it is easy to guess how styles had to be rapidly altered according to who was conducting the band! But once "Victor Silvestor's band began recording the problem was solved.

Slow Foxtrot Characteristics

  • Character: Pure and Gracefull
  • Movement: Continuously, Progressive and Spatial, Straight well Aligned patterns
  • Timing: 4/4
  • Bars/min: 30 according the IDSF Rules
  • Accent: On beat 1 and 3
  • Competition: 1,5 - 2 minutes
  • Rise and Fall: Rise e/o 1, Up on 2, Up/Lower e/o 3
  • Dynamics: Flow and Spatial motions

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Slow Foxtrot Interpretation

The Slow Foxtrot is a dance with many continuously forward or backward moving patterns which are straight and well aligned on the competition floor. Due to the continuous and flowing character of the Slow Foxtrot its is difficult to produce a smoothly Rise and Fall. As a result of that, when dancing the Slow Foxtrot you should have a constant desire to use the muscles in a pliable manner so that the footwork and weight change is never spasmodic. When lowering, the rule that the Knee will absorb the body weight, by flexing, before the foot absorbs and lowers is essential to do.

The footwork should support the Body Swing ( Body firsts !) by "Pushing" from the supporting leg and "Pulling" when arriving on the moving leg. Some coaches explain that you should use your feet as "wheels" a fully agree with that but I prefer to explain the action (work) of those "wheels" as well. Champions are able to melt the pushing and pulling actions in the footwork seamless to each other, as a result they show....... a beautiful Slow Foxtrot movement.

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Couples to Observe

I have found my personal favourites and if you see the list than you see twice the name of "Loraine Barry", now the question is who produces the "Foxtrot quality" Loraine? or the Boys she is dancing with???
  • Andrew Sinkinson, when dancing with Loraine Barry
  • Marcus and Karin Hilton
  • Luca Barricchi and Loraine Barry

Slow Foxtrot Music

The CD's that flow into my mind when writing this page are the following:
  • "Witchcraft" Frank Sinatra.
  • "More" Nat King Cole.
  • "Cold Cold Heart" Nat King Cole