Foxtrop dance step is named by Henry Fox, a vaudeville dancer, and comedian. It is believed that Fox was the first to use the “slow step”. Around 1912, during the period of ragtime, the first freestyle use of the “slow step”became popular. This marked a completely new phase of ballroom dancing where partners danced closer together and adlibbed to the new and exhilarating music. Prior to this time, The Polka, the One-Step and the Waltz were popular and dances partners were held at arm’s length. A set pattern was also characteristic of these dances.

In 1915 changes took place, Melodic “pop” songs were written. Popular tunes such as “Oh, You Beautiful Doll” and “Ida” were the smash hits of that time. Quickly, the public began to appreciate the change to a smoother, more rhythmic style of music. From 1917 up to today, Dancers have placed an accent on smoother dancing and individualized expression. In 1960, an international style of dancing was making its way into the U.S. ballrooms. American Foxtrot implemented many of those techniques into its dance style. Today, what makes the difference between the both styles is that the international style Foxtrot is danced entirely in contact, maintaining the normal dance hold, while the American style allows for complete freedom of expression utilizing various dance holds and positions.

Most figures of the dance have sophisticated feeling and are designed for the larger ballroom floor.