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The foxtrot is a smooth, progressive dance characterized by long, continuous flowing movements across the dance floor. It is danced to big band usually vocal music. The dance is similar in its look to waltz , although the rhythm is in a 4 4 time signature instead of 3 4. Developed in the s, the foxtrot reached its height of popularity in the s and remains practiced today.
The dance was premiered in , quickly catching the eye of the husband and wife duo Vernon and Irene Castle , who lent the dance its signature grace and style. The origin of the name of the dance is unclear, although one theory is that it took its name from its popularizer, the vaudeville actor Harry Fox. Castle saw the dance, which "had been danced by negroes, to his personal knowledge, for fifteen years, [at] a certain exclusive colored club".
Handy "Father of the Blues" notes in his autobiography that his " The Memphis Blues " was the inspiration for the foxtrot.
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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 what they then called the "Bunny Hug" in a magazine article. Shortly after, they went abroad and, in mid-ocean, sent a wireless to the magazine to change the name of the dance from "Bunny Hug" to the "Foxtrot.
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At its inception, the foxtrot was originally danced to ragtime. From the late s through the s, the foxtrot was 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 s 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 s, record companies were uncertain as to what style of dance would be most applicable to the music.
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.
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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. Three distinct styles of slow foxtrot are in common use among ballroom dancers today: All three are partner dances in which the dancers progress around the dance floor in a counter-clockwise direction and are danced to much the same music.
However, they differ significantly in technique, positions, and figures. The American Social Style      was, and to some extent still is, widely employed in the United States as a social and party dance. It is particularly well suited to dancing in a crowded room, by partners who may or may not know each other well, and who may or may not have had much formal training in dance. Its defining feature is that the dancers close their feet at the end of almost every figure, as opposed to passing their feet as in the other two styles.
Dance in the ancient world
As a result, the dancers progress fairly slowly around the room, and some figures can even be danced in place. Furthermore, almost every figure begins in much the same position, with the two partners facing each other squarely in the closed position and the man starting on his left foot.
Since each figure leads so easily and consistently in the next, it is fairly easy for the leader to string multiple figures together on the fly in an ever-changing sequence. Body contact is unnecessary and not generally expected; all figures can be led through the frame formed by the arms.
Hence, the potential social awkwardness of body contact between partners who do not know each other well is avoided. As American Social Style is the only style allowed in bronze beginner level American Style dance competition, this style is sometimes also known as "American Bronze Foxtrot".
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The American Social style uses both six-count and eight-count figures. The rhythmic alteration between the two is one of the few potential difficulties in the dance. Syncopation is generally avoided. Today the Viennese waltz is a ballroom and partner dance that is part of the International Standard division of contemporary ballroom dance. The Viennese waltz, so called to distinguish it from the waltz and the French waltz , is the oldest of the current ballroom dances.
At that time, the waltz, as described in a magazine from , was performed by dancers who held on to their long gowns to prevent them from dragging or being stepped on. The dancers would lift their dresses and hold them high like cloaks, and this would bring both their bodies under one cover. This action also required the dancers' bodies to be very close together, and this closeness attracted moral disparagement.
Large dance halls like the Zum Sperl in and the Apollo in were opened to provide space for thousands of dancers. The dance reached and spread to England sometime before It was introduced as the German waltz and became a huge hit. Initially, the waltz was significantly different from its form today. In the first place, the couples did not dance in the closed position as today. Arms were intertwined and circling movements were made under raised arms.
No couple in Wilson's plate are shown in close embrace, but some are in closed hold facing each other. Another significant difference from the present technique was that the feet were turned out and the rise of foot during the dance was much more pronounced.
This can be seen quite clearly in the figure, and such a style imposes its limitations on how the dance can be performed. To understand why Quirey says "The advent of the Waltz in polite society was quite simply the greatest change in dance form and dancing manners that has happened in our history"  we need to realize that all European social dances before the waltz were communal sequence dances — communal, because all the dancers on the floor took part in a preset pattern often chosen by a master of ceremony.
Dancers separately, and as couples, faced outwards to the spectators as much as they faced inwards. Thus all present took part as dancers or as onlookers. This was the way with the country dance and all previous popular dances. You ponder the big decisions — should I offer to help pay? Your anxiety about dating is exacerbated by the commonly voiced wisdom that the first relationship you have after the end of a long-term relationship is doomed — and when it breaks up, it may hurt even more than the failed marriage.
Usually this has something to do with what you are working out about the failed relationship. Often it has to do with defects in your selection mechanism — like the duck who, emerging from an egg, sees a mother dog and concludes he must be a dog. You listen attentively to the sadder-but-wiser man who says of his experience on the singles scene: They are reinforced in this crazy belief by doctors who say aging heterosexual yuppies have statistically little chance of getting AIDS. A gorgeous man who takes you dancing explains that men have problems too: One Saturday night you go to a movie alone, despite the certain knowledge that everyone in the theater will look at you with pity — and you find that it is not so bad.
The beautiful couple you saw walking in together sits down behind you and resumes bickering about something they have obviously bickered about before, and you realize that life as a single person might be a real choice, not the booby prize or a holding position. Sills describes love as a blue-plate special — if you order the turkey and gravy, you must take the mashed potatoes; if you order the roast beef, you must take the peas and rice — there are no substitutes.
The group was founded by Carol Randolph to help people get through that difficult first year of separation, to work through the issues involved in separation and divorce and learn how to develop more satisfying relationships. A nonprofit support group for men and women, New Beginnings offers several weekly small-group discussions where members can swap war stories, practical advice and sympathy and form new friendships.
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