The whole idea of “gothic foxtrot” got me thinking and i started exploring the Foxtrot to see if i could incorporate it into the track i discussed needing to make for Act 3.
The problem, aside from the fact that i came up with an idea yesterday and want to try it out before anything else, is that the Foxtrot is not a musical style. It’s a style of dance, and from it’s inception in 1914 (by Vaudeville actor Harry Fox, hence the Fox-trot) it has been danced to many, many different forms of music, from big band to rock and roll. Actually, the single “rock around the clock” which put rock and roll on the map once and for all and became the anthem of the 50s, was released by the record label Decca Records as a foxtrot.
However, a little foray into the style certainly won’t hurt anyone.
In May of 1914 The New York Theater converted into a movie house and in addition, turned it’s roof into a little mini dance club. They hired Harry Fox and his company (American Beauties) to perform live in the actual theater, in between the various film clips. It worked well and business thrived.
Harry would also dance on the roof, and he started doing trotting steps to ragtime music which he would then incorporate into his downstairs theater act. The dance became a sensation and made it’s way to Europe. It was far and wide the most popular dance of Weimar era Germany.
The dance has both slow and fast steps which made it malleable to any song and rhythm. This became key as big bands became more and rhythmically oriented. Eventually the dance split into a slow and fast version. The slow variation is the one usually performed in ballroom dance circuits and competitions today.
The steps are such that the dance can be danced in a very tight spot. This was a huge plus, since partner dancing in clubs to big bands was so popular that the amount of space one had to dance in was becoming more and more tight.
The foxtrot reigned supreme until rock and roll came and did away with dances that had pre ordained steps.
Evetually all that’s left is the slow foxtrot, the relation of which to quick foxtrot i can’t for the life of me see. But the slow one involves travelling and certainly, ballroom dancing today is all about showcasing and grandstanding (literally) so it demands that it’s dancers be as wide and sweeping as possible.