How to Dance the Fox Trot - Father Daughter Wedding Dance

Father and Daughter Fox Trot
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If you are one of those dads who feels a little intimidated or anxious about having to dance, then this very basic instruction in how to perform the fox trot dance will be helpful. My son is an expert ballroom dancer and has danced on a nationally ranked high school ballroom team, so he is not at all concerned; in fact, he loves to dance. So we worked on trying to find an easy way to describe this versatile dance step.

About the Fox Trot

The Fox Trot is a very versatile dance step and works with many of the classic wedding dances and social dances from artists like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole.  It was made popular in the 1920's by Harry Fox (hence the name).  It has been refined over the decades, but still has the stylistic elements of its early beginnings.  When you watch some of the old dance movies with Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers or Gene Kelly, you will see the Fox Trot in action.

The Basics

This is a step which can be used for music with a 4/4 beat, usually at a tempo of 30 to 34 measures per minute.  If you think about most of the big band or smooth jazz music in a 4/4 beat, that will give you the general idea of the tempo of the dance.  The basic step is a forward movement first, followed by a backward movement (for the leading man).

How to Do the Basic Fox Trot Step

1. You begin this dance in the basic ballroom position.

You and your partner stand together facing one another. Your right hand, dad, is on her waist or on her back shoulder blade and your left hand is raised up and her left hand is in it. Then her right hand is on your left shoulder and resting lightly on your left arm. You've seen it a hundred times in movies.

Your partner will mirror your movements.

2. On the first beat, step forward slowly with your left foot, and then step forward with your right foot, passing your left foot just like you were walking. Your partner, of course, will be stepping backward first with her right foot, then back another step with her left foot.

3. Then, move your left foot quickly to the left and then quickly slide your right foot beside it. Again, your partner will be mirroring your movements. At the end of this move you should be facing one another like you were at the beginning, only forward and left one step.

4. Now, we begin the man's backward step. You will step back slowly with your left foot, then slowly back with your right foot passing the left one.

5. Then you will step left quickly and slide your right foot quickly next to it.

So, with the fox trot you take your forward and back steps slowly and your side steps quickly.

If you would like to see a good video of the basic fox trot step, visit the Fox Trot page to be able to visualize this dance step.

The Fox Trot is a very versatile dance step for many dance songs used at weddings, proms and other events. Mastering this step, and then adding variations will help you survive and actually enjoy many dancing events.