In 1914, husband and wife ballroom dance team Vernon and Irene Castle took notice of the dance, giving it a signature grace and style. The basis for the name “Foxtrot” is unclear, although one theory is that it took its name from the vaudeville actor Harry Fox who moved around the stage with a signature ‘slow step’. Two people credit African American dancers as the originators of the dance: Vernon Castle himself, and famed dance instructor Betty Lee.
Initially, the Foxtrot was danced to ragtime music. From the late teens through the 1940s, the foxtrot was the most common fast dance and the vast majority of records issued during these years were Foxtrots. While Tango, Waltz, and Lindy Hop remained popular, they never overtook the Foxtrot.
Over time, the Foxtrot split into slow and quick versions, referred to as “Foxtrot” and “Quickstep” respectively. In the slow category, the Social American style uses a slow-slow-quick-quick rhythm at a slightly faster pace than its English style counterpart.