Atlanta Foxtrot Lesson Notes

          Every so often you have a major cognition in your life. This is true with dancing, too. I have had two major cognitions in Foxtrot which have completely changed the way I dance it. First of all, there is a definite rhythmic settling of the body downward at the end of each of the four steps. Wayne Abbey pointed this out to Linda and me and it resulted in a number of better understandings of this dance. Previously, I was so worried about keeping the beat and moving that I completely missed this point. There is also a definite settling/stopping that signals to your dance partner that something new is coming. The definite rhythmic settling keeps both partners in synchronisation and allows a much better lead. It also allows the forward compression to come from a "bent knee" upward forward movement. Remember, Foxtrot is danced with bent knees.

          After the definite rhythmic settling there is a pulse like forward movement which Virginia Coker called a "forward compression". It's like a bullet shot into water. The bullet moves fast when it hits the water but continually slows down because of the water's resistance. The beginning of each four steps is like a new bullet. The definite rhythmic setting along with the forward compression and full forward movement gives your Foxtrot a professional look. It's worth practicing these movements with the basic steps over and over until they become automatic habits. This is something that I would have never been interested in doing when I first started dancing. With experience and with some confidence a gentle swaying at the end of each step can be added.

USA Dance 04/11/10 PJ

          The woman's underarm "chaines turn" is on the quick quick, half a turn on the first quick and completed in the second quick. The man must be aware of this. The man's arm leads the turn while the man stays slightly ahead of the woman. The legs are in front or back of the body so that the body does not tilt. It's important to keep your head out of the woman's space. We learned several simple steps and then a Fortrot weave.

Josh Jones August 8, 2010

The movement of the Foxtrot is smooth and continuous. Many dancers hesitate between movements perhaps because they keep straight legs. The forward movement of the leg begins with a twisting forward hip movement and you fall into the movement. The initial forward movement of the Foxtrot is flat. The knees are bent and flexed. You should feel a little bit low or bent at first. As a beginner you often get to the end of the figure too early since you keep the legs straight.

Some of the time spent is flexing the hips and with precise movements. After the heel placement the toe should not touch the floor until the moving traveling leg brushes aside the supporting leg. This requires a lot of ankle strength to hold the foot extended while the opposite leg moves toward it. You can actually do exercises to strengthen your ankles.

Josh Jones September 21, 2010

Do NOT create artificial and exaggerated sway. Your head should remain on properly above your spine. Hold your head slightly forward and to the left and keep it there. The Sway step can be done open or closed. The open can be stylized better. Slow Slow Quick Quick is the timing.
Just as with a Promenade you move to the left and close before doing the next step. The same is true with the Sway step. Do a regular Promenade and then sway to the left (S) then sway to the right (S). The next part of this open variation is a woman's underarm turn with the man styling his arm. Move side to side at the hip and let the body react. The woman's turn is on the quick quick. The beginning of the turn the man raises his arm on his left sidewards movement and closes his right leg together to finish the figure. I have an unfortunately habit of going back to the right. WRONG!

Practice head positioning in the mirror until you get it right all of the time and automatically.

Amber Reich November 2, 2010

He goes she goes! Smaller steps when the woman is turning around you. Curve your foot back to allow the woman to pass without interference on the natural foxtrot turn.

USA Dance Jarrod and Cara Dominick February 12, 2011

Foxtrot Sequence
Open Left Turn: Twinkle: Check and open: Step and Rest : Free Spin (Female/counterclockwise Male/Clockwise): Free Spin/Right Chasse (Female/clockwise Male/Right Chasse): Close
Step and Rest Details: Left foot foward, Right leg forward and to the side, Left Leg close to the side and settle onto the left leg

Sven Juur Daza Waltz/Foxtrot February 2011
Twinkle - Open Side to Side - [Woman's wrap - man moves forward] - [Unwrap - man moves forward]- Back twinkle - Forward Close
Twinkle - Open side to side- forward close together patty cake - Forward tandem turn - Back twinkle - Forward close

          By the way, did I mention I was a dentist? If you need an Atlanta dancing dentist who loves creating beautiful smiles and making people happy, please visit my dental website at If you have any questions about dance or dentistry, please email me at

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