American Style Foxtrot
Commonly referred to as "the most popular social dance", the Foxtrot is both the easiest to pick up and the hardest to master. The dance is credited to one Harry Fox, a vaudeville performer who used it in his act.
Today, the Foxtrot is danced to popular standards such as those of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett; it is versatile enough of a dance, however, that it can be done to anything from fast country-western music to slow Tangos. While it's obviously best to be able to do the correct dance to its respective music, the Foxtrot is a staple of the social dancer's repetoire and can be relied upon when all else fails.
Technically, Foxtrot is classified as a "Smooth" dance in the American style, or a "Standard" or "Modern" dance in the International style. This means that it progresses along the line of dance, or counter-clockwise around the floor. It is also characterized by its continuity, as well as rotation and a rhythmic rise and fall.
In the American style, the Bronze level of Foxtrot is distinguished from the higher levels by chasse figures that require a closing of the feet after side steps; in the Silver and higher levels, a "continuity style" is applied that results in greater movement and fluidity.
The International style at one time had two Foxtrots, slow and fast; today, the fast Foxtrot is known as Quickstep and is considered a seperate dance.
The popular country-western dance known as Two-Step is also a variation on the Foxtrot.