Foxtrot is known as the “Dancer’s Dance” because it requires great skill to make it look so easy. Not only is it a challenge for some dancers, but the music is loved by many worldwide. For that reason, a common question is, “What is the difference between American and International Foxtrot styles?”
Let’s take a look at the elements of each Foxtrot style.
Frame refers to how partners hold each other. That is, a supportive and solid frame is the way a leader shows direction and a follower responds. This is true for all partner dancing.
Footwork is how you use your feet to show the characteristic style of the dance. For example, because Foxtrot is a traveling dance, the feet are used to rhythmically travel across the floor.
As far as the timing goes, Foxtrot uses Slows and Quicks, with the Slow taking 2 beats of music and the Quick taking 1. Furthermore, both styles freely use syncopated or split beats to express the music.
A figure is a step or pattern. Interestingly, the International and American Foxtrot styles share some figures. Sometimes the name is the same, such as the Weave. Other times the moves are the same, but the name is different. For instance, the Open Left Turn in American and the leader’s part of a Reverse Turn with a Feather Finish in International are the same.
Here are the 3 main differences between American and International Foxtrot styles.
American style allows open work where partners separate from each other. On the other hand, in International Foxtrot the couple keeps contact with each other throughout the dance.
The recommended tempo for American Foxtrot is 120-136 Beats Per Minute. This is slightly faster than International Foxtrot’s 112-120 BPM.
Expression or Feeling of Each Foxtrot Style
Sassy and sexy would describe American style, while smooth and sleek is more the International style. Take a look at this lovely International Foxtrot performance.
Here’s a thought, why don’t you ask your instructor about the Foxtrot. Whether you dance the highly technical International or the jazzy, good-time American, you’re gonna be glad you did.
If you need help deciding to learn ballroom dancing, check out this Dance Safari post, “Learn How to Dance…Yea or Nay?“