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Perhaps this is the most playful dance of the Standard ones. Some may mistake its rhythm with the one of Jive but the real, the classical Quickstep could not be mistaken...

Quickstep - a short history of the dance


Beat: 4/4.
Temp: 50-52 measures per minute.
Count: "1 - 2 - 3 - 4" (or "slow - quick" in different variations).
Developed around 1923.

The Quickstep evolved in the 1920s from a combination of the Foxtrot, Charleston, Shag, Peabody and One Step. This dance is English in origin and was standardized in 1927. The Quickstep now is quite separate from the Foxtrot. Unlike the modern Foxtrot, the man often closes his feet, and syncopated steps are regular occurrences as was the case in early Foxtrot.

There was a debate as to why this dance became so popular in Britain. It has been thought that the Quickstep was Brit's answer to keeping warm indoors during the winter.

In the twenties many bands played the slow-Foxtrot too fast. Eventually they developed into two different dances. The slow-Foxtrot tempo was slowed down and Quickstep became the fast version of the Foxtrot.
1925 began the Charleston fever, it had a lot of influence on the development of the Quickstep. The English developed the Quickstep from the original Charleston as a progressive dance without kicks and mixed in the fast Foxtrot. They called this dance "the QuickTime Foxtrot and Charleston".
At the 'Star' Championships of 1927, the English couple Frank Ford and Molly Spain danced a version of the QuickTime Foxtrot and Charleston without the characteristic Charleston knee actions and made it a dance for two instead of a solo.

It has been in the group of the Standard dances since 1927.

By the end of the 20th century the speed of Quickstep as done by advanced dancers has increased even more, due to the extensive use of steps with eighth note durations. While in older times quickstep patterns were counted with "quick" (one beat) and "slow" (two beats) steps, many advanced patterns today are cued with split beats, such as "quick-and-quick-and-quick-quick-slow".
Main difference between Foxtrot and Quickstep is that in the second one the use of sincopated steps is almost compulsory. In some figures the dance may also look like English Waltz (danced in 3/4 time while the Foxtrot is done in 4/4).

Note that there was a 19th century Quickstep, which was a march-like dance and has no relation to the modern ballroom step.

Competitions in America do not include the Quickstep but there are social groups who dance it regularly in bars and clubs.

Apparently there are several levels of interpretation: a sparkling dance for youthful dancers, a more refined nobility for middle-aged dancers, and a more reserved, choice choreography for older dancers.

Rich with variations, the Quickstep is considered The Pocket Grammar of standard dances. Main reasons for that are:

  • while the basic figures are quite simple, the tempo of the music and the whole character of the dance seem to invite a carefree interpretation of its bright rhythm;
  • it is a proven fact that the energy exerted while dancing a 60 second Quickstep is equivalent to running a mile in record time;
  • experienced dancers' level of performing and interpretating the Foxtrot is often considered impossable by beginners.

On a Standard competiton this dance is performed last - after the Foxtrot.

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