A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 22, 2019
Foxtrot (dance)

The “foxtrot” (or “fox trot") is a dance that has long, continuous flowing movements across the dance floor. The term “fox trot”—how a fox walks—had been used in the 19th century, and the dance became nationally popular in 1914.

The originators of the dance had long been thought to have been the husband-and-wife dance team of Vernon Castle (1887-1918) and Irene Castle (1893-1969). The Castles did take up the dance in the summer of 1914, but there is no evidene that they originated it. American vaudeville dancer, actor, and comedian Harry Fox (1882-1959) was credited in November 1923 newspapers ("The Fox trot was invented in 1914 by a New York vaudeville dancer named Fox"), but there is no evidence in 1914 that credits him.

“Kent and Warner Originate a New Dance, ‘The Fox Trot’” was a headline in the New York (NY) Clipper on July 18, 1914. Billy Kent and Jeanette (sometimes spelled “Jeannette") Warner were frequently credited, in 1914 and 1915, as the originators of the fox trot.

African-American composer, conductor, orchestrator, and arranger Will Vodery (1885-1951) wrote “Carolina Fox Trot” (1914) to accompany the dance.


Wikipedia: Foxtrot
The foxtrot is a smooth, progressive dance characterized by long, continuous flowing movements across the dance floor. It is danced to big band (usually vocal) music. The dance is similar in its look to waltz, although the rhythm is in a 4
4 time signature instead of 3 4. Developed in the 1910s, the foxtrot reached its height of popularity in the 1930s and remains practiced today.

History
The dance was premiered in 1914, quickly catching the eye of the husband and wife duo Vernon and Irene Castle, who lent the dance its signature grace and style. The origin of the name of the dance is unclear, although one theory is that it took its name from its popularizer, the vaudeville actor Harry Fox. Two sources, Vernon Castle and dance teacher Betty Lee, credit African American dancers as the source of the foxtrot. Castle saw the dance, which “had been danced by negroes, to his personal knowledge, for fifteen years, [at] a certain exclusive colored club”.

Wikipedia: Will Vodery
Will Vodery (October 8, 1885 – November 18, 1951) was an African-American composer, conductor, orchestrator, and arranger, and one of the few black Americans of his time to make a name for himself as a composer on Broadway, working largely for Florenz Ziegfeld.

He had offices at the Gaiety Theatre office building in Times Square.
(...)
Compositions and arrangements
. Carolina Fox Trot (1914), for solo piano

(Oxford English Dictionary)
fox-trot, n.
A modern dance, of American origin, consisting chiefly of alternating measures of long and short steps; also, a piece of music suitable as an accompaniment for the fox-trot.
1915 Truth 17 Mar. 1/5 A new dance, the ‘Fox-trot’, a relation of..‘Ragtime’.
1915 Victor Record Catal. May Dance records… Fox trots.

16 July 1914, The Daily Standard Union (Brooklyn, NY), pg. 2, col. 3:
ADMIRAL DEWEY LIKES NEW DANCE STEPS
Admiral George E. Dewey, who is spending a month at the Oriental Hotel, Manhattan Beach, expressed himself yesterday at being delighted by the new dances. The Admiral and Mrs. Dewey watched exhibitions of the maxixe and fox trot at the Wednesday afternoon dansant. Admiral Dewey, following the exhibition, promised that he and Mrs. Dewey would attend the Saturday dance.

Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection
18 July 1914, New York (NY) Clipper, pg. 14, col. 2:
KENT AND WARNER ORIGINATE A NEW DANCE, “THE FOX TROT.”
Jeanette Warner, late of the High Jinks Co., and Billy Kent, the classiest and best dressed of all America s professional trotters and holder of more championship cups than any other dancer in America, have, together, originated a new step. “The Fox Trot,” which threatens to prolong the life of the dancing craze indefinitely.

The new step must be seen to be appreciated, as It not easy of description although grace and simplicity Itself when well-performed. Kent and Warner have placed themselves under the management of the well known entertainment manager Sigmund Werner, who has already arranged for their appearance In October as an added feature with a Broadway musical attraction. In the meantime, in order to accept a few high class vaudeville dates, they are compelled to cancel the balance of their Summer society engagements at Narragansett, Bar Harbor and Newport. They are also the recipients of a flattering offer from prominent European managers now in this country to appeare ln Nice. Monte Carlo, Paris and St. Petersburg next year.

“The Carolina Fox Trot,” composed by Will Vodrey, in honor of the originators of the new step, will be dedicated to Kent and Warner and issued to the public, simultaneously in England and America, by the Stern people next week, they having purchased all rights .

OCLC WorldCat record
Carolina fox trot : new one-step
Author: Will H Vodery; André C De Takacs
Publisher: N.Y. : Jos. W. Stern & Co., [1914] ©1914.
Edition/Format: Musical score : No Linguistic Content

19 July 1914, Brooklyn (NY) Citizen, “Theatrical Notes,” pg. 16, col. 2:
The Madison Square Roof Garden begins its eighth successful week of the summer season to-morrow evening. Miss Peggy Le Brune and Jose Hess will introduce the new dance called the “double shuffle” this week. Other experts will give exhibitions of the “fox trot,” “poggy glide” and many other new dances.

26 July 1914, Brooklyn (NY) Citizen, pg. 16, col. 3:
Two new dances have been introduced at the Castles’ Summer House. One is the “Fox Trot,” while the other is the latest importation from Paris, called “The Lu Lu Fardo.” The various steps of the new dances are shown by Miss Edith Hinz, Miss Marie Newton, Sterling Pile, Dart Thorne and Benton Grace.

26 July 1914, Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle, Sporting sec., pg. 8, col. 6 ad:
MODERN DANCES
Taught Privately.
G. Hepburn Wilson, M. B.
(...)
Tango
Fox Trot
Maxixe
Waltz-Hesitation
half and Half
Pavlowa Gavotte
La Furlana
Lu Lu Fado
One-Step

28 July 1914, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, pg. 6, col. 3:
NEW DANCING CARNIVAL.
The Jardin de Dance at the Forrest Theatre Proves Attractive
(...)
Four couple demonstrate the new dances and last night each received deserved applause. They were Eddy and Earle, John Marrone and Girlie Evans, Charles Marks and Betty Parker and Billy Kent and Jeannette Walker, who were featured in “High Jinks,” and who presented their own creation, the “Fox Trot.”

31 July 1914, Variety (New York, NY), “Philadelphia” by John Burnes, pg. 23, col. 4:
Against this back ground appeared Billy Kent and Jeanette Warner, late of “High Jinks,” introducing the “Fox Trot.”

18 August 1914, Reading (PA) News-Times, pg. 5, col. 7:
RIVALRY OVER THE CONTEST DANCE
(...)
Inside of a few days the dance lovers of this community have actually become fox trot crazy. This new dance was brought to Reading by the originators of the step, Miss Jeanette Warner and Billy Kent, who give exhibition dances every evening at the Palais, and which feature is one of the great attractions of the refined and charming dance garden. The fox trot is the one modern dance from which the dancers can get more real, wholesome, jolly good fun than they have been able to have in dancing since the days of the barn dance. The steps of the fox trot are by no means intricate, and it takes but a short time for dancers to become quite proficient. Every night the fox trot dances cause more enthusiasm than any of the other dances.

5 November 1914, Alaska Daily Empire (Juneau, AK), pg. 3, col. 6:
EXHIBITION DANCE AROUSES CURIOSITY
(...)
The Fox Trot is an American dance, made popular by Billy Kent and Jeannette Warner.

16 February 1915, New York (NY) Times, pg. 18, col. 4 ad:
The Great International Team of Society Dancers
MISS JEANNETTE WARNER,
Creator of the “Fox Trot,”
Formerly Star in
“High Jinks.”

18 July 1915, The Billboard (Cincinnati, OH), pg. 5, cols. 2-3:
STERN & CO.’s “FOX TROT.”
New York, July 11.—Joseph W. Stern & Co., who have made thousands from the prevailing dance craze while other music publishers have been losing money on “pop” songs, have captured another dance innovation in the music of The Fox Trot, an invention of Jeanette Werner, one of the belles of New York’s dancedom. Will Vodrey has composed special music, and Stern & Co. will issue it for ballroom and stage purposes July 15. Professionals may get orchestrations by mentioning The Billboard and addressing J. W. Stern & Co., 106 West Thirty-eighth street, New York City.

9 September 1915, Allentown (PA) Leader, pg. 1, col. 8:
FOX TROT ORIGINATOR WILL DANCE HERE
Allentown will see the interpretation of Europe’s sensational dance craze, “The Artist’s Dream,” for the first time Friday night, Sept. 24, in the Central Dancing Academy, when Billy Kent, late of the High Jinks Company, will dance with Myrtle Bennethem of Reading and New York, known as “America’s Lady Richardson.” Mr. Kent’s visit will be of rare interest to dance lovers as he originated the Ball Room Fox Trot.

3 April 1918, Spokane (WA) Daily Chronicle, pg. 13, col. 2:
HE’S THE MAN WHO INVENTED THE FOX TROT
Jack Clifford Also Introduced Mr. and Mrs. Castle to Public.—Orpheum Star.
Jack Clifford, who invented the one-step and the fox trot and introduced Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Castle to the public (at a salary of $35 a week), never saw the inside of a school—as a student, at least.

18 April 1921, St. Louis (MO) Star, “Everybody’s Column,” pg. 12, col. 7:
The fox-trot did not come from the jungle but from a professional dancer by the name of Fox.

19 November 1923, Buffalo (NY) Evening Times, “Questions and Answers From Washington,” pg. 14, col. 5:
Q. What is the connection between the Fox trot and foxes?
A. The Fox trot was invented in 1914 by a New York vaudeville dancer named Fox, and the selection of steps was arranged by him quite independently of anything zoological.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • Monday, July 22, 2019 • Permalink