Posted by on Jun 8, 2018 in Blogs

history of the quickstep

If you enjoy professional or amateur ballroom dance, you surely have been thrilled by a lightning-fast quickstep routine. Even if you have only glanced at a reality show about dancing, quickstep is undeniably one of the most eye-catching dance styles. If you are curious about the history of quickstep, keep reading for Elite Dance Studios’ crash course!


As with many ballroom dances, quickstep owes its origin to the immigrant population that popularized it. Dancers of African and Caribbean descent innovated the fundamental parts of the style in the years after World War I, as such it had no formal definition at the time. The core of quickstep comes from humble beginnings: dancehall bands would often speed up an older version of the modern foxtrot (the “Slow-Foxtrot”). As the immigrant communities of New York embraced this new dance, it eventually found its way into public stages and glamorous ballrooms.


Quickstep is the very definition of a dance being more than the sum of its parts. Features from a variety of ballroom styles were cannibalized and adopted to create what is now known as modern quickstep. Elements of the one-step, peabody, shag, Charleston and foxtrot can all be found in the modern style, but it has since blossomed into a category of its own– outlasting many of the aforementioned dances in popularity and in practice.


The 1920s brought along a rather harmless epidemic: “the Charleston Fever.” This wave of dance mania spread across both sides of the Atlantic, eventually taking whole continents by storm. The public’s newfound love for fast, intricate dance moves meant advancements in the style that would come to be known as quickstep. At the time, the mashed-up dance went by a mouthful of a moniker: “the QuickTime Foxtrot and Charleston.” As the century wore on, rules and standards built up around this new ballroom dance– it was then given an official name: quickstep.


The following is a brief summary of some popular quickstep features:

Sudden changes in direction;
Light, floating steps;
Rapid-fire variations;
Skillful moves (hovers, runs, etc.);
Fast movement;
Unexpected syncopation;
Elegant, smooth and glamorous.

As you can see, quickstep has a colourful history that may surprise you– just like its own choreography does to its audience! If you want to learn quickstep or any other dance style, contact or visit Elite Dance Studios today.