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Streetswings Dance History Archives: Horsetrot
Horse Trot Circa 1912
Horse Trot Dance

    The Horse Trot dance and music was created by Dance Master Mr. Uriel Davis (also created the Fish Walk, Davis Foxtrot, Grape Juice Wallow and others). The Horse trot was a 'running walk' dance and was somewhat different than the Turkey Trot, Grizzly Bear and Bunny Hug of the time. Most of these popular Ragtime dances were based on the One Step. It was popular in the early 1910s but was losing favor with the public around 1914. Mainly due to the high kicking involved as the ladies garments of the time made it difficult to do as well as many seeing the dance as vulgar. The music was 2/4 (Ragtime), and very lively. The dance was first introduced at Copley-Plaza in Boston, Ma. at a ball given by Hamilton Fish Jr. in 1912/13.

    The Basic step for the Horse-Trot resembles closely the step of the Cake Walk, raising the foot quite high with rather a jumpy style. It consists of a forward and backward movement, turning to the right and to the left. Taking the Yale or American Ballroom

position and dancing around after each other. A stationary step, cutting the foot to the side, a series of dips with the right foot back are often taken.

  • The Canter movement in the Horse Trot would be done with the Gentleman springing to his left foot (1), dips back with the right foot (2), takes two trots back ward, left foot (3) and right foot (4). This movement when repeated several times closely resembles a canter. By 1914 the Dance Masters of America refined the Horsetrot and called the Canter .

  • The Picket Fence movement: This consists of four trots directly to the left rear oblique, then the same number of steps forward left oblique; in this forward movement have the lady to the right side in Yale position. This backward and forward movement is in a 'V formation', or 'zigzag', which is repeated several times and which is to represent, in design, the top of a picket fence, hence its name. Then the turns may be inserted again, followed by the original 'Grape Vine Step'.

  • The Kangaroo Dip: is another step often used in the Horse Trot. It is a succession of dips backward for the gentleman and forward for the lady, making it resemble the kangaroo.

  • The Chicken Scratch: This, another oddity, is very similar to the pivot used in Ballet work (using the one foot as a pivot and moving the other around it by taking small steps). The only difference is that the foot that is doing the actual stepping scrapes or scratches the floor, imitating a chicken. The turns may be complete or just half-way around, then back again.

Most writers of the day expressed that "The Horse-Trot", "Kangaroo Dip" and the "Chicken Scratch" are by no means graceful, and really should have no place in the ballroom. In Germany they called it (trots) the "Truthahn Tanz," and in France it was the 'Pas fiu Dindon.

Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

Boston, MA. 1912 Mr. Uriel Davis Ragtime Dance

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music preview clip

Music Titles

n/a 1910 - Russian Pony Rag Click to hear preview clip Horsetrot (1912) (Courtesy
      1912 - Horsetrot Clip not available at this time 1913 - European Rag (Horsetrot) (Clip)
      1934 - Steeple Chase        

Night Clubs



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Films / Movies


Ballets / Stage

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            11/4/1912 - Sheboygan Press (Uriel Davis - Horsetrot)
            1/26/1912 - Kansas City Star (Ragtime Dances)
            9/4/1913 - Mansfield News (Horsetrot is Vulgar dance)
            11/2/1913 - Washington Post (Elsie Janis talks)
            12/28/1913 - Syracuse Herald (Horsetrot, Others)
            6/21/1914 - Atlanta Constitution (Horsetrot Now the Canter)

Other Related Dances of the time...

Aeroplane Waltz / Dip Debutante Dip Heel and Toe Pannier Waltz Tiger, the
Apache Dance Diaphanous Dip Hesitation Waltz Peabody Toddle
Banana Peel Glide Fish Walk Kitchen Sink (The Frisco) Quickstep Trotto
Boll Weevil Wiggle Foxtrot Lame Duck Reno Glide Turkey Trot
Boston / Dip / Double Frisco / Frisco Rag Lame Horse Trot Sea Sick Glide Turtle Dove
Bunny Hug Futurist Twirl (aka Futurity) Luncheon Lurch Shark Swish Waltz
Castle Glide Gobbler Glide Hitchy-Koo Slow Drag Wilcox Glide
Castle Trot Grape Juice Wallow Horse Dance Tango  
Castle Walk Grape Vine, the Maxixe (also Machichi) Tango Dip  
Chicken Flip Grizzly Bear Mule Walk Tango Dream  
Collegiate Half and Half Narragansett naughty Tennis Tango  
Cucia, the Half Boston One Step Texas Tommy  

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


Elsie Janis (1913) n/a Mayor Gaynor
Uriel Davis (1912)    

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title Author Date Published Publisher
Dances Of Today Newman, Albert W. 1914 n/a
How To Do The Horsetrot Uriel Davis 1913 [pdf]




Poets / Writers

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Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

Animal Dances Jazz Dances Suggestive Dances Trot Parties (Tango Teas)
Bowery Dance Nickle Dance Halls Tenderloin Dance Halls Wiggle Dances
Dance Bans / Banished / Banned Ragging Parties Tough Dancing  
Freak Dances Ragtime Dances