I spent a lot of time teaching foxtrot this spring, and after going through my usual repertoire of easy foxtrot variations with several different groups, I feel I need to add a few new steps. Nothing complicated, just something to spice up my standard set. Both of these steps are taken from Edna Stuart Lee's Thirty Fox Trot Steps (New York, 1916).
The basic catch step is just a simple way to change the lead foot, either because it's needed for a variation or just for fun. It's so easy I can explain it without a little numbered chart:
Gentleman starts left forward. Walk for awhile. When you want to change lead foot, make a single two-step. Keep walking with the lead (odd count; the strong beat of the music) on the other foot. The lady does the same thing, but backward and starting on the right foot.
The Catch Step
1234 Four walking steps (LRLR)
5&6 Two-step (LRL)
7... Continue walking (R...)
The Scissors Catch is a more elaborate way of accomplishing the same thing, with a tango-inspired tight cross of the feet:
The Scissors Catch
1234 Four walking steps (LRLR)
5 One more walking step (L)
6&7 Cross right over left and chassé left behind right, bringing right forward again, still crossed
8... Continue walking (L...)
6&7 are a two-step done in a crossed position.
According to Lee, this step "is attractive and has the appearance of being difficult." She's right; it's flashy but really not that hard. On a normal catch step (two-step), you step outward at a slight diagonal. On the scissors catch, you step inward, crossing the feet and maintaining that cross throughout the chassé. So instead of stepping out to the right with the right foot on 6, the gentleman steps to the left. The lady, dancing backward, steps with her left foot to her right, crossing behind. After the step-chassé (crossed two-step), the dancers will need to twist a bit to free the trailing foot to make the next step.
The relation between the two catch steps is the same as that of the Snake Dip to the Zig Zag in the one-step -- the Snake Dip initiates by stepping out to the left on the first step while the Zig Zag initiates with a cross by the right foot over the left on the second step.
Lee notes that you can vary the Scissors Catch (and, of course, the regular Catch Step) by doing it on the other foot, and that you can vary the Scissors Catch by doing two in a row, which will mean no change of lead foot. This will require a noticeable twist clockwise by both dancers on the second Scissors Catch, since they have to free the crossed foot (behind for the gentleman, in front for the lady) and bring it all the way around to cross the other way (gentleman: in front, lady: behind). This isn't all that hard, but it needs a bit more vigor, well-controlled, than a series of normal two-steps.
One can dance the Scissors Catch keeping the body facing more-or-less straight along or against line of dance, or one can do it with more turn, making small diagonals to the side and coming close to Yale position. Either way is interesting and attractive.
For both steps, note that the four walking steps at the beginning are Lee's introduction to just about every variation in her book. While it is nice to space out the fancier foxtrot variations with a few walking steps in between, it's not necessary to have it be precisely four or to always do a catch step on a particular beat.