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Cole Albert Porter was born in Peru, Indiana, on June 9, 1891, the son of wealthy parents. He began the study of violin at age six, the piano at age eight, and began composing about the age of nine. He studied law for a brief period before turning to music.

He moved to Paris in 1917 and served over two years there and at Fontainebleau in the French Foreign Legion. He married a socialite after his discharge in 1919 and soon was studying composition and orchestration with Vincent d’Indy at the Schola Cantorum. At that time, he began the serious composition of popular songs, primarily for the stage.

Porter’s success as a songwriter began in earnest upon his return to the United States. He composed both the words and lyrics for hundreds of songs, and many of them were written for films featuring Hollywood’s top stars. Strangely, he never wrote for Tin Pan Alley. His lyrics were often sophisticated and exceptionally clever. Among his most famous shows were Can Can and Kiss Me Kate. Among his most popular songs were Begin the Beguine, What Is This Thing Called Love?, and Night and Day.

In 1937, Porter was injured in a riding accident. He lost the use of his legs, and even after one was amputated, he suffered much pain. Although this resulted in a long period of despondency, several of his most popular songs were written after that time. Following the death of his wife in 1954, he withdrew from most social life. He died in Santa Monica, California, on October 15, 1964.

Over time, the Foxtrot split into slow (Foxtrot) and quick (Quickstep) versions. In the slow category, further distinctions exist between the International or English style of the Foxtrot and the continuity American style, both built around a slow-quick-quick rhythm at the slowest tempo, and the social American style using a slow-slow-quick-quick rhythm at a somewhat faster pace.