March of the Mods

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Alternative Names 'March of the Mods' was the name usually used in the UK.
'March of the Mods (Finnjenka Dance)' is the full name of the music.
Formation Lines travelling about the room. Lambeth Walk hold (hands on shoulders of the dancer infront).
Dance Structure Short sequence repeated throughout the music.
Music Structure 4 counts/bar, 4 bar phrases.
Music Speed 140 counts/min.
Source Glenys & Robin of CDC who did it as a novelty in an all-night joint-group dance marathon, 1994/11/25. Confirmation of steps & hold from a friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) in Ipswich, 2010/2/16.

Disclaimer: Mistakes are quite likely in the notes and no guarantees are made as to accuracy (especially as this was typed up from brief notes 15 years earlier written a week after doing it just once & that being during an all-night dance marathon!). There are other versions of the same dance or other dances with the same name. Music may differ, particularly in speed, introduction and duration, between performers. The division into parts, bars & counts might not be standard. These notes of the dance are freely distributable (under GPL or CC-by-sa) in so much as the note's author's contribution but the choreography and/or collection were by other people and so their copyright might apply to the dance itself. Better than using notes, go to a dance class where it is taught.

A novelty disco dance to funky music that became a craze in the UK in 1965. Loosely derived from a traditional Finnish folk dance.

I first came across this on an old vinyl single record of my mother's. One side was this, the other side had "Tango '65" giving the date. Both were funky tunes I liked. She did it in a ballroom dancing class where it was used as an easy fun dance at the end of each class. I came across the dance itself during a dance party in my last month at university to which I went mainly from being in the Cambridge University Strathspey & Reel Club (a Scottish Country Dancing club). It was a joint event between the different dance clubs and the main teachers of Cambridge Dancers' Club (the university ballroom dancing club), Glenys & Robin, did an 'Old Time' dance section which had novelties including 'March of the Mods' (which is not technically an Old Time dance, of course, but does have structural similarities to such).

My recall of it had serious risks of being erroneous as it was only danced once, the dancing went on to late (it was a 24 hour dance but much of it was ad hoc Ballroom for which I did not know enough different moves to lead for long and so left early) and because it was over a week until I got round to writing down the steps! I had assumed that I would soon come across it again somewhere else but 15 years later on I had still not come across it danced anywhere again, or even heard the music played on the radio. Similarly I later assumed that I could find the steps or a video on the WWW but did not (well, there was one a set of steps for the related Letkajenkka on Wikipedia but the differences were so great that it was clearly not the same version).

However a few WWW sources did give some information about its origin. It was not purely created as a UK pop novelty but was based on a traditional dance from Finland. Apparently it started as a Schottische type folk dance, which in Finland is called 'Jenka'. A particular dance in the Jenka tradition called 'Letkajenkka' became popular in the 1960s and briefly went international under various names including 'Letkiss', 'Finnjenka' and, in the UK, 'March of the Mods' where it was danced to the tune 'March of the Mods (Finnjenka Dance)' by the Joe Loss Orchestra (a popular dance band). The name, tune and steps varying in the passing on is a very folkdance type occurrence!

Soon after typing the first draft of these notes I coincidentally met a Finn when folk dancing came up in conversation (it was not a dancing event) so I mentioned Letkajenkka and was told that it was indeed well-known in Finland and the steps were broadly similar to what I knew as 'March of the Mods'. The main difference was that it was danced with the dancers one behind another in a line with each dancer putting both their hands on the shoulders of the dancer infront (like the British 'Lambeth Walk') whereas that one time I'd danced it, it had been in short side-by-side lines in a close (uncomfortable) 'buddy' shoulder hold. However when I later lead it as a joke in a Balkan folk dancing evening in Ipswich, one of the dancers present immediately recognised the dance from the steps of the first 2 bars from having done it long ago and told me it was indeed done in Lambeth Walk hold in the UK too. She also confirmed that that change of weight between bars 1 & 2 was by fudging into bar 1 by count 4 taking the weight rather making a leap of bar 2 count 1 being a leap (I was unsure as to which).

The musical syncopation (1:0.5:1:0.5:1) in bar 4 is not carried out in the steps, the walks are simply to a regular beat (1:1:1:1). (I naturally tend to follow syncopation but most normal people naturally tend to follow beats & it was a dance craze of normal disco goers so I guess it followed the beat).

Style: Partyish. Jolly, silly, exaggerated. Steps rather heavy to suit the funky bassy plod feel of the music.



Start on the beginning of a phrase of music.

Whole Sequence

Summary: L hop x 4 with R (across infront, side infront, across infront, close). Mirror. Jump forwards, pause, backwards, pause. Walk forwards R, L, R, L.

Start Lambeth Walk shoulder-hold. Weight on L foot.
1 Hop on L foot touching R heel to the ground across infront.
2 Hop on L foot touching R heel to the ground to the side infront.
3 Hop on L foot touching R heel to the ground across infront.
4 Hop on L foot closing R foot. Take weight on both feet.
2 As bar 1 but in mirror image on the opposite feet (hop 4 times on R foot with L foot across infront, side infront, across infront, close).
1 Jump forwards onto both feet.
2 Pause.
3 Jump backwards onto both feet.
4 Pause.
1 Walk R forwards.
2 Walk L forwards.
3-4 Repeat counts 1-2 (forwards R & L).

The lines are lead by the person at the front either anticlockwise around the room or snaking about the room.