Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Road To Mod

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

The Road To Mod 32R+32W+32S+32R Medley for 4 Couples Rod Downey The Johnsonville Collection
A 128 bar demonstration medley for four couples consisting of 32 march, 32 waltz, 32 Schottische, and 32 reel.

Reel/March: This is begun in a 4 couple longwise set.
1-2 1C and 3C set.
3-6 1C and 3C dance half figure of eight down through the couples below them finishing in partners place.
7-8 All take hands and set.
9-16 Reels of 4 on the sides, finishing with 1C facing 2C and 3C facing 4C on sides.
17-20 The men all set with Pas de Basque and coupé, the ladies with two pas de Basque and spring points. The men should raise their arms.
For the more adept, both the ladies and the men could dance 4 bars of turning high cuts here.
21-24 With left arm raised and elbow grip, 1M and 2W turn twice with a propelled pivot turn, as do the other pairs of dancers on the sides. Finish in lines of 4 on the side, hands joined.
25-28 Advance (2), retire (2).
29-32 All retain hands and set pas de Basque and coupé, advancing slightly.

Waltz: The music now changes to waltz.
There is an introduction in the music, during which the dancers should step in to take extended open ballroom hold (i.e. two hands joined at shoulder height and wide, couple facing each other) forming a line up and down the set. First and third men face down, and their partners up, and conversely for the second and fourth couples. I will refer to the couples by the men's orientation. Thus, for instance, I will say that the first and third couples are facing down, the others up. The "line of dance" up or down the set.
1-4 With partner all dance two steps to the man's right, and then two to the left, advancing so as to pass the couple faced. (So first couple pass second. The step to the right, should be step right, and close with a lilt (finishing with weight on LF). It is nice if there is rise and fall in the step, rising at the end of the step.)
5-8 Repeat, the second and third couples dancing past imaginary oncoming couples. At the end of bar 8 all finish facing partner still with both hands joined First and third men will have their backs to the ladies' side, and conversely for the second and fourth men. Ladies ready themselves to begin on the right foot again.
9 Opening out to have nearer hands joined, dance LF forward (ladies RF, in the below, I describe the man's part, the ladies mirrors it). RF behind LF, 3rd aerial, just touching the ground. (Think of this as "step balance")
10 Repeat RF.
11 Step forward LF and RF.
12 Step forward LF and swing RF through into forward aerial. (This should be controlled as an elegant movement.) Arms should be flourished for the above and up to then end of bar 14 below.
13 Step RF back (along (against) the line of dance).
14 Step LF back, readying to turn inward to face partner.
15 Taking two hands extended ballroom hold cross RF inside LF, against line of dance.
16 Cross LF over RF and step RF sideways against line of dance the line of dance. (count "and 8"). Finish with weight on RF, and LF closed in 3rd aerial, both hands joined.
17 LF (ladies RF, in the below, I continue to describe the man's part, the ladies mirrors it) step away and down/up the line of dance diagonally out. (RF behind LF, 3rd aerial) That is first and third will travel down the set, second and fourth up. Dancers should flourish arms away.
18 RF step forward diagonally in, finishing to briefly touch both hands.
19-20 Progressing in the same direction, all dance solo outward turns, ending with all dancers having nearer hands joined and facing back the way that the came.
21-24 All repeat the above in the reverse direction. Again, finish as at the end of bar 8.
25 Men releasing left hands (and ladies right) all step away (LF) from line of dance with a hand flourish out (and ladies also).
26 Men dance in raising his right hand also bringing left hand to right, and lady passing in front of the man, lady has performed half a turn under the man's raised right hand.
27 Man dances out to the opposite side with a flourish, lady similarly dancing out with a flourish.
28 All dance in take ballroom waltz hold. Second and fourth couple will be facing up the set, first and third couple facing down. Thus fourth and first couple will have the men back to back.
29-32 All dance approximately two natural waltz turns finishing in a square set in order from the top, clockwise. 4C, 3C, 1C, 2C. (Thus the end couples travel one place anticlockwise around the set, and the inner couples dance out to the end of the set from where they are facing.)
All finish opening out and facing into the set.

1-2 All set.
3-4 All petronella in tandem one position ¼ around the set anticlockwise, and take hands ready to set again.
5-8 Repeat 1-4, so that everyone has moved two positions anticlockwise by the end of bar 8, and should be in "normal" positions, except that the 4th couple is in the normal 3rd couple's place, and 3rd in the normal 4th place.
Finish facing partner.
9-12 All dance highland Schottische setting, with arms used.
13-16 Beginning with the LEFT hand, all dance four bars of a grand chain one bar per hand. On the last hand, the men will finish in the middle back to back facing partners.
17-20 All dance rocking step facing partners, arms should be used if possible.
21-24 All turn partners one and three quarters to finish in place, the men facing in and the ladies facing out, ready for...
25-32 All dance 8 bars of Schiehallion reels, finishing with the men facing in and ladies facing out.
Reel: All clap at the end of bar 32

1-8 Finish 8 more bars of Schiehallion reels, to places facing partner.
9-12 All set twice.
13-16 All turn twice with propelled pivot elbow turn and left arms raised, finish facing partner.
17-20 All dance four hands of a grand chain.
21-24 All turn partners with propelled pivot elbow turn and left arms raised, finish ready for...
25-32 Eight hands round and back.

(Dance crib compiled by the deviser Rod Downey, Johnsonville SCD Club Tutor)

Dance Notes

Modified 14th October, 2014. Modified again 16 June 2018, where I removed the last under the arm turn in the waltz section, and corrected the spelling of aerial.

Dance Information

This medley, The Road To Mod, was devised with the help of my wife Kristin, 12 October, 2014.

This dance came from listening to an old record by Jim MacLeod, called "Lassie come and dance with me." Track 6 of side 2 is called "The Road to Mod" and has this intriguing medley with bow chords. So I guess at some time there must have been a dance for this medley. In spite of many enquiries, I could not find the dance so took on the challenge to devise a dance to this music.

I chose a demonstration dance, and one that emphasised "big figures" and some highland steps over complexity. The waltz was particularly challenging as we have few standard descriptions, and this particular Gaelic waltz is quite lyrical, meaning finding figures sympathetic to the tune was tricky. Kristin helped a lot here. After comments by Glenna and Iain Matcham, I modified this on the 14th October.

A Mod is a traditional Scottish Gaelic festival of arts, including the Royal National Mod. A mod includes competition for poetry, music, choral events, and many other aspects of traditional Scottish culture.

MacLeod was a wonderful piper and perhaps he was talking of the national mod piping competition when naming this collection of tunes.

(On the record cover: "The Gaelic Mod held annually in Scotland is the last surviving remnant of the great Clan gatherings, but apart from the competitive aspect of the Mod the social spirit (in every sense) is in great abundance.")

Clearly the recommended music is "The Road to Mod", from "Lassie Come and Dance with Me" by Jim MacLeod and his Band. (Phillips, LP 6382 072, and Fontana / TL 5353 (1966)).

This is sadly more or less unobtainable.

The tunes are 32 bars of the following: (Reel/March) Bratach Bana, (Waltz) Morag of Dunvegan, (Schottische) Larach do Thacaidean (Moulin Dhu-Black Mill), (Reel) After the Battle.

All are traditional. Thanks to Peter Elmes, Iain Boyd and Michael Laidlaw for helping find the names of the tunes.

(Dance information from The Johnsonville Collection Of Scottish Country Dances, reproduced here with the kind permission of the deviser, Rod Downey)

Published in The Johnsonville Collection, reproduced here with the kind permission of the deviser, Rod Downey.

Back to the top of this Scottish Country Dancing Instructions 'The Road To Mod' page