Dance Articles > The Lambeth Walk

Discussion in 'Dance Articles' started by DanceMentor, May 10, 2004.

  1. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    Continuing my coverage of old dances, I found a nice description of the Lambeth Walk in the sixth edition of Ballroom Dancing by Alex Moore published in 1951.

    The Lambeth Walk is a novelty dance which has retained its popularity. It is based on the "Cockney" walk - a swaggering type of movement peculiar to Cockneys. This is the character of the whole dance. Music played between 38 and 44 bars per minute.

    Man and lady stand about 3 feet apart, both facing the L.O.D. Man commences with left L.F. Lady with R.F.

    4 Bars - Take 8 walks forward On the eigth step the man turns slightly to R. to face lady.
    4 Bars - Man and lady now link L. arms and strut round in a circle, again taking eight walks. On the eigth step the man unlinks the arms and offers his R. armto the lady who links with her L. arm to his R. Finish both facing the L.O.D.
    4 Bars - Man commences with L.F. and lady R.F. and continue -
    Take 3 walks forward counting 1,2,3
    Transfer weight back to rear foot. Count "and".
    Transfer weight forward to front foot. Count 4.
    Repeat the 3 walks and the walk, the man commencing with R.F. and the lady L.F. 1,2,3, and 4
    4 Bars - Unlink arms and continue --
    Man walks 2 steps toward the center. Lady walks 2 steps toward the wall. Count 1,2.
    Both man and lady turn to face each other and close feet together. Count 3.
    Slap both hands on the legs just above the knees and at the same time bend slightly forward. Count 4.
    4 Bars - Both man and lady walk 2 steps toward each other. Count 1,2.
    Close feet together facing partner about 3 feet apart. Count 3.
    Raise the R. hands about level with the head and give the Cockney salute, shouting Oi."
    Turn and face the L.O.D. and repeat from the start.

    {end quote}

    One question: What is a Cockney salute?
  2. Pacion

    Pacion New Member

    :oops: :oops: I suppose I should know but I don't/am not 100% sure.

    I googled it and it is as I fear/suspect. Cockney is a term/slang word that is used to refer to someone who is from the "East End"/"East Side" of London. They have a very particular accent and if you think of the accents in My Fair Lady, it would give you a pretty good idea. Michael Caine's accent is also "cockney".

    My guess is that the Cockney salute is a form of saluting associated with cockneys/East End of London. But, I don't know what it is, am not sure if I have ever seen it :oops:
  3. BettyB

    BettyB New Member

    gosh, i'm a total dance newbie but this is one thing i do know!

    cockney is indeed a slang term for people from East London. (technically to be a cockney you must be born "with the sound of bow bells ringing in your ears" so within hearing radius of the bells of Bow Church!)

    strangely enough Lambeth is actually a place in South London, so the Lambeth walk isn't cockney!

    the cockney salute at the end of the Lambeth Walk, well..... first of all, the dance as I know it, doesnt quite go as described. its all right apart from the very end ...

    now, the way we do it (and i did it just this saturday at the end of a 40s dance night in London) is this ....

    after "slap both hands on the legs just above the knees and at the same time bend slightly forward."

    slap right hand on right thigh,
    slap left hand on left thigh,
    slap right hand on left thigh,
    slap left hand on right thigh,
    slap left hand on right elbow
    slap right hand on left ebow
    make thumbs up with right hand and throw it over right shoulder shouting "oi"

    then back to the first 4 bars.

    so the cockney salute is the right hand thumbs up thrown over the right shoulder!

    phew, i'll go back to lurking now!
  4. Pacion

    Pacion New Member

    Don't you dare :evil: :D
  5. I'm from cockney roots so I can answer to that one.
    A 'Cockney salute', is a right thumb thrown up to the right shoulder
    in a 'hitch hiker' gesture.

    A cockney walk, which should be done with this dance, means that for any hand that is "free", the thumb should be hooked behind the Jacket lapel, or trousers braces (suspenders) high up. The hands are turned so that the palm faces centre (or each other), elbows out and upper arm almost parallel to the ground. The gait is very much one of a "sailors walk" that it struts and rocks from side to side...

    Hope that helps.

    Great post - thanks for helping keep this great English dance alive!

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