Algorithm March

Algorithm March

Updated Apr 08, 2010 at 06:12PM EDT by Masem.

Added Apr 06, 2010 at 10:00PM EDT by Masem.

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Algorithm March is the name of a song and its associated dance. The song appears on the Japanese children's show, "Pythagora Switch". While the song and dance was meant to be used to teach young children basic movements and following directions, it became an Internet fad to recreate the dance under unique circumstances.


"Pythagora Switch" ("Pitagora Suitchi") is a Japanese show similar to "Sesame Street", designed to teach toddler-age children about various concepts. The show has just enough of that Japanese quirkiness or extravagance that numerous clips from the show have found themselves to sites like YouTube and appreciated by Western audiences. Besides Algorithm March, the show has led to distribution of videos of other elements from the show, such as the "Pythagora Switch" bumpers and interstitial, generally short cute Rube Goldberg machines that end with a flag with the show's name, and simple animations using a fixed number of lines to tell a story.

One part of the show featured the Algorithm March, a participatory song that describes actions that should be taken as the singer sang it. The song (along with several "Algorithm" variants) was written, sung, and performed in part by the Japanese comedy duo, Itsumo Kokokara. The Algorithm March was specifically designed to be sung in a canon/round by a line of people in the song; done correctly, the actions of one person would just miss hitting someone next to them or would enhance the actions of the persons adjacent to them. In the show, this is generally presented as "Individual Algorithm March", where one person would sing and perform, and then a second segment where all others would join in. Numerous variations on the theme have been created from the show; for example, the below video shows "Algorithm March with Ninjas", but other versions from the show include bus drivers, tour guides, and international football players.


With distribution on the Internet, the song/dance quickly became a popular dance to mimic (in part due to the unexpected presence of ninjas in the above video). One of the more famous versions is from the same Philippines prison that brought us the Thriller dance, with more than 900 prisoners performing the dance in unison. (In actuality, the Algorithm March performance by the prisoners preceeded the Thriller dance by the group, gaining retro-fame as the Thriller video became viral.) USA Today

However, several other video examples exist of people creating their own real-life and animated versions of this (typically sticking to the Japanese language with subtitles).

The peak of the meme, as shown by Google Insights, came about 2007 when the video had started to reach mass distribution across the net. This was closely related to the Philippines Thriller dance, released to YouTube around August 2007.

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