Sonny Watson's Homepage
Ballrooms | Blog| Burlesque | Contests | Dances | Dancers | Dance History | Marathons | Movies | Music | Posters Store | Sheet Music | Troupes || Refresh Page
INDEX HomePage
Music Lists: Contemporary WCS| Trad'l WCS| C/W Swing| Big Band| Disco| Gospel| Holiday| Hustle| Late Night| Latin| Latin WCS| Mash-Ups| NC2S| Techno
You Are here: Search Streetswing Site Site Search --->

all the below written by Brendan Crawford at: - Original artical was located at:

 ... Found this on the web one day a while ago, copied it here in case it is deleted (and it was) from the original source. I have added Video Cips when availabe.
The Maypole Dancers :
    The best number of dancers is between 8 and 20, and an even number is best. Two of the dances below require 8 dancers only. The end of the ribbon should be held firmly in the outer hand (The one facing away from the pole), while the inner hand loosely holds the ribbon and can direct it (Holding it up or down as required). If needed, the ribbon can be held in loops in the outer hand, and are released on loop at a time as needed. At first, use a slow tempo for the music (Waltzes are good).

The tempo can increase with practice. If possible, use live musicians as they can vary the tempo.

The Dances. There are many Maypole dances. The ones below range from easy to difficult (and in one case nearly impossible!). The dancers will need to have a partner, whom they will stand next to to begin with.

    If your looking to host a maypole "Outing or Get Together" this Portable: Blue Base Maypole Setup (SET) may be just what you need to keep the workload down and the fun up! without worry.

(Go Back to Maypole Main Page)
Barbers Pole :
    The boys start standing next to the pole with their ribbons pulled tight. The girls start away from the pole with their ribbons slightly slack. On the beat the girls move one complete revolution in one direction. When they get back to their starting position they move towards the pole, pulling their ribbons tight, while the boys move away from the pole and let their ribbons go slack. When the boys get to the end of their ribbons they move one complete revolution IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION as the girls did. Continue in this manner until the ribbons are used up, then reverse and undo.
Dance of the Gypsies :
    Need more info.
Maypole Dance - Doube Plait :
    Need more info. (The Dancers pause between songs.)
Grand Chain :
    This is the most common Maypole dance. The dances stand away from the pole, with the ribbons slack (but not touching the ground). The partners face each other. On the beat the boys move slightly towards the pole as they move forward. The girls move forward and hold their ribbons up so the boys can go under them. The boys them move away from the pole, and the girls towards it slightly. This time the girls move inside the boys. Continue in this "In and Out" manner until the ribbon is all used up. Now the fun part. Dancers reverse direction and try to undo the ribbons. If the dancers look at the point where their ribbons cross they can work out who should go over and under. After that it is easy.
Gypsy's tent :
    The girls start away from the pole with their ribbons slack.The boys start half way between the pole and the girls, facing away from the pole, with their ribbons tight. On the beat the girls move towards their partner, pulling thier ribbons tight as they go (They will needto let out their ribbons slowely during the dance). The girls dance once around their partner, then move on to the next boy. They dance once around him, then onto the next boy, and so forth. When the girls ribbons are used up, reverse and undo. Once undone, the girls and boys cahnge positions.
| Video not available |
Jacobs Ladder :
    The boys start halfway towards the pole, facing out with their ribbons tight. The girls dance around their partner, then dance towards the other boy in their pair. When the girls meet in the centre, they dance 180 degrees around each other, then head back to their partner. 180 degrees around their partner, then back towards the centre. Continue in this manner until ribbon is used. This will form two "Ladders" down the sides and away from the pole. If you have a wheel on the top of the pole the ladders can be rotated around the pole (This looks quite impressive). Undo and swap.
| Video not available |
Pyramid :
    Same as Jacobs ladder, except when the girls get back to their partner they dance 90 degrees and head towards the nearest boy in the other pair, then back. This willform a four sided pyramid around the pole.
| Video not available |
Queens Basket :
    Video from the 2010 Bournville Village Festival showing the string girls in action running the Barbers Pole and Queens basket. Check out the other videos showing the different dances on the Maypole
Soldiers of the Queen :Need More Info.
Spiders Web (Difficult) :
    The dances start in the same positions as for Gypsy's Tent. On the beat, the girls dance around their partner, then dance PAST the next boy (without dancing around him), and move onto the next boy. They dance 180 degrees around him, dance back to the boy they past, then dance 180 degrees aound him. Continue in this "Past one, around one and back" manner until ribbons are used, then reverse and undo. Partners then swap positions.
Teddy Bears Picnic : Need More Info.
Unholy Mess! :
    (My personal name for this dance, as I've never seen it done successfully). Same as Spiders Web, except both the boys and girls dance AT THE SAME TIME, moving in opposite directions. You have my sympathy if you try this dance (and I want a photo if you pull it off!). The following two dances are for 8 dancers only, in two pairs of four.
| Video not available |
Maypole Dance Final :
the finale of the Maypole as the petal girls, May Queen, string girls, gypsies and soldiers leave the arena.