For best results, the pole should be 9 to 12 feet high. The ribbons should be 2 to 3 times the length of the pole, quite strong, and firmly attached to the top of pole, or to a revolving wheel on the top of the pole. You can also use two wheels, with half the ribbons attached to each. This will allow the dances to move in two circles in opposite directions. By sinply crossing the ribbons the wheels will lock. It is best, at first, to only use two different coloured ribbons, as this will help the boys and girls to work out the steps. With practice more colours can be used.
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 helpd firmly in the outer hand (The one facing away from the pole), while the inner hand loosely holds the ribbon and can directed it (Holding it up or down as required). If needed, the ribbon can be held in loops in the outer hand, and a 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.
There are many Maypole dances. The ones below range from easy to difficult (and in one cast nearly impossible!). The dancers will need to have a partner, who they will stand next to to begin with.
The first part of this dance is quite easy, while the undoing can be a bit tricky. Keep an eye on the point where the ribbons cross over to see if you have gone too far.
With the above dances, the ribbons will form a platt against the pole. In the following dances the ribbons will form a platt AWAY from the pole, forming an umbrella.
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
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
The following two dances are for 8 dancers only, in two pairs of four.
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.
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.
Many thanks to Brendan Crawford of Teachers
Net for these dances