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How to make a may pole and dance round it

DigiTrad:
CORNISH MAY CAROL
DRAWING NEARER TO THE MERRY MONTH OF MAY
MAY DAY CAROL
MAY DAY CAROL (2)
MAY MORNING CAROL
MAY MORNING DEW
QUEEN OF THE MAY


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Stepper 14 Mar 04 - 06:06 PM
Malcolm Douglas 14 Mar 04 - 07:05 PM
GUEST,Rita 15 Mar 04 - 01:49 AM
mouldy 15 Mar 04 - 03:16 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 15 Mar 04 - 05:40 AM
greg stephens 15 Mar 04 - 08:05 AM
Malcolm Douglas 15 Mar 04 - 01:05 PM
greg stephens 15 Mar 04 - 01:40 PM
Kevin Sheils 15 Mar 04 - 01:46 PM
open mike 15 Mar 04 - 01:55 PM
Hawker 15 Mar 04 - 02:35 PM
open mike 15 Mar 04 - 04:45 PM
greg stephens 15 Mar 04 - 05:28 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Mar 04 - 06:43 PM
Stepper 15 Mar 04 - 06:55 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Mar 04 - 08:03 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 16 Mar 04 - 08:35 AM
GUEST 16 Mar 04 - 08:57 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 16 Mar 04 - 08:59 AM
InOBU 16 Mar 04 - 02:01 PM
Mitch the Bass 16 Mar 04 - 04:23 PM
greg stephens 16 Mar 04 - 04:31 PM
Folkiedave 19 Mar 04 - 07:49 AM
open mike 19 Mar 04 - 04:36 PM
Dave Wynn 19 Mar 04 - 07:40 PM
GUEST 20 Mar 04 - 05:50 PM
LadyJean 20 Mar 04 - 11:23 PM
GUEST,tannith 22 Mar 04 - 09:47 AM
Tig 22 Mar 04 - 05:41 PM
Stepper 23 Mar 04 - 09:20 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 23 Mar 04 - 11:59 AM
GUEST,NAUNIE5@AOL.COM 20 Sep 04 - 11:45 AM
sledge 21 Sep 04 - 11:55 AM
The Villan 21 Sep 04 - 12:34 PM
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Subject: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: Stepper
Date: 14 Mar 04 - 06:06 PM

I have been asked to make a May pole for my school. Does anyone have any top tips for the design? Length and number of ribbons would be useful.

Once I have the May Pole I need some dances and any recommended music. I will then attempt to teach these to the children!!

Can anyone help??


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 14 Mar 04 - 07:05 PM

The English Folk Dance and Song Society has a fairly comprehensive book/cd package, Dancing round the Maypole, though I don't know if it tells you how to construct a maypole from scratch.

http://www.efdss.org/edcat.htm

Details are toward the bottom of the page.


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: GUEST,Rita
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 01:49 AM

You can check Pagan and Wicca web sights. I hope you already understand the symbolic nature of the May Pole.

Here's what I know. A traditional May Pole had red and white ribbons, but in America Easter pastells are also acceptable. Each dancer gets one ribbon. Attach all the ribbons to the top of the pole with a nail or tac. You can cover up the end by putting silk flowers on the very top. As per number and hight, I'd say a 12' to 15' tall pole is approprate, depending on how many dancers you have. If you were only going to have 6 dancers you might be able to get away with only 10'. You want to make sure you can sink the pole deep enough into the ground to be stable, or use a big bucket of sand.

The dance is just a circle where half the people are going clockwise and the other half is going counter clockwise. You can do this with all girls or alternate girl/guy. First you pass someone on the right, then on the left, repeat untill dizzy. Any music with a nice steady beat will do fine. The song "Hal'en Toe" is traditional, but good luck finding a recording. My friend wanted us to learn it for our spring Renaissance Faire, and had to record herself to get the song on the teaching tape. She had the lyrics up here, but I think the link is broken.
Renaissance Faire


Good luck,
Rita


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: mouldy
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 03:16 AM

When I did it with the local school, about 3 years ago, we used a home-built "crown" atop a netball post. The foot of the netball post had to be counterweighted (we used slices of cherry tree!) or supported by kids holding it steady. The "crown" was centred on a large piece of dowel or round-section wood, tapered at one end to fit into the hollow netball post. Two screws were partially inserted to stop it sticking, and to help it to swivel. A disc of wood was fitted onto the dowel, of sufficient size to hold the required number of hooks on the edge (we had 16). You need a minimum of 8. Of course, you need not use all the available hooks if you have a larger one. Use those round brass cup hooks.

For decoration, two crown shapes were cut out of plywood and fitted to form a cross on the top. The whole thing was sprayed gold. We borrowed it off a neighbouring school, who had borrowed the "posh" ribbons of another school. And they're still in my garage, because I haven't got round to getting a copy of the crown made yet!

The ribbons need to be around 1½ times the height of the pole as a rough guide - perhaps a little more. They are of the old PE sash type, woven cotton. Use small curtain rings on the ribbons.

The other school lent me a tape of tunes that they had edited down to fit what they did. One of the tunes was "Come Lasses and Lads" which was used to dance on and do the first of their 4 dances. I was playing for our lot, and I can't play that, so I did my own thing.
After they had walked on and taken up their ribbons, they stood facing in around the pole (in the street at a church 900th anniversary gala day) and I had them recite the first 2 verses of Staines Morris. Then we got into a very basic dance to start them off. (I think I played "Bladon Races"). I hadn't got "Barber's Pole" to work, as the notes the school had given me made no sense, and it had been so long since anyone did it that they couldn't remember it! So I made up my own little "warm up" dance. I then did a "Spider's Web", ("Oyster Girl"). The final one I did was the "Weave". I had a wide age range to deal with, and consequently a wide height range too, so I started them off walking it until they got into the rhythm, and then they naturally started to speed up. Once they had plaited down as far as they could go (it looks wonderful) I reversed them to unplait it. Traditionally the pole should be plaited and left, but we were in the main street and other things were planned for that spot and the pole had to be removed and dismantled. Plus, when they were first learning it, it took 2 of us 45 minutes to unplait about 2 feet of it. Again I started them off very slowly and then let the natural rhythm take over. They all let out a big cheer when they finished. I played "Horse's Brawl" and had taught them to count their steps during the moves.

If I was doing it again, I'd get a copy of the EFDSS book and CD so I had more scope. I got dropped in at the deep end, not having taught it before, but the kids did admirably well, and called me "Mrs Maypole" for a long time after that!

Andrea


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 05:40 AM

How to construct a maypole depends on your own resources and ingenuity. In the US, my colleage the PE teacher found a maypole "kit" in one of her catalogues- garish colored mesh ribbons, but they're durable and we use them year after year!

Most of the books I've consulted have a semi-traditional dance to do around the maypole before picking up the ribbons; it's a Playford (or Playford-style, not sure) called Sellinger's Round. I did a Google search on "Sellinger's round" + dance and found lots- here's one site that gives accurate instructions.
After doing the dance a few times, the dancers pick up the ribbons in their corresponding color and begin the weave as described above.
Quite lovely to see!

Good luck, and have fun!

Allison


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: greg stephens
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 08:05 AM

Much mention is being made of "tradition" here. Colour of the plaits, Hal and Tow to be played etc, pagan and Wicca references, symbolism. is there any documentation of any longstanding tradition here? I dont mean about maypoles as such, of course this is well documented. I mean the plaiting ribbon dance as used in schools often. The EFDSS( I think) published stuff back in the 20's with suggested tunes(Come Lasses and Lads etc), and this went round sll the schools like wildfire, for a bit of the old Merrie England that Miss Pringle could organise. But what were the antecedents: could a folklorist give us a potted history of this?


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 01:05 PM

While general social dancing round the maypole is quite an old custom, the business involving displays of ribbon-weaving is a recent import (early 20th century, I think, maybe late 19th: the book will probably tell you). Steer clear of those Pagan and Wiccan websites. A few are sensible, but the majority will tell you all sorts of nonsense about things like this.


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: greg stephens
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 01:40 PM

Import from where. Malcolm?


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 01:46 PM

I always understood the ribbons etc was an introduction to this country by Prince Albert from his Germanic traditions, the English tradition being a decorated pole that was danced around without ribbons.

Of course this is purely off the top of my head from (probably) a very fuzzy memory.


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: open mike
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 01:55 PM

i think a volley ball pole would be ideal for this--they are often made
by setting the pole in concrete inside a tire so it can be portable.


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: Hawker
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 02:35 PM

EFDSS do a book called 'Dancing round the Maypol by Diana Jewitt, it has an accompanying CD of music. This book gives good clear and precise instructions. This book says........."The older more indigenous tradition of maypoles had no ribbons attached to them.......During the 1890s the influence of Ruskin brought the inclusion of a May Queen ceremony and the idea of using ribbons."
Cheers, Lucy


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: open mike
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 04:45 PM

i can imagine a bicycle wheel attqached to the top to hang the ribbons on..i see one mention of the colors of ribbon--perhaps one for each
gender and or each direction?


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: greg stephens
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 05:28 PM

I thought those ribbons were some foreign nonsense. The good old English way was to go out in the woods all night for shagging, back in the morning for a bit of a kneesup round the pole on the green and more beer.


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 06:43 PM

Here's quite a handy page about Maypoles, with some practical advice.

It suggests Spain as the source of the modern style Maypole in England with the ribbons, which seems quite plausible.

For some reason people seem tothink of Maypoles as being particularly English, which is nonsense. Various kinds of Maypole turn up in all sorts of cultures, including Spain, and round the West Indies, notably in the English speaking part of Nicaragua, where it si said to have come from Jamaica. And this page has a picture of Mexican Maypole Dancing, which suggests that maybe the idea about the Spanish origin for the ribbons might be spot on. (Scroll down the page and click on the picture to see it properly.)


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: Stepper
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 06:55 PM

Thanks for all your info guys,

Looks like a bit research to be done, but I think you have covered my query. Just got to make a pole and teach the dances now. I'm actually doing this with a group of special needs children so I need to keep fairly simple.


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 08:03 PM

The beautiful thing about Maypoles, ribbons and all, is that doing something very simple can produce an effect that is very intricate and beautiful.

A Maypole with ribbons and dansers is really a sort of computer program.


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 08:35 AM

wow- I would love to find out more about the music used in Spanish and German and Mexican maypoles- what a festival that would be!

Allison


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 08:57 AM

It's amazing how many pole dancing clubs are opening.


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 08:59 AM

Really, GUEST? Where?

Allison


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: InOBU
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 02:01 PM

Well step one in learning to make a may pole is to go to the half king restaurant where...SORCHA DORCHA will be at the HALF KING restaurant and pub, this Wends. Saint Patrick's Day on 23rd street between 10th and 11th Ave. from 7 pm to 10 ... As expected Lorcan Otway on vocals uilleann pipes flute whistle bodhran and the great Jane Kelton on flute whistle and key board, Seanin An Fear on Mandolin, Joe Charupakorn on guitar... the joint is already rumbling, so stay from Give us a drink of water to An Phis Fluich, all yer ol' favs...
Cheers, Is mise, le meas, Lorcan Otway


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: Mitch the Bass
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 04:23 PM

Stepper,

The original book published by Curwen in about 1910 of maypole dances which became widespread in England went out of print (obvious really) some years ago. Schools were happy to continue using copies of the book but the old 78 record which went with it was getting scarce.

In about 1976 I used to regularly play for a teachers' training weekend in Offley, Hertfordshire covering all kinds of folk music and dance. Herts education authority asked us to make a recording of tunes to go with the Curwen book. We mostly stuck to the tunes in the Curwen book which starts with "the Entry" to Lasses and Lads which is what most people remember. It's probably the tape which mouldy refers to above. Although we only expected to do a few copies in Hertfordshire it came to be the standard in schools all over the country thanks to a distributor called Educational Aids in Northampton. Educational Aids did tubular steel furniture, music stands etc. and maypoles! and probably still do. There's a track from the cassette on my site at http://www.hgmitchell.co.uk follow the link to "Sounds".

I still have photocopies of the Curwen dance descriptions including diagrams. Curwen gave us permission to use them as they had no further interest. About 6 sides of A4 covers the relevant stuff. I can scan and send you a copy if you'd like. It contains brief guidelines on height of the pole and number of ribbons etc.

Some years later a teacher produced a new book and an updated recording which sold in a few schools and then the EFDSS produced an education pack which they took to Educational Aids who replaced our original Maypole tape in their catalogue.

A few years later I became a director of the EFDSS and at a board meeting, the success of the EFDSS maypole pack was mentioned and someone added that it had wiped out the earlier recording but that they hadn't been able to contact whoever had produced it to collaborate on the new one. I informed them that they had not tried very hard! (I'm no longer at the EFDSS, three years was enough).

On the International front I've seen almost identical ribbon dances at a "Mai Boum Planting" in Belgium and also at May celebrations in Germany.

regards
Mitch


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: greg stephens
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 04:31 PM

Mitch: thanks for that info. A school teacher in Caton,Lancs gave me the book and 78 a good many years ago, knowing I was a folkie. She said "I've got an old recording of the music used for maypole dancing in Caton before the war". So I got quite excited, thinking I was going to get a private recording of some old village band. I was a little disappointed!


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 07:49 AM

I have a copy of Curwen 8581 Maypole Dances With Instructions, Songs and Accompaniments. Compiled by W. Shaw.

This is the revised edition - published 1954.

It does give complete instructions and is a (very reasonable) £8.00. No record though.

Regards,

Dave
www.collectorsfolk.co.uk


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: open mike
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 04:36 PM

perhaps shw meant before the Iraq war!
Let us not forget the Swedish mid-summer pole and related celebrations!
http://www.sweden.se/templates/Article____6270.asp
http://www.hellkvist.org/photos/midsommar2003.php
http://hem.passagen.se/farila/midsum.htm
http://www.algonet.se/~wschedin/midsom.html


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 07:40 PM

I dance for a morris side. (Abram Morris) who have just re-errected a maypole near the Maypole Colliery at Abram. We dance there in the last week in June (and teams have done since the 1800's). The 1st of May is not easily chosen as the real may day. It varied from place to place.

Remember the old lancashire adage "ne'er cast a clout till may is out" could be understood as "dont take any clothes off until the end of May" as a reference to british weather. It could also mean until the may blossom is out (which is a very common bush or shrub in England that flowers in June).

I like the uncertainty of all things traditional.

Spot


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 05:50 PM

Last year I constructed a maypole from a broom handle placed in the top part of a tripod stand for a PA speaker. Atop the broom handle I nailed a go kart wheel (plastic and cheap from B&Q) from which I hung the ribbons. It did need children to hold it staedy but it worked.


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: LadyJean
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 11:23 PM

When I danced with the English Country dancers in the Pittsburgh Folk festival, the Italians danced around a may pole. I have also seen, at the Pittsburgh Polish festival a group of dancers around a small Pole holding a small pole festooned with ribbons. But that may have been choreographed. It was a sort of "folk ballet" about the Trumpeter of Krakow.


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: GUEST,tannith
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 09:47 AM

we are making a may pole for under 5 year olds to dance around. we are using a 5 ft carpet tube set bottom in sand bucket and decorate. fix ply cicle of wood to top. glue on strong hooks and hang 8 wide ribbons around the top from them. cover pole with plaited ribbon so dancers can add to effect,walking round different ways . suggest music for country dancing...check web we are ! good luck


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: Tig
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 05:41 PM

I leant to maypole dance when I was at school - one of the tasks was to sit on the cross bars at the bottom to hold it steady!

Since then I have taught quite a few children the delights of maypole dancing. Barbers pole is quite easy. Spiders Web takes a bit longer to get the hang of but looks effective.

Good luck - and enjoy yourselves!


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round it.
From: Stepper
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 09:20 AM

Got a twelve foot pole now and a very sturdy steel base, it's even got hole in the corners so we peg it into the ground, just got to work on getting the top and the ribbons done now.


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 11:59 AM

Tig, how does "Spiders web" go?

Allison


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round i
From: GUEST,NAUNIE5@AOL.COM
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 11:45 AM

I NEED A PATTERN OR SOME SRT OF DIRECTION ON HOW TO MAKE A mAY POLE FOR MY DAUGHTERS WEDDING.cOULD YOU PLEASE SEND ME SOMETHING.
                         THANK YOU,
                            NAUNIE5@AOL.COM


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round it
From: sledge
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 11:55 AM

For a somewhat accademic look at maypoles, no music, I suggest Ronald Huttons book, Stations of the sun. It gives a fair bit about what is actually known on the subject and its fall from grace during the Protestant reformation.

Regards

Sledge


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Subject: RE: How to make a may pole and dance round it
From: The Villan
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 12:34 PM

Get in touch with Liam Robinson.

He was involved last May doing the very thing you have to do, at Market Rasen Primary School. He also taught the children how to dance etc.

http://www.minimorris.fsnet.co.uk/index.html


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