Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Maypole Dance

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

The Maypole Dance 94 bar Reel for 4 couples Rod Downey The Golden Bear Collection
A 96 bar ceilidh-style dance in a square set for 4 couples.

1-4 As in the 8-some reel, the Ladies all give RH in the center and give left hands to partners (or couples can choose to have men put hands around partner's waist, as in party versions of the 8-some), and dance 4 hands across, half way.
5-8 With the men in the middle giving left hands repeat back to place, finishing with the men in the middle ready for 4 hands round, the ladies on the outside, facing anticlockwise. (If using the alternative, ladies finish in original places.)
Bars 9-24 have two alternatives:
9-16 Men dance 4 hands round and back, but using skip change on the last two bars, turning on bar 15 to face anticlockwise and dancing out to the original place on bar 16. Note that dancers should not dance out until bar 8 as they will interfere with the ladies, and lose the shape of the figure. Men finish in original place facing anti-clockwise.
Meanwhile the ladies dance around the outside of the anti-clockwise for 4 bars, and then cast back clockwise back to place to finish in the middle ready for 4 hands round, dancing in on bar 8. (The ladies will be dancing in in front of their partner (i.e. passing each other left shoulder), who will be dancing out to get to this position.)
9-16 (Alternative, for newer dancers) Men dance 4 hand round and back, finishing in original places.
17-24 Repeat 9-16 with roles reversed, but finish with the ladies meeting their partners who pivot pulling back right shoulder into promenade hold to face clockwise.
17-24 (Alternative, for newer dancers) Ladies dance 4 hands round and back finishing in promenade hold with partner, facing clockwise.
25-40 Skip change 2 bars to the next position clockwise and then set on the spot so as to face the next position clockwise, and repeat back to place, turning to face inwards on the last two pas de Basque.
41-48 Ladies dance in and pull back RS to be back to back in the center.
(2 bars) Ladies set to partners (2 bars) and then turn partner RH 1ΒΌ into original places.
49-56 Repeat 41-48 with men in centre, but turning LH and the end.
57-64 Ladies dance a figure of eight around partner and corner beginning by dancing in front of partner.
65-72 Men repeat 57-64.
73-80 First and third couple dance in (no hands) and then with right hands raised high and pointing towards the ceiling (as in around a maypole) dance four hands across all spiralling in at the end of bar 6, and pulling back RS dance skip change back out to place (2).
81-88 Second and fourth couples repeat.
89-96 8 Hands round and back.

(Dance crib compiled by the deviser Rod Downey, Johnsonville SCD Club Tutor)


Dance Notes

If using the non-alternative version, it is helpful to get the men and ladies to dance their parts of 9-16 separately.

(Dance notes by the deviser, Rod Downey)


Dance Instruction Videos

The Maypole Dance - Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

This dance, The Maypole Dance, was devised on 27 March 2018 for our "midwinter" themed night with the theme of Spring into Autumn, to which club members bring families.

Our motif was the Maypole... Revised 10/4/2018 with the help of the Tuesday group.

Recommended music is that used commonly for "Nottingham Lace", that is traditional tune "Hebridean Milking Song" and e.g. "The Cockle Gatherers" or other traditional sets of tunes.

Any of the recordings by Ian Muir, Frank Reid or the Lothian Band would be excellent.

(If no such recording is available, it could be danced as a jig in which case I would use "The Argyll Square" (or "Bonnie Ann" if desperate).)



Published in The Golden Bear Collection.
Dance information from The Golden Bear Collection Of Scottish Country Dances, reproduced here with the kind permission of the deviser, Rod Downey.

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