2 3 Throwback Thursday and Maypoles | Ballet Webb

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Throwback Thursday and Maypoles

Throwback Thursday and Maypoles
Maypole dancing is believed to have originated as a part of Germanic pagan rituals, and during this period, dancers moved around a living tree.  It evolved into a form of folk dancing in Germany, England and Sweden.  In the most common type, dancers circle around a tall pole, holding onto long ribbons or garlands.  As the dancers move around the pole, sometimes weaving in and out, the ribbons weave themselves around the pole.  To unwind, the dancers simply reverse their pattern.
Maypole dancing evolved into a form of theatrical dance in the 1700s, and was popular in Italy and France.  Traveling dance troupes brought it to England, and it was there that an English teacher adapted it and caused it to spread across Europe.  Eventually it became part of physical education programs and was popular in England and the United States until the 1950s.
Maypole dances were usually performed as part of spring festivals on or near May the first, although in Sweden it is a part of their mid-summer celebrations.
A maypole dance is featured in the ballet La Fille Mal Gardee; one of the oldest ballets still being performed today. 

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Dance History Factoid #27 
“Maypole dances are believed to have originated as a part of Germanic pagan rituals.”

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