There were major changes for the mAy team during 2020. We have purchased the large maypole that was built for us to use at Countryfile Live, and the Chiltern Open Air Museum (COAM) have kindly provided a home for it.
This will lead to a whole new partnership including training events, displays and plenty of chances for everyone to join in. The maypole may get used at other times including weddings, corporate events and hopefully as part of the Museum’s wonderful Education Programme. There may even be opportunities for members of the team to contribute with their teaching skills in other areas.
A lot of this is still at the planning stage and we will be working with the Museum to conform to Covid regulations, but we are hoping to install the maypole during March before the Museum Season starts and hold sessions there on the weekend of 15th/16th May and 18th/19th September.
As things progress we very much hope to participate in more events and look forward to a fruitful partnership between the two organisations.
2020 was a quieter summer than we’d hoped, with events at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Spring Live and Countryfile Live being cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but we are pleased to share a few maypole snaps with you today!
Back in October, our leader Mike Ruff took part in a photoshoot for LAW magazine, involving long ribbons attached to CCTV poles at various sites around London. These are for a feature in January’s issue, linking traditional and urban cultures.
Mike’s role was initially providing the ribbons, but at the last minute he was asked to act as teacher and dance consultant too!
The first site was less than half a mile from Whitelands College, where in 1881 John Ruskin introduced Maypole Dancing as we know it now to a group of teachers in training!
This year we were lucky enough to enjoy two weekends at Countryfile Live – including the first ever Northern event at Castle Howard. It wasn’t quite as sunny as the Blenheim event (Friday was particularly damp) but as you’ll see below we still had a lot of fun! We were pleased to have a few new faces on the team for our first journey north and we’re sure they’ll be back for future events.
We had an absolutely brilliant few days at Blenheim Palace last week, but now it’s time to look ahead to next weekend and another Countryfile Live event – this time in Yorkshire!
15th-18th August 2019 at Castle Howard, Yorkshire – visit the official website here.
We’ll be putting on several displays each day, with public participation encouraged! Keep an eye on our twitter page (@themayteamdance) for daily updates about performance times.
It’s been a few days since we returned from a wonderful few days at Blenheim Palace, and now the dust has settled we are enjoying looking back through our photos! We were joined by so many enthusiastic dancers of all ages – from young children seeing a maypole for the first time to older visitors who remember last dancing round a maypole many years ago when they were at school!
We were thrilled that Pudsey and Anita Rani danced with us again – the BBC Countryfile Live twitter page shared a wonderful photo of them dancing so head over to our twitter page to have a look (@themayteamdance).
In the meantime, we hope you enjoy these photos from our little corner of the Village Green.
We’re really looking forward to returning to Countryfile Live this year! It’s always a highlight of our calendar and we’ll be performing on all four days, so we hope to see lots of you there!
1st-4th August at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire – visit the official website here
We’ll be doing 4 or 5 dance sessions each day, including an early afternoon showcase performance of a variety of traditional dance styles, plus there’ll be loads of opportunities for you to join in with maypole and country dancing. Each maypole session starts with a short display from the mAy team, before we invite the public to join in with dances around the mega Countryfile Live maypole!
Check out the official timetable for our performance times, or follow us on twitter @themayteamdance for daily updates.
Our Countryfile Live top tips:
- Arrive early to beat the traffic!
- Don’t miss the dog and duck show (a mAy team favourite).
- Bring a reusable water bottle – there are free water refill points dotted around the site and if it’s a hot day you’ll need them!
- Enjoy a picnic lunch on the Village Green while you watch our traditional dance showcase – we’re performing at 1.15pm on Thursday, and 12.45pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
- Don’t forget to say hi to Pudsey at the Children In Need tent – you might also find him dancing round the maypole with us!
(These are not our 2019 performance times! Photo from 2017)
We had a fun-filled couple of days at the South Of England Showground last month, running Maypole and Sussex country dance sessions for visitors to Spring Live. It was a little chillier than last year but fortunately the rain held off and we were joined by lots of keen dancers of all ages! When not performing, the team also enjoyed visiting the rest of the showground – whether this was to check out the food trucks, buy new plants or admire the alpacas on display!
Thanks for visiting our new site. We’ll be adding more archive content over the coming days, and we’ve got a busy summer of events coming up so watch this space for photos and tales from our 2019 displays!