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Maypole Plaiters

Maypole dancing dates back as far as Richard II in England, and during the reign of Henry VIII reached most of the rural villages including Gawthorpe. In 1906 the local school children, both boys and girls, were taught the intricate steps of Maypole dancing by Mrs. Stephens a teacher at the school. In 1927 a Miss Green joined the school and assisted in the instruction of the various dance sequences. These consist of one of the most comprehensive plaiting sequences in the country. These are; Ropes, The Barbers Pole, The Single Plait, The Double Plait, The Spiders Web, The Gypsy’s Tent and The Centenary Polka. The Maypole dancing tradition has continued to the present day and children who attend Gawthorpe Academy are given the opportunity to join the Maypole Dancers and learn the traditional dancers taught all those years ago. It takes approximately six months to teach the dance steps to the dancers, and as the seniors leave for secondary school at eleven, they are replaced by 8 / 9 year olds from the earlier years.