A renaissance in Maypole dancing occurred in the Primary Schools of the Coventry district in the early 1950s. It was our misfortune to convey the essentials to our young pupils! All very rustically pretty when everyone went in the correct direction and wove in and out appropriately. BUT the pundits forgot the many, (mainly little boys---sorry, it is a fact), with two left feet, and those of both sexes who didn't know their right from their left, and front from back!
All might go well for a mini-second ---- delightfully bucolic and harking back to the rural charms, (ahem), of times past. Then a hesitation, a misstep, a momentary confusion and we had a glorious tangle --- "the mother of a muddle".
It took ages to reduce all to order, but persist we had to, and practise assiduously because an EVENT loomed ---- and we were one of the star turns!
Finally, dressed prettily we stumbled and staggered through our movements, on the day. The strains of the accompanying music could be detected faintly now and again through the chatter of the crowd and loud comments such a, "There's our Billy", and Betty's dress is ever so nice".
Music wasn't needed anyway as the maypole revellers grimly wove in and out, seeded by a large girl or a teacher at discreet intervals. It pleased the parents and afterward the children were aglow with the praise they'd received---and relief that it was over.
I think that some of us are "scarred to this day by the trauma of it all. I wasn't too good on a maypole ribbon myself --- a case of "the blind leading the blind?"
My final thoughts were---- Phew, "Thank G--", until the next time!