Oak Park Arms

Maypole Dance Workshop

Oak Park Arms

A Maypole dance workshop will take place at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 14, at the Oak Park Arms retirement community, 408 S. Oak Park Ave. Roberta Kulik is the instructor.

Maypole dancing is a form of folk dance from Germany, England, and Sweden. There are two forms. The first and most popular consists of dancers that perform circle dances around a tall, garland-festooned pole. In the second, dancers move in a circle, each holding a colored ribbon attached to a much smaller pole. As they move around the pole, the dancers intertwine their ribbons either in a web around the pole or to plait it to the pole, itself. To unravel the ribbons, the dancers retrace their steps.

Historians believe the first maypole dance originated as part of Germanic pagan fertility rituals. Originally, the dancers danced around a living tree. While dancers usually perform this dance in the spring on May 1 or May Day, those in Sweden perform it during their midsummer celebrations.

The second kind of maypole dance, with origins in the 18th Century, began as a traditional or artistic dance popular in Italy and France. Eventually, traveling dancing troupes performed it in London theaters, thus bringing this traditional dance to larger audiences.

The Oak Park Arms is a rental retirement community which provides independent and assisted living apartments and a full schedule of activities and services. Furnished apartments are also available for a short-term stay – a weekend, a week, a month or longer.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information call 708-386-4040.