MSU maypole dance

Minot State University students danced around a maypole Thursday afternoon just like students did nearly 100 years ago.

Director of Marketing Teresa Loftesnes, who came up with the maypole dance as a way to commemorate the 100th anniversary of MSU’s founding, said there were a few differences this year men danced along with the women and one of the three dances performed was the very modern “Mix It Up.”

Loftesnes read in the history books about the maypole dances that used to be performed at Minot State on the first of May. In 1915, young women who topped the dean’s list were chosen to dance around the maypole. This year, the students were men and women from one of the dance classes at MSU, joined by a class of third-graders from nearby Bishop Ryan Catholic School. In addition to Mix It Up, the students performed a traditional maypole dance and a Canadian dance similar to the American square dance called “Les Salute.”

Teacher Mary Hemphill said the children spent about 45 minutes Thursday morning learning the dances from the Minot State students and had a grand time. Earlier in the day, the children made traditional May Day baskets.

Student Government Association members also marked May Day by passing out treat baskets to the crowd.

The ceremony concluded with a tree planting by faculty senate president Kevin Neuharth, staff senate president Derek Van Dyke, and Student Association President Josh Sandy.

The bur oak was planted on the front law of Old Main.

The program noted that the bur oak is one of the most majestic oak species native to North America. The tree is large, low-maintenance and long-lived. Although it will take 35 years to produce seeds, it will grow a yard a season until it reaches full height. It will live for 500 years.