I Wonder Where Maria’s Gone

When it comes to folk dancing, I think we sometimes forget what it feels like to be a kid. We forget that we self-administered the “cootie shot” and thought it was the height of embarrassment to be accused of “liking” someone (particularly if you really did like someone). Professor Dumbledore said it best,

“Youth can not know how age thinks and feels, but old men are guilty if they forget what it is to be young.”

JK Rowling, The Order of the Phoenix

Because of this, I think it’s important that we remove any possible obstacles when it comes to folk dancing. The song, I Wonder Where Maria’s Gone, gives us a great opportunity to do just that!


I started by adjusting the lyrics. The original song contained the phrase, “Give her a kiss and march on through”. In the past, kissing was a common feature of folk dance. Thankfully, due to improved understanding and respect of personal space (and the spread of disease), that tradition has fallen away. So, I’ve replaced that line with “Give them a five”. You could also do “Give them a wave” or other similar action.

Each time you repeat the song and gain a new leader, you can replace “Maria” with their name. This will both make the leader feel valued and will keep the song from becoming too monotonous throughout repetitions.


This folk dance is fairly simple, but hard to describe in words. So instead, I created some visuals that will make it easier to understand.

Verse One: Maria leads her line around the back of the other and returns to the original formation.

Verse Two: Maria leads the opposite line around the back of the other and returns to the original formation.

Verse Three: The top couple walks around the back of their lines and return to the original formation.

Verse Four: The top couple gives each other a high five, then walks through the arch created by both lines. They walk around the back of the lines to return to the original formation.

After the song is finished, the top couple moves to the end of the line, and the game begins again with new leaders.

2 Responses

  1. I love this! What a great intro to folk dancing – the visuals are extremely easy to follow and very helpful. Thank you for sharing!