Belfast Flying Shoes and the Belfast Free Library present “Contra Connections”, a four-part series of documentaries related to contra dancing. Kicking off the series on Wednesday, January 31, is Together in Time: A Story of New England Contra Music and Dance, described as a “provocative social history of how Americans have fun, [and] how they use that fun to build community.” Directed by Steven Alves, the entertaining and informative film won multiple awards, including a Cine Golden Eagle award for excellence.
Following the film, a panel of contra dancers in their teens and 20s will share perspectives on why and how they make the first Friday contra dances in Belfast a part of their social lives. The discussion will be filmed by Ned Lightner of Insight Productions and BCTV2. Belfast Flying Shoes board member Chrissy Fowler explains, “We’re excited to enrich our local culture of traditional, participatory, social dance through this film series. It’s especially thrilling to begin documenting our own history of contra dancing, right here in Waldo County, starting with some of the young people in our community who’ve made it their own.”
The dance documentary series continues with Paid To Eat Ice Cream: Bob McQuillen and New England Contra Dancing on February 28, The Other Way Back: Dancing with Dudley on March 28, and What’s Not To Like? A Community Contra Dance on May 2.
“Contra Connections” is an outreach program of Belfast Flying Shoes, the non-profit arts organization that produces the first Friday community and contra dances in Belfast (pictured above.) Additional support provided by the Belfast Free Library and a grant from the Maine Expansion Arts Fund of the Maine Community Foundation. Each film begins at 6:00pm in the Abbott Room at the Belfast Free Library, 106 High Street in Belfast. For more info, email email@example.com.
What a joyous 12th anniversary celebration we had Dec. 1, 2017. Wow! We connected with our community, reflected on the last year of BFS dances and outreach, and whirled around the dance floor to the All-Comers Band and Dance Panther/John McIntire. Thanks for making BFS a part of your social lives!
Belfast Flying Shoes is sponsoring weekly dancing for all, 6 – 8:15pm, every Thursday at the Belfast Dance Studio, starting Jan 18. Reduced rate: Register for a nine-week session. Scholarships for teens. Check out the flyer, come one come all!
Join us for contra dancing at American Legion Post #43, 143 Church Street in Belfast! The evening begins at 6:30 pm with a Community Dance called by Chrissy Fowler and with music by the All-Comers Band. All musicians are welcome to sit in. Fun and simple dances will be taught, giving beginners the opportunity to learn new skills and offering experienced dancers a chance to brush up on their steps. The Contra Dance begins at 8:00 pm.
This month’s caller is Belfast’s own Chrissy Fowler. A founder and leading light of the Belfast Flying Shoes dance series, Chrissy spreads the joy of contra dancing also at schools, community gatherings, and private events. With wit and good cheer, Chrissy keeps things spicy enough for veteran dancers while making novices feel equally welcome. Sharing the Flying Shoes stage with Chrissy will be …
A trio of masterful Maine musicians, Steampacket generates the rhythmic energy and melodic sparkle that make contra dancing a magical journey. As they say on their webpage: “With soaring fiddle, bright mandolin, and David’s creative drop-D guitar playing, we get a rich, powerful sound that lifts the dancers and pleases listeners of all sorts.”
Glen Loper—mandolin & tenor banjo
Sound by Glen Loper
Admission to the Community Dance is $2 for adults and $1 for children. Admission to the Contra Dance is $10 for adults, $8 for ages 13 to 20 and adult All-Comers, and $5 for children. Bring along a window fan and get $1 off. For more information: call 338-0979, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find us on Facebook too!
Belfast Flying Shoes has received a $3,500 grant from the ME Expansion Arts Fund of the Maine Community Foundation to expand awareness of and engagement in traditional participatory dance and music in midcoast Maine. The organization will use the grant to fund three new outreach programs: a film series, including a focus group for local youth to share their experiences and perspectives on contra dance; a musical stage performance based on the life of famed New England contra dance caller and musician Dudley Laufman and featuring local dancers; and a rock-and-roll contra dance.
Belfast Flying Shoes Board President Lee Stover says, “A contra dance brings a room full of people aged 8 to 75 together for live music, dancing, and lots of fun for three hours. This grant will allow Belfast Flying Shoes to present programs on the history and tradition of contra dancing that also highlight its relevance in today’s world. We’re especially excited to involve local young people, both new dancers and those who’ve already made dancing an important part of their social lives.”
Founded in 2005, Belfast Flying Shoes is a nonprofit organization with the mission of bolstering the spirited dance community in midcoast Maine. In addition to its outreach programs in schools and the community, BFS produces monthly contra dances in Belfast for dancers and musicians of all ages and experience levels.
The Maine Community Foundation, through its offices in Ellsworth and Portland, works with donors and other partners to improve the quality of life for all Maine people. To learn more about the Foundation, visit www.mainecf.org.