Blog

Giving Thanks: BFS Outreach

The mission of Belfast Flying Shoes (BFS) is to bolster the spirited dance community in midcoast Maine. Our nonprofit exists because we–BFS dancers, musicians, founders, and board members–love contra dancing. We want to do it, we want to make it happen, and we want to share it with others.

We are thrilled that contra dancing has become a normal part of our local culture, and that so many people have heard of contra dancing, even if they’ve never done it themselves. BFS cultivates this culture of traditional music and dance through our monthly community and contra dances … and through a variety of outreach efforts.

Since 2008, BFS has provided partial funding for contra dance residencies in local schools. This year, thanks to generous funding from an anonymous donor, we expanded our educational outreach—and we want to celebrate! In 2016, BFS outreach funds helped support:

  • Period dance workshops, set in the 18th century, for the Penobscot Expedition (the Game Loft’s Coming of Age Program)
  • A weeklong residency in dancing, music, and local history on the island of Monhegan
  • Multi-visit music, movement, and contra dance residencies in several Waldo County schools and preschools

Monhegan elder Sherm Stanley described dancing in his youth this way: “We had a lot of grand times. Everybody danced.” In this season of giving thanks, we are grateful for the positive energy and joy generated as “everybody danced” in the programs supported by our 2016 outreach funds.

We’re extremely excited to continue this outreach in 2017!

With gratitude,
The BFS Board of Directors

Game Loft directors Patricia and Ray Estabrook, dancing in 18c style.
Game Loft directors Patricia and Ray Estabrook, dancing in 18c style.
A school residency's culminating dance, from the perspective of the Belfast Bay Fiddlers.
A school residency’s culminating dance, from the perspective of the Belfast Bay Fiddlers.
Students, staff, musicians and caller after a packed dance in Monhegan's one-room schoolhouse.
Students, staff, musicians and caller after a packed dance in Monhegan’s one-room schoolhouse.

Magnetic North: Cardinal Direction to Play Belfast Flying Shoes 11th Birthday Contra Dance Friday, December 2, 2016, with Caller Will Mentor

Join us for an evening of contra dancing–and celebrate our 11th birthday!–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. We’ll break out the fruit and cookies at our mid-dance intermission.

Will Mentor
Will Mentor

This month’s caller is Will Mentor. Will hails from northern Vermont, where he also teaches fine art at Saint Michael’s College, in Burlington. On the dance stage, Will is known for his relaxed, upbeat presence and for choreographing fun and sometimes surprising sequences of dances and tempos.

Providing the tunes will be:

Cardinal Direction

From the band’s website: “Cardinal Direction (formerly Firefly) brings beautiful melodies and relentless energy to dance floors and listening audiences across the Northeast. Their repertoire is drawn from the Irish, New England, and Quebecois traditions, and seamlessly mixes oldies-but-goodies with modern compositions.”

Supporting Cedar Stanistreet (on fiddle) and Rebecca Bosworth-Clemens (on clarinet and banjo) with fresh Maine-made grooves will be local favorite Jamie Oshima on guitar, piano, and foot percussion.

  • Cedar Stanistreet—fiddle
  • Rebecca Bosworth-Clemens—clarinet & banjo
  • Jamie Oshima—guitar, piano & foot percussion

Sound by Eric Weest Johnson

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, email us at belfastflyingshoes@gmail.com, or visit www.belfastflyingshoes.org. Find us on Facebook too!

Belfast Flying Shoes VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY

coat-hook

All of that stuff that gets heaped by the door,
we’d sure like to keep it all up off the floor!
Lee has milled boards, but they’re still quite rough
and need to be planed – can you help with this stuff?
Plane boards, and sand them, and paint them all bright,
then install at the Legion for first Friday nights!
(Help with this project, we’d certainly treasure!
And working together can be such a pleasure!)
If you have the gumption and can help us out
with coat hooks divine – just give us a shout!

Chris Barstow belfastflyingshoes@gmail.com 542-3616, text or voice

Grouping Together & Working in Harmony

Belfast Flying Shoes is an affiliate member of the Country Dance & Song Society, and the below message from CDSS seems relevant to all of us at Belfast Flying Shoes. We are, each of us, grouping together and working in harmony by dancing on first Fridays, playing in the BFS All-Comers Band or at the contras, and participating in BFS outreach efforts (contra dance residencies in local schools and youth orgs, Tues night contras, etc). Below is the complete CDSS post.

Photo by Doug Plummer
Photo by Doug Plummer

Today, More Than Ever, I Believe That Dance, Music & Song Build Community!

Today, more than ever, I believe that dance, music and song build community. I know you do too and that is why you are part of the CDSS family. Building community through dance, music and song is what CDSS does best. It is what YOU do best! Today, I wanted to reach out to each and every one of you to share what I deeply believe.

I deeply believe in the transformative power of participatory arts. We are the best ones to build and rebuild the social safety nets and social contracts of our communities to include everyone. Even before this country was founded, community-based organizations took care of the community before there were institutions to do so. In 1840, Alexis de Tocqueville noted how we did this, “Americans group together to hold fêtes, found seminaries, build inns, construct churches, distribute books, dispatch missionaries to the antipodes. They establish hospitals, prisons, schools by the same method. Finally, if they wish to highlight a truth or develop an opinion by the encouragement of a great example, they form an association.”
(Tocqueville, 1840).

Photo by Doug Plummer
Photo by Doug Plummer

On March 23, 1915 this association of ours was founded. All of you have made CDSS what it is today. Our arts have the capacity to bring people together. We know this and we have witnessed this. It is what we do and will do for our next 100 years.

Photo by Doug Plummer
Photo by Doug Plummer

A young adult leader in our community posted an excerpt of the lyrics of a beloved song from camp, Here is My Home by Si Kahn and John McCutcheon, on the CDSS Week at Buffalo Gap/Timber Ridge social media page this morning. Thank you, Cecily Mills for inspiration this morning!

Come darkness, come light
Where are we bound?
Come morning, come light
Here is my home

For those who work in harmony,
Where are we bound?
Can learn to live in unity;
Here is my home

Come darkness, come light
Where are we bound?
Come morning, come light
Here is my home

I urge us all to lift our voices in song, pick up the pick or the bow, take hands four or merely hold the hand of the person next to you to guide them down the hall. Together let’s build community!

With gratitude in dance, music and song,

Rima Dael

Name That Band! Dave Langford, Glen Loper, and Bethany Waickman Bring Yet-to-be-Named Trio to Belfast Flying Shoes Contra Dance: Friday, November 4, 2016, with Caller David Smukler

Join us for an evening of 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.

David Smukler
David Smukler

This month’s caller is Syracuse, N.Y.-based David Smukler. Active on the dance circuit in the Northeast for over thirty years–and a favorite among Flying Shoes regulars–David is also a traditional-dance scholar and writer, and a prolific creator of new dances. He will share the Flying Shoes stage with …

Dave Langford, Glen Loper & Bethany Waickman

One of the marvels of New England’s traditional music community is its endlessly recombinant nature. This month’s band joins three perennial dance-circuit favorites in a trio too new to even have a name. Fiddler extraordinaire, guitarist, and teacher Dave Langford is best known as a member of the Latter Day Lizards. Mandolinist and tenor banjo player Glen Loper picks also with Frigate, Steampacket, and Riptide, among other bands. Bethany Waickman is the rhythm section of the dance trio Anadama, but her clean, driving DADGAD guitar has also backed such luminaries as fiddlers Lissa Schneckenburger and Rodney Miller and accordionist Jeremiah McLane.

Bethany Waickman, Glen Loper, Dave Langford
Bethany Waickman, Glen Loper, Dave Langford

Dave Langford—fiddle
Glen Loper—mandolin, tenor banjo, stomping
Bethany Waickman—guitar

Sound by Eric Weest Johnson

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, email us at belfastflyingshoes@gmail.com, or visit www.belfastflyingshoes.org. Find us on Facebook too!

This month’s dance is the occasion of our annual Lost-and-Found Auction. Bid on the many fine items left behind at this year’s dances! All proceeds will be donated to Waterfall Arts, in Belfast.

Welcome Chris! Farewell Willy & Chloe!

Our non­profit organization, Belfast Flying Shoes, is led by a dedicated board of directors. Over the past few months, our board has undergone a few changes.

Chris Barstow
Chris Barstow

To our great delight, Chris Barstow has joined the board, bringing her enthusiasm, level head, and wealth of useful experience. Chris’s amazing culinary skills were on display at the Sept. 30 Stylish Contras dance, for which she organized a gorgeous potluck dessert buffet (featuring many of her own delectable baked treats). Welcome Chris! We’re so happy you are part of the BFS leadership team.

Willy Clemetson and Chloe Isis
Willy Clemetson and Chloe Isis

As we welcome Chris to the board, we bid fond farewells to two of our esteemed members, Willy Clemetson and Chloe Isis, who have moved on to new adventures. Both were a joy to have on the BFS leadership team, contributing valuable ideas and insights, as well as carrying out many important tasks involved in putting on the dance. We will miss them, and we wish them both well!

In addition to the board, BFS is sustained by a spirited cadre of volunteers, whose efforts–helping out on dance night and also behind the scenes–are equally appreciated. Thank you all!

Want to help keep Belfast Flying Shoes fresh and vital? Send us a volunteer form or talk to us at the dances (we’re the folks wearing the snazzy, purple BFS buttons).

Your BFS Board: Phyllis Buchanan (president), Chrissy Fowler (secretary), Bill Frysinger (treasurer), Alex Mann, Bruce Snider, Chris Barstow, and Lee Stover

Last chance to Find what you’ve Lost at BFS

lost-and-found-cartoon

Time to empty the overflowing Lost & Found bin that Belfast Flying Shoes keeps at the Legion. Missing your water bottle, favorite dance shoes, or perhaps your sense of perspective?

Last chance to claim Lost Stuff for Free is this Friday OCTOBER 7. Everything must go at the November 4 first Fri Flying Shoes dances, for cash donations to benefit local arts non-profit Waterfall Arts.

Questions? Call 338-0979 or email belfastflyingshoes@gmail.com

Pete’s Posse Saddles Up for Belfast Flying Shoes Contra Dance: Friday, October 7, 2016, with Caller Mary Wesley

Join us for an evening of 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.

Mary Wesley
Mary Wesley

This month’s caller is Mary Wesley. A Vermont native and the granddaughter of two square dance callers, Mary got swept up in the magic of contra dancing at her first dance, in 2005, and was soon following in the family tradition. She travels widely, calling dances on both coasts and up in Canada. Back at home, she keeps busy organizing the fourth-Friday dance series in Burlington and working in a number of dance advocacy groups. Her calling is energetic, fresh, and fun. Sharing the Flying Shoes stage with Mary will be:

Pete’s Posse

Renowned singer, composer, dance musician, and co-founder of  of the legendary Clayfoot Strutters, Pete Sutherland has rounded up his talented multi-instrumentalist protégé, Oliver Scanlon, and the dynamic rhythm guitarist Tristan Henderson to form a contra power trio: Pete’s Posse. The band’s website describes their sound as “twin fiddles in tight, wild harmony over high-powered guitar and pounding footwork with mandolin, clawhammer banjo, jaw harp, and rocking keyboards adding their voices to the mix.” Whoa! Care to dance, pardner?

  • Pete Sutherland—fiddle, piano, banjo
  • Oliver Scanlon—fiddle, mandolin, dobro, foot percussion
  • Tristan Henderson—guitar, mandolin, jaw harp, bodhran, foot percussion

Sound by Glen Loper

Pete’s Posse: Pete Sutherland, Oliver Scanlon, and Tristan Henderson (left to right)
Pete’s Posse: Pete Sutherland, Oliver Scanlon, and Tristan Henderson (left to right)

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. Make sure to check the Lost and Found basket for anything you left behind at recent dances; remaining items will be sold to benefit Waterfall Arts at the November dance. For more information: call 338-0979, email us at belfastflyingshoes@gmail.com, or visit www.belfastflyingshoes.org. Find us on Facebook too!

Announcing…YAH-BFS! The Youth Advisory Horde* for Belfast Flying Shoes!

Do you love Belfast Flying Shoes?
Do you have opinions & ideas about how it can keep thriving?
Is your age 12-21?
… Then do we ever have an opportunity for you!

yah-contra

Announcing…
YAH-BFS!
The Youth Advisory Horde* for Belfast Flying Shoes!

What is it?

Starting in 2017, YAH-BFS is a one year commitment for individuals ages 12-21. YAH-BFS members will attend Belfast Flying Shoes board meetings and be copied on BFS board emails. At meetings, they will offer their valuable perspective on board actions and decisions. (If YAH-BFS members choose to take on any additional role in BFS work, the board welcomes that participation.)

What next?

If you’re interested, complete the “Be a BFS Volunteer” form, including your age, and return it to us. We will accept applications until November 4, 2016. In November, we’ll select the first YAH-BFS team from that pool of applicants and we’ll introduce the YAH-BFS team at our December dance (BFS’s 11th birthday party!). You can submit your form in person, at a dance, or electronically via belfastflyingshoes@gmail.com

Download Volunteer form as Word Doc

Questions?

See a board member or email belfastflyingshoes@gmail.com

We’re really excited to start working with the YAH-BFS team!

Your BFS Board,
Phyllis Buchanan, president
Bill Frysinger, treasurer
Chrissy Fowler, secretary
Alex Mann
Bruce Snider
Chloe Isis
Christina Barstow
Lee Stover

*Youth and Advisory are self-explanatory, and in case Siri isn’t available, a Horde is a teeming crowd or throng, a great multitude, a swarm… which captures exactly the fun energy we are looking for in this new group.

Special Stylish Contras Dance with Caller Lisa Greenleaf , Music by Sassafras Stomp, and a Tasty Dessert Potluck: Friday, September 30, 2016 — 8:00 pm

Join us for an evening of stylish contra dancing, amazing music, and sweet treats at American Legion Post #43, 143 Church Street in Belfast. Calling this special Fifth Friday dance, in her eagerly awaited first visit to Belfast, is Lisa Greenleaf. Based in the Boston area, Lisa travels the country and beyond, teaching and calling for dances, camps, and festivals. She’s widely acclaimed for her humor, high-energy calling, and clear teaching of zesty, flowing dances. Sharing the Flying Shoes stage with Lisa will be:

Sassafras Stomp

When they’re not at work at their Songbird Farm, in Unity, Johanna Davis and Adam Nordell fill their calendar with a coast-to-coast slate of concerts, workshops, weddings, and dances. The Sassafras Stomp website describes their fiddle-and-guitar sound as “sweet, high-energy folk music.” Threading freely through the Celtic, New England, Acadian, and old time traditions, it’s a style that feels contemporary yet deep-rooted.

Joining Johanna and Adam will be multi-instrumentalist and local legend John Pranio. Co-founder of the North Whitefield Contra Dance, a member of the Henry Road dance band, and a favorite instructor at Maine Fiddle Camp, Pranio is known for his elegant musicianship, unerring good taste, and tireless efforts to inject Beatles music into the standard contra dance repertoire.

  • Johanna Davis—fiddle
  • Adam Nordell—guitar and foot percussion
  • John Pranio—fiddle, banjo, harmonica, and mandolin

Sound provided by Eric Weest Johnson