Tapestry Folkdance Center in MN

Photo of BFS Community Dance, taken by visiting fiddler Eileen Kalfass

Our monthly Community Dance is a treasure. Last month, the contra performers were especially gobsmacked by the joy emanating from the All-Comers Band and the dancers of all ages. BFS board members are on a listserv for dance organizers and a recent exchange focused on family & community dances around North America. Check out this inspiring radio interview with a father and daughter (both callers!) about the family-oriented dance series at the Tapestry Folkdance Center in Minneapolis. Seems like they’ve got the all-ages joy flowing too!

Family Dance on the Radio

Lost & Found Clearance Nov 3

Our Lost & Found bin is overflowing with stuff–shirts, jackets, water bottles, shoes, hats, socks… Wow! Guess it’s time for our annual clearance! Everything Must Go on November 3 for cash donations to benefit local non-profit The Game Loft, whose youth programs have overlapped with BFS in the past (see blog post from Nov 2016.)

Remember, Lost & Found can be reclaimed from the BFS Lost/Found bin whenever the American Legion is open–Legion club # is 338-1202. (Check the black bin on the red/black metal cabinet in the back corner of the Legion’s dance hall.)

{Put Your} Hoe Down!

Sassafras Stomp

On Sunday, October 15, put your hoe down and take your tractor to Rockport for an extra BFS dance! In celebration of the new farmer movement in Maine, Belfast Flying Shoes is partnering with Sassafras Stomp to host a special square dance party. A whole evening of fun, high-energy square dances called by Vermont’s Will Mentor to driving, old-time fiddle music by Sassafras Stomp. Dancing from 6-9 pm, Sunday, Oct. 15th, at the Rockport Opera House. Come early for a BYO Picnic at 4 pm in nearby Mary Lea Park. $10 admission at the door for adults, $8 ages 13-20, $5 for kids. EVERYONE is welcome, including people who have never square danced before. Bring your friends, water bottles, and dancing shoes. Do not bring weeding tools!

Pour Us Another!: New Brew Percolates at the Belfast Flying Shoes Contra Dance Friday, October 6, 2017, with Caller David Millstone

David Millstone

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 David Millstone. David started contra dancing with Dudley Laufman in the early 1970s and for 40 years has called dances throughout the US, Canada, and Europe. His monthly dance in Norwich, Vermont, with the band Northern Spy, had one of the longest runs of any dance series in New England: 1980–2015. With a repertoire ranging from traditional New England chestnuts to high-energy recent compositions, David calls contras, squares, and interesting dances in odd formations. He is known for his clear and supportive teaching style, the breadth of his repertoire, his sense of humor, and his ability to pick dances that offer the right level of challenge for all audiences. Sharing the Flying Shoes stage with David will be …

New Brew: Tom Santarsiero, Jane Knoeck, Eileen (Nicholson) Kalfass (left-right)

New Brew

New Brew blends a rich texture of musical traditions from Europe, New England, Quebec, and Cape Breton with more modern styles. Fiddler Eileen (Nicholson) Kalfass’s classical technique and rich tone complement her varied approach to violin and fiddle. She also tours with Seaglass and Continental Drift. Jane Knoeck, on piano and accordion, has played for contra dance festivals and camps throughout the US and abroad with the Groovemongers, Montage, and other bands. Tom Santarsiero’s eclectic approach to guitar, mandolin, banjo, and foot percussion anchors the music in a contagious rhythm, while giving both his fellow musicians and dancers room for expression.

Eileen (Nicholson) Kalfass—fiddle
Jane Knoeck—piano and accordion
Tom Santarsiero—guitar, mandolin, banjo, and foot percussion

Sound by Glen Loper

Our Brains on Dancing (again!)

According to, “As we grow older we suffer a decline in mental and physical fitness, which can be made worse by conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. A new study, published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, shows that older people who routinely partake in physical exercise can reverse the signs of aging in the brain, and dancing has the most profound effect.”

It’s not traditional participatory social dance that’s improving brain function (as in a previous BFS blog post), but the dance routines in this study included “chassee” (a.k.a. sashay) and “shifts of center of gravity” (balance and swing, anyone?). Seems like cultivating a lifelong dancing habit is a no-brainer… or rather, a yes-brainer.

In the words of Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld, lead author of the study, “I believe that everybody would like to live an independent and healthy life, for as long as possible. Physical activity is one of the lifestyle factors that can contribute to this, counteracting several risk factors and slowing down age-related decline. I think dancing is a powerful tool to set new challenges for body and mind, especially in older age.” For those who love scientific reading, the full journal article is here.

Thanks to Argy Nestor, Director of Arts Education at the Maine Arts Commission, for posting this research in the MeArtsEd blog.

Announcing – Fall 2017 Weekly Contras!

Thursdays at the Belfast Dance Studio, starting Sept 28

Contras for All
Contras for Teens (geared toward 12-21 yo, scholarships available)
Earlybird Deadline = Sept 21
Teen Scholarship Deadline = Sept 21

Register: Mail checks to Chrissy Fowler, 93 Kaler Rd, Belfast, ME 04915.
Include name, email, and telephone.

Info: Contact Chrissy 338-0979 or

Contras for All

Thursday 7:00 – 8:30 pm

Sept 28 – first five-week session begins
Nov 2 – second five-week session begins

Earlybird rate for one session = $ 45
Earlybird rate for BOTH sessions = $ 80
One session = $ 50 Both sessions = $90

Contras for Teens

Thursday 5:45 – 6:45 pm
Geared toward ages 12-21

Sept 28 – first five-week session begins
Nov 2 – second five-week session begins

Earlybird rate for one session = $ 35
Earlybird rate for BOTH sessions = $ 60
One session = $ 40 Both sessions = $ 70
Scholarships available, funded by a grant-supported Belfast Flying Shoes outreach program for youth.
Click here for Scholarship Application Form
Scholarship deadline = Sept 21

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