Rays of Sunshine April 17

We’re still blessed with bounty to sustain our collective spirits.

Musical Inspiration Online:  Here are some wonderful offerings from Belfast locals and BFS regulars. Consider supporting their work with a donation, and dance around as you listen!

  1. SPINTUITION features Willy Clemetson of Belfast, who’s also a past BFS board member. Earlier this year, Spintution released their first album: 7 Year Flood. They’re booked for our contras on August 7. Right now, enjoy this video from their concert release tour and get in touch to get the album.
  2. ELOISE & CO. was booked to play the Epicenter Dance Weekend in CA with Bethany Waickman. Becky & Rachel recorded this Epicenter Gratitude concert before the stay home orders took effect.
  3. THE OSHIMA BROTHERS Every Thursday @ 6 pm – Sean and Jamie Oshima of Belfast are sending out Singstream concerts on the Oshima Bros FB page. (Check out their Green Screen World Tour too!)
  4. PALAVER STRINGS is an nonprofit chamber orchestra based in Portland whose mission is to strengthen and inspire community through music. They’re amazing – and they even play for dances! Take a listen with Palaver Solo Sessions Every Thursday @ 7 pm or archived on the Palaver Strings FB page. Here’s the 30 min April 9 show by Maya French of Belfast.
Spintuition: Samuel Foucher, Silas Hamilton, and Willy Clemetson

Surprisingly Satisfying:  As contra dancers and community dancers, we’re nurtured by the power of touch… over and over… and over again… while we dance along our set… all evening long!  Sooooo joyful! … If you’re missing that feeling as much as we are, try these three approaches:

  1. Hug a Friend, Pandemic Style – Stand at least 6′ away from a friend. Look them deeply in the eyes. Wrap your arms around your own shoulders. Hug yourself really tightly, for just a bit longer than the point at which it seems a little weird.  Release your arms. Keep looking at your friend and observe the sensation in your body.
  2. Puppy Love Channel a canine, while maintaining social distance. (Imagine you’re on a leash if you need help refraining from jumping joyfully all over your friend.) Look your friend in the eye and wag your tail… vigorously… the part where your tail would be if you had one.  Stop wagging and observe the sensation in your body.
  3. Earth Day Wisdom – There’s a reason tree-hugging dirt worshippers are so happy.  Find a tree in your yard – any day is great, including April 22 – the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Choose a tree that no one outside your germ pool has touched for at least 72 hours.  Approach it with arms extended.  Wrap those arms around the tree in a grateful hug, appreciating its gifts to our world, especially us oxygen-breathing humans. As a bonus, while you embrace fully and deeply, take notice of the texture and smell of the bark, as well as the sounds of spring. Find another tree. Repeat.

    BFS board member Chrissy Fowler hugs a tree


All Comers Tune for June 1

Scollay’s Reel is on the tune list for Maine Fiddle Camp[www.mainefiddle.org] this year. It’s a classic minor tune in the contra repertoire, attributed to the Shetland Isles. Check out the Maine Fiddle Camp website for more tunes, plus info on how to register for MFC’s amazing music camps in June and August.

slow version:

mp3 recording:

{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!

A Current Event: Riptide Returns to Belfast Flying Shoes Contra Dance

Owen Marshall, Mark “Pokey” Hellenberg, Glen Loper, Alden Robinson (left to right)
Owen Marshall, Mark “Pokey” Hellenberg, Glen Loper, Alden Robinson (left to right)

Maine-based contra quartet Riptide draws dancers into a joyfully irresistible flow of sound and motion. Band members Alden Robinson, Glen Loper, Owen Marshall, and Mark “Pokey” Hellenberg–whip up their Franco-Celtic-American repertoire with a sweetness and energy that must be heard to be believed. And unlike the band’s hydrologically hazardous namesake, it’s completely safe!

  • Alden Robinson—fiddle
  • Glen Loper—mandolin, tenor banjo, and foot percussion
  • Owen Marshall—guitar and harmonium
  • Mark “Pokey” Hellenberg—percussion

Belfast’s own Chrissy Fowler calls this month, with sound provided by John Cote.