Books and Recordings for Belfast Library

The people of our city are wild, not Oscar Wilde exactly, but they have a craze fully equal to his aesthetic craze, and it has taken the form of dancing. … The craze is not confined to the young people: the middle aged, the thin haired, the white haired, the lame, the halt, and blind are gathered into the mazy dance. … Children, fathers, mothers, grandfathers, and grandmothers, meet in the same quadrille… .
Courtesy Belfast Historical Society, taken from a newspaper clipping in a scrap book for the Unitarian Parish Party, December 7, 1881

On display on the 3rd floor of the Belfast Free Library, this map by Margot Carpenter and Alex Mann shows dance halls in Belfast from 1800-1899.

Dance shoes have been flying in Belfast for centuries! Today, we’re excited to enhance the Belfast Free Library’s collection with some juicy books and recordings. Check out the press release and swing yourself right into chapters like these:

  • Square Roots
  • Transforming Tradition
  • Religion and Dancing
  • Blue Ridge Breakdown: Stability and Tradition in an African American Community
  • Old Time Fiddling and Country Dancing in North America: Some Reconsiderations
  • “Everybody Needs Identity”: Reviving Cherokee Dance
  • Why Music Matters
  • For Love or Money
BFS board secretary, Chrissy Fowler, with books and recordings for the Belfast Free Library.

BELFAST – Belfast Flying Shoes recently donated four dance-related scholarly works to the Belfast Free Library, to help locals connect our vibrant culture of participatory music and dance to its deep roots. The local arts nonprofit also donated a set of instructional books and recordings for community dance leaders.

According to Sharon Pietryka, Reference/Special Collections Librarian, “Dance has long been vital to the community of Belfast. Even a cursory exploration of local newspaper archives reveals its prominence in the social lives of the city’s residents. The Belfast Free Library is pleased to make these important histories available to the public.”

Belfast Flying Shoes board member, Chrissy Fowler, adds, “We can’t join hands together in dance right now, but with these four eye-opening books, we can learn more about the complex histories and diverse aspects of our local traditions.  I’m also thrilled that the New England Dancing Masters resources – which have influenced my own dance leadership – are now available for teachers, parents, homeschoolers, and community leaders alike.”

In Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance, author Phil Jamison undertakes the challenge of “uncovering reliable evidence to explain the historical development of these American folk dances,” as practiced by a “diverse mix of Europeans, African Americans, and indigenous Native Americans.”

Thomas Turino’s Music as Social Life: The Politics of Participation explores “why it is that music and dance are so often at the center of our most profound personal and social experiences.”

Rounding out the donation are Communities in Motion: Dance, Community, and Tradition in America’s Southeast and Beyond by Susan Eike Spalding and Jane Harris Woodside, eds., and Appalachian Dance: Creativity and Continuity in Six Communities by Susan Eike Spalding.

The mission of Belfast Flying Shoes is to bolster the spirited dance and music community of Midcoast Maine. Visit and for more.