Dancing at Drinkwater School

As part of our outreach programming, Belfast Flying Shoes helped support a contra dance residency this winter at the K-8 Drinkwater School in Northport. The Belfast Bay Fiddlers played for the culminating dance at the end of the school day on February 14th.

Belfast Bay Fiddlers playing at Drinkwater School: Fredi Laporte, Linda Hurley, Rick Fitzsimmons, Susan Higgins, and Mary Brann on fiddles; Liz Fitzsimmons on piano; Dot Odell on whistle; Vic Tredwell on bass; Donee Wyke on mandolin; Susan Davies on guitar; Kay Zegel on mandolin; and Scott Odell on banjo.

That morning, students described what’s fun about doing this sort of dancing in school. Here’s a sampling:

  • I like the feeling of it.
  • We all dance with each other.
  • People are gentle.
  • You never get left out.
  • I like dancing with different grades.
  • It’s something you can do together with your friends.
  • I like it because it’s traditional New England dance.
  • You have a chance to dance with other people, and you might make a new friend.
  • People are kind.
  • I just love dancing.

At the All School Dance, the Belfast Bay Fiddlers played tunes as students and families were arriving, and the children clearly connected with the music—clapping hands, snapping fingers, and swaying to the rhythm. The entire school community danced together, with both elegance and exuberance. Afterward, the musicians and I chatted about the pleasures of seeing middle schoolers caringly shepherd younger students through the figures, of noticing students invite teachers and administrators to dance, and of watching a parent and child beam at each other during a swing.  What joy to share our culture of participatory music and dance!