Our participatory arts programs fulfill the BFS nonprofit mission!
Flying Shoes Radio Hour ~ A weekly show produced for hyper-local community radio station, WBFY ~ belfastcommunityradio.org. Highlighting the contra dance music we love, here in Belfast and beyond; the musicians who play it with and for others; and the dancers of all ages that it inspires.
First Friday Music & Dance Programs ~ Celebrating the positive impacts of gathering together for participatory music and dance. Details on the calendar. BFS contra dances use the role terms lark and robin. Please read our Public Health Policy.
School Residencies ~ Participatory music and dance programs to build community among students, staff, and families in preK-12 schools. Details and some resources on the School Residencies page.
Community Programming ~
- Community-building music/dance/movement for older adults, including a collaboration with Hospice Volunteers of Waldo County and BCTV2 for “Sing Along and Tap Your Toes” ~ outdoor concerts and videos. More here, on the Older Adults tab.
- Music lessons, instruments, and community dancing for residents at the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center.
- Dancing for mentors and staff at the Restorative Justice Project
Workshops ~ Programs like these:
- Music and percussive dance workshops at Sundays in the Park
- Weekly contra dance lessons for teens and adults
- Music workshops for contra and ECD musicians
- Leadership workshops for callers
- Period dance lessons for the Game Loft and for a Regency Ball at a high school
Other Programs to Support the BFS Mission ~
- Donating dance-related films and children’s books to the Belfast Free Library
- Trad dance & music film series
- Film & jam session
- Live theater production of “The Dancingmaster“
- Panel discussions with teens and others
- Online Social Break (virtual event with music, dance, visiting, and lots of laughter)
- And more!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Array of Impacts of BFS programming:
- A former Reentry Center resident was so positively influenced by our music programs that he hopes to musically mentor current Reentry residents from the “other side of the fence.”
- At Sing Along and Tap Your Toes concerts, the older adults in the audience clapped, swayed, and sang with enthusiasm, including one person who seemed to be napping when their wheelchair was rolled out but then belted out all of the verses and chorus.
- A fifth grader, excited about learning ukulele chords in a BFS residency, put a ukulele on their holiday wish list.
- After a music jam at Sundays in the Park, an All Comers Band musician exclaimed, “That was the best we’ve sounded in months!”
- At a school residency, a student who has challenges in school was invited to try out the wooden spoons. They demonstrated extraordinary rhythm and skill, outshining grade-level classmates and receiving effusive compliments from the performers.
- One evening, a parent messaged, “My child couldn’t stop talking about a dance in French. Can you send me the music?” We replied and the parent immediately messaged, “Thanks! She’s dancin’!”
- An online participant at a BFS Social Break said their face felt just like it did at a dance—a bit achy from smiling so much.
- Program leaders have shared how meaningful it has been to work with people in person—some in their first gigs in months—including a fiddler who had tears in their eyes during the sound check.
Here’s what people say about BFS programs:
Resident at the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center: [Taking BFS music lessons] has been a life changing experience for me. The discovery of musical expression has changed my very being. It is my number one way to cope with stress and anxiety. It has also played a huge role in my recovery.
Elementary school music teacher: Thank you so much for coming in! I have already been using a bunch of the things I learned in all my classes. It has truly freed me up to put the fun back in music.
Nurse practitioner: Contra dances heal me.
Dancer at the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center: I had to step a little out of my comfort zone, but it was so fun and energetic that I smiled the whole time.
Grade 4 student in RSU 71: I like playing the ukulele with my friends. My class has been learning our first ukulele song and have all learned how to tune the instrument. Every ukulele day, I can’t wait for the lessons to start!
Activities director for a skilled nursing community: This weekly program has meant a lot to our residents, seeing people from the community and being outdoors. What a treat to have this entertainment!
Contra dance caller: Belfast Flying Shoes has always been an inspiration to me for how to really engage the community, and these programs are just one more example.
Elementary school principal: I was amazed by how well-behaved and engaged our students were, with the whole student body dancing in the gymnasium. This was an incredible experience for them!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
For more information on programs or to support BFS with a tax deductible donation, contact us: [email protected]
Programs are made possible with generous support from individual donors, private foundations, grantors, sponsors, and our past and current project partners, including: