Our participatory arts programs fulfill the BFS nonprofit mission!
Please read our Community Care Policy for public events, including First Friday Dance Series.
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.
Airs every Friday at 6 pm (encore airing Wed at 1 pm). Tune in at 100.9 FM, listen via Livestream, and listen On Demand. Make Requests. Transcripts and tune lists of past shows – here.
First Friday Music & Dance Programs ~
Celebrating the positive impacts of gathering together for participatory music and dance. Please read our Community Care Policy and our First Friday FAQ
All Comers Band warmup 6:00, Community Dance 6:30, Contra Dance 8:00 at the First Church in Belfast UCC. BFS contra dances use the role terms lark & robin. Details on the calendar.
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 programs for older adults
- Music and movement in congregate care, assisted, and independent residential living
- “Sing Along and Tap Your Toes” outdoor concerts and videos. (See the Older Adults tab.
Programs for residents at the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center
- Music lessons, instruments, and contra dancing
Past programs include:
- Community dances for staff, mentors, and mentees at the Restorative Justice Project
- Period dance lessons for the Game Loft’s Coming of Age in America programs
- Lessons for a Regency Ball at MSSM
Outdoor Events ~
Music and dance programs in public parks.
Past events include Sundays in the Park, Open Air Kitchen Party, Dancing in the Park
Special Dances ~
Dance programs that are just a little different than our usual fare.
Past dances include a Beatles Contra; a “Put Your Hoe Down” square dance; an English country dance; and more!
Programs to support dancers, musicians, callers, and organizers.
Past workshops include:
- 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
Other Programs to Support the BFS Mission ~
Let’s face it, sometimes something wild just strikes our fancy! Here are a few things we’ve done; stay tuned for others that might emerge!
- Donated dance-related films and children’s books to the Belfast Free Library
- Hosted a trad dance & music film series
- Hosted a film about an influential band, followed by a jam session and chat
- Staged a live theater production of “The Dancingmaster“
- Facilitated panel discussions with teens and others
- Produced concerts, including this one with Genticorum and this one with Sean Heely & Owen Kennedy
- Experimented with an online Social Break (virtual event with music, dance, visiting, and lots of laughter)
- Produced a celebration of Ragtime Music with special shows for RSU71 students
- And more!
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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!
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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: