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 on WBFY ~ 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.

Tune in at 100.9 FM, catch it via Livestream, and listen On Demand. Airs every Friday @6 pm (encore Wed @1 pm). Send requests to [email protected]. (Past playlists on Spinitron and a few transcripts here.)

First Friday Dance Series

All Comers Band warmup 6:00, Community Dance 6:30, Contra Dance 8:00 at the First Church in Belfast UCC. The contra dances use the role terms lark & robin. Please read our Community Care Policy and our First Friday FAQ. (See Calendar for more details about the series)

School Residencies

Participatory music and dance programs to build community among students, staff, and families in preK-12 schools. (See School Residencies)

Community Programming

~ For older adults living in congregate care, assisted living, and independent residential living. Music and movement programs include the “Sing Along and Tap Your Toes” concerts and videos. (See Older Adults)

~ For incarcerated men at the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center. Music and movement programs include music lessons and contra dancing, plus donating instruments (More here)

Special Dances

Dance offerings that are a little bit different than our usual fare


Programs to support dancers, musicians, callers, and organizers

Other Programs

Sometimes special ideas strike our fancy!  Details on the calendar.

Some of our Past Programs:

  • Armenian Picnic, Strung Together Music Campout, Square Dances & Concerts (programs in partnership with the Makers Guild of Maine)
  • Scandinavian dance parties with Frigg, the Belfast Spelmanslag, Kongero (programs in partnership with Bagaduce Music)
  • Outdoor events (Sundays in the Park, Open Air Kitchen Party, dances on the Armistice Footbridge, and Dancing in the Park)
  • Music and percussive dance workshops
  • Weekly contra dance lessons for teens and adults
  • Music workshops for contra and ECD musicians
  • Leadership workshops for callers
  • Community dances at the Restorative Justice Project
  • Period dance lessons for the Game Loft
  • Dance lessons and a Regency Ball at Maine School of Science & Mathematics
  • Dance-related films and children’s books for the Belfast Free Library
  • Trad dance & music film series, plus a film about an influential band followed by a jam session and chat
  • A live theater production of “The Dancingmaster
  • Panel discussions with teens and others
  • Concerts with Genticorum, Sean Heely & Owen Kennedy, Becky Tracy & Keith Murphy
  • Online programs of music, dance, visiting, and lots of laughter
  • Celebration of Ragtime Music with special shows for RSU71 students
  • 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: