Rays of Sunshine Sept 2023

After a steamy start to September, it’s feeling a bit more autumnal in Belfast. Time for some Rays of Sunshine!

Scandi Dance & Music:

Our recent Scandi programs with Bagaduce Music were a delight for all concerned. Folks dug in deep to the tunes at the musicians’ workshop, and the dancers learned new partner communication skills, some glorious slängpolska options, plus a really fun 4-person schottis. We’re already looking forward to Andrea’s 2024 visit!

Bagaduce director Bennett Konesni and Scandi dance leader Andrea Larson

Strung Together:

After a delightful collaboration at the Armenian picnic, we’re strengthening ties with the Makers Guild of Maine further. C’mon out to the Strung Together Old Time & Bluegrass Music Campout Sept 15-17! Contra tunes with Willy Clemetson & dancing with Chrissy Fowler, plus all the other good times on the shores of Penobscot Bay. Info: makersguildmaine.org/strung-together/

Willy Clemetson, fiddling at the shore

Summer Newsletter:

Flying Shoes has much to be grateful for, including these tidbits we sent to our nonprofit contributors, below. We’re glad you’re in the Flying Shoes community. Enjoy the upcoming equilibrium of the Equinox!

~ Chrissy & the rest of the BFS leadership team (Alessandra, Alex, Ethan, Jennifer, Kay, Margo, Mike, & Morgan)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

August 20, 2023

Summer is at its zenith in Belfast, and our shoes have certainly been flying!  With all the good things happening, it’s an excellent time to pause and reflect on what BFS does in the community.  Here’s an update on three of our programs:

Dancers Joining Hands (from a student's thank you note)

BFS School Residencies:

In a new program, funded in part by a 2022 Expansion Arts Grant from the Maine Community Foundation, Flying Shoes teaching artists facilitated 112 class sessions of singing and dancing in pre-K through Grade 2 classrooms in RSU 71. With an additional three school residencies in the region, BFS connected with 380 students, 52 staff members, and 105 family members. Wow! The student artwork, above, gives a very clear picture — Smiling faces all!

Music Lessons at the Reentry Center:

In an ongoing program at the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center, a corrections facility here in Belfast, John Pranio has provided 27+ music lessons since January–plus an equal measure of informal mentorship and community connection. The Reentry Center residents are completing their sentences and preparing to return to their communities, and music-making is a powerful support in that process. John recently shared that a new student has been especially motivated to learn. Apparently, his mom always wanted him to play an instrument when he was a kid, but he never did… until now!

Dancing at the Rockport Opera House in 2022

Dances on First Fridays and Beyond:

The First Friday series is thriving, thanks to a committed crowd of volunteer helpers, newly streamlined processes, and a collaborative organizing team. Whenever we see BFS dancers and musicians around town, they’re excited about all of the opportunities for dancing and playing: workshops, waltzing, a Scandi dance party, dances at the Rockport Opera House, a square dance, collaborations with the YMCA, and (we hope) another dance on the Armistice Footbridge.

We’re grateful to have so many lovely venues to dance in, at at the same time we’re dreaming of a future Belfast dance hall that will accommodate our joyful throngs of dancers and musicians. Do let us know if you have ideas!

We always love hearing about how BFS inspires you ~ so, please be in touch if you have feedback or thoughts! May you and yours revel in the delights of the season.

Chrissy Fowler, BFS Executive Director

(on behalf of the BFS Board of Directors: Jennifer Armstrong, Margo Burnham, Alex Mann, Alessandra Martinelli, Ethan Tischler & Kay Zegel and the First Friday Committee: Morgan Cafferata, Mike Wright & Chrissy Fowler)