Belfast Flying Shoes contra dance caller Chrissy Fowler brought the Belfast Bay Fiddlers with her to a step-lively afternoon session at East Belfast School April 5, with students, teachers and parents all taking part in the fun.

Dancers filled the gymnasium/cafeteria and "dos-à-dos'd," swung their partners and promenaded around the hall, grinning all the way. Fowler called a variety of U.S. and French Canadian dances.

Contra dancing is a form of folk dancing that participants can attend without partners, which immediately removes one of the common social obstacles to joining in the dancing fun.

A number of area schools have brought Fowler in to introduce children to contra dancing, with the expense underwritten by parent-teacher groups or the school or both. At East Belfast, Principal Elizabeth Drury said, "Our PTG has generously contributed to the cost."

Fowler visited both Nickerson School in Swanville and East Belfast for about four sessions with each grade, "beginning with one class at a time to teach the basics and to demonstrate and build the community feel," Drury said.

"The children are taught every nuance of dance and then the classes combine by two to practice their moves and invite a new friend to dance."

Fowler invited East Belfast students and parents to join in Belfast Flying Shoes' community and contra dances, held the first Friday of every month at American Legion Post 43, 143 Church St., Belfast.

She calls the community dance at 6:30 p.m. with the All Comers Band, with simple dances for adults and kids of all ages, and all are welcome. Guest callers continue with a contra dance at 8 p.m.

Belfast Flying Shoes is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. For more information, visit