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Belfast Flying Shoes helps keep dance history, culture alive

Sep 25, 2020
On display at the Belfast Free Library, this map by Margot Carpenter and Alex Mann shows dance halls in Belfast from 1800 to 1899.

Belfast — Belfast Flying Shoes recently donated four dance-related scholarly works to the Belfast Free Library, to help locals connect our vibrant culture of participatory music and dance to its deep roots. The local arts nonprofit also donated a set of instructional books and recordings for community dance leaders.

According to Sharon Pietryka, reference/special collections librarian, "Dance has long been vital to the community of Belfast. Even a cursory exploration of local newspaper archives reveals its prominence in the social lives of the city's residents. The Belfast Free Library is pleased to make these important histories available to the public. "

Belfast Flying Shoes board member Chrissy Fowler added, "We can't join hands together in dance right now, but with these four eye-opening books, we can learn more about the complex histories and diverse aspects of our local traditions. I'm also thrilled that the New England Dancing Masters resources — which have influenced my own dance leadership — are now available for teachers, parents, homeschoolers and community leaders alike."

In "Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance," author Phil Jamison undertakes the challenge of "uncovering reliable evidence to explain the historical development of these American folk dances," as practiced by a "diverse mix of Europeans, African Americans, and indigenous Native Americans."

Thomas Turino's "Music as Social Life: The Politics of Participation" explores "why it is that music and dance are so often at the center of our most profound personal and social experiences." Rounding out the donation are "Communities in Motion" and "Appalachian Dance: Creativity and Continuity in Six Communities."

The mission of Belfast Flying Shoes is to bolster the spirited dance and music community of Midcoast Maine. Visit and to learn more.


Belfast Flying Shoes board secretary, Chrissy Fowler, with books donated to the Belfast Free Library.
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