BELFAST — Belfast Flying Shoes, the nonprofit arts organization that produces first Friday community and contra dances, was awarded a $5000 grant from the Expansion Arts Fund of the Maine Community Foundation to expand their outreach with residents at the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center (MCRRC) in Belfast, adding participatory music-making to a participatory traditional social dance program.
“This grant award validates our work with Reentry Center residents,” said Chrissy Fowler, the board secretary of Belfast Flying Shoes, in a news release. “Prosocial values of inclusiveness and mutual respect are embedded in our local culture of contra dance and music. These values fit well with the mission of the Reentry Center. But even better, we’re smiling and laughing together.”
The Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center is a residential program designed to give incarcerated men the skills and experience they need to live successfully as citizens and employees after they transition into their home communities.
Robyn Goff, MCRRC program Mmnager, explains an aspect of the Belfast Flying Shoes programming.
“People heal when they feel connected,” said Goff. “That’s what contra dance does; it connects people.”
Belfast Flying Shoes was founded in 2005 with a mission to bolster the spirited dance community in Midcoast Maine. In addition to first Friday dances and the collaboration with MCRRC, their programs include school residencies, workshops for musicians, and special events. For more information, visit www.belfastflyingshoes.org
Headquartered in Ellsworth, with additional personnel in Portland, Dover-Foxcroft, and Mars Hill, the Maine Community Foundation works with donors and other partners to improve the quality of life for all Maine people. To learn more about the foundation, visit www.mainecf.org