Posts Tagged ‘Chrissy Fowler’

h1

Dancing

June 20, 2019

Opportunity to dance in June and July

Chrissy Fowler is one busy person – dancing into and throughout the summer. In fact, Chrissy is all about dancing! She spent the weekend of June 15, 16, and 17 at the Maine Fiddle Camp playing music, listening to more music, dancing, singing, laughing, eating tasty food, watching the snapping turtles, admiring the flora & fauna, and more. Chrissy is a ball of energy!

Below is a schedule of many other fun dancing and music events scheduled.

Saturday, June 22: BAR HARBOR – Calling a Contra Dance with Big Moose at Jesup Library, 6:30 p.m. First house is a community dance for all ages, especially families. Info: 288- 4245.

Saturday, June 29: BANGOR – Calling a Contra Dance with Spintuition at the UU Church on Park St. 7:00 p.m. intro, 7:30 dance. Info: bangorcontra.org

Friday, July 5: BELFAST – Calling the Belfast Flying Shoes (BFS) Community Dance with the All-Comers Band, 6:30 p.m. Calling the BFS Contras with Riptide, 8:00 p.m. Info: belfastflyingshoes.org.

Saturday, July 6: VINALHAVEN – Calling an outdoor Community Contra Dance with Velodipede and the Vinalhaven All Stars (Julia Plumb, Baron Collins-Hill, plus community musicians sitting in). Dancing in the Carver harbor parking lot, Main St., in downtown Vinalhaven, 6:30 p.m., free! Donations accepted, to benefit Vinalhaven Partners in Island Education. (Rain location: Vinalhaven School, 21 Arcola Lane). Transportation info: maine.gov/mdot/ferry/vinalhaven/.
 
Saturday, July 11: GREAT CRANBERRY ISLAND – Calling a Community Contra Dance with Pixie Lauer, Tom Judge, Susan Groce, Nick Appolonio, and others, at the Longfellow School, to benefit the Great Cranberry Island Historical Society. Info: gcihs.org.
Friday, July 12: ISLESBORO – Calling a Community Contra Dance with Bennett Konesni and Benjamin Fosses at the Islesboro Historical Society, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Get to Islesboro on the MDOT ferry, possible Quicksilver back to the mainland after the dance (check with Chrissy for list & availability). Info: islesborohistorical.org/.
Sunday, July 14: BAYSIDE – Calling a Community Contra Dance with Bluebird at the Bayside Community Hall at 813 Shore Road in Northport, 7:00 p.m. workshop, 7:30 p.m. dance. Info: baysidearts.org.
Saturday, July 27 (rain date July 28): Calling a Community Contra Dance with Lisa Newcomb, with music by the Don Roy Trio (Don & Cindy Roy were awarded the 2018 NEA Heritage Arts Fellowship – wow)!, 4:00 p.m. at City Park in Belfast. Part of the Belfast Flying Shoes “Dancing in the Park” outdoor dance series. Info: belfastflyingshoes.org/dancing-in-the-park/.
h1

Dance for Joy

November 9, 2018

What fun

Amber Pendleton, grade 6, Prescott Memorial School, Washington

This collage was created by Amber Pendleton who was in 5th grade at the time when Teaching Artist Chrissy Fowler provided a dance residency at Prescott Memorial School in Washington. She was working with art teacher Anthony Lufkin and a Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader (MAL) in a Gifted and Talented art class. This was Amber’s response to the fabulous opportunity. The residency took place with funding from the Maine Arts Commission Dance Education fund. This fund was established by a MALI dance teacher at Thornton Academy, Emma Arenstam Campbell. If you’re interested in bringing dance education to your school please watch for the information coming soon on this blog for the 2019-20 school year. The dance performance that has provided the funding for this grant will take place at Thornton Academy on Friday, November 16, 6:30 p.m. Only dance educators on the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist Roster are eligible for the funding. Please consider reaching out to one of them and begin planning for next year. This funding has been in place for three years and hundreds of students in grades Pre-K through 12 throughout Maine have benefited from the opportunities it has afforded. If you have questions please don’t hesitate to contact me at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

h1

In Today’s News

May 23, 2018

New England Social Dancing 

WASHINGTON — Prescott Memorial School students have been enjoying a residency this year in traditional New England social dance, or contra dancing. They have learned the basic figures of traditional social dancing, both historic and modern. It also has allowed students to connect with each other and with music/rhythm through dancing.

This has been funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Belfast Flying Shoes outreach fund. Chrissy Fowler, a member of the Belfast Flying Shoes dance community, is the dancer in residence, and she has completed two of three sessions with all kindergarten through sixth grade students. Fowler also provides professional development opportunities for the staff so they may integrate contra dancing into their classroom routines. READ MORE in the Village Soup article.

h1

Dance Grant Recipient: Prescott School

April 4, 2018

MAC Dance Education Grant – Chrissy Fowler

The Maine Arts Commission (MAC) established the Dance Education grant in 2015 to provide funding for schools to provide a learning opportunity for students in grades PK-12. Four schools, hundreds of learners, and four dance teaching artists from the MAC teaching artist roster have benefited from the funding. This funding is made possible through a dance performance sponsored by several community dance studios and school dance education programs in Maine.

Traditional social dance artist, Chrissy Fowler has been working in Prescott School, Washington this year providing instruction for the school’s K-6 students and staff. This dance residency is made possible from the Dance Education grant.

You can find Chrissy’s teaching artist profile on the Maine Arts Commission roster. The dance education grant is available right now for those interested in obtaining funds for the 2018-19 school year. For more information please go to the blog post called DANCE EDUCATION FUNDING. The deadline is Wednesday, May 2. 

Here’s the story from this year’s grant recipient… Thank you Chrissy for providing it.

Chrissy earned her M.Ed. in 1996 and started calling both community and contra dances in 1999. She has led school residencies for about a decade, and has been an educator for aeons. Leading contra dance residencies lets her combine PK-12 teaching and traditional New England social dance, the dance form which lets her identify as a “dancer” even though she doesn’t feel physically graceful. In this tradition, you work with a partner as well as everyone else in your set. Although there are sometimes roles which can be danced by anyone (e.g. “lady” or “gent”), there is no designated leader or follower. All dancers have equal agency in making the dance work—and we’re all in it together. Chrissy loves that! She’s also on the board of a local non-profit, Belfast Flying Shoes, which has a comprehensive outreach program including support for school dance residencies, such as the one at Prescott School.

RESIDENCY DESCRIPTION

All of my residencies have common goals: everyone participates in the dancing, exhibits pro-social behaviors, and makes connections across grade levels, and the residency culminates with a community dance for students, staff, and families.

At Prescott, we’re trying a few new things. First, my visits are structured in three mini-residencies, each comprised of four weekly visits and a culminating dance. Spreading it out over three seasons (fall, late winter, and late spring) has allowed me to integrate a bit more into the school community.

The residency also specifically connects to local history. Charlie Overlock, who fiddled and called for dances for 66 years, was born in Washington. He led dances all over his hometown and nearby. I’ve shared some of Charlie’s story with the students and I’ve taught dances I don’t usually use in schools – such as the foxtrot, which featured prominently in his program for the Washington High School Class of 1921’s graduation dance.

Finally, I was privileged to meet with the staff before the start of school, to find out what they wanted from the residency. Based on their input, I have made a special effort to articulate ways they can use the dances in their own classrooms (e.g. adapting them for movement breaks) and I’m putting together an annotated bibliography of children’s literature related to dance, especially various forms of traditional social dance. (When complete, the bibliography will be available to others via chrissyfowler.com and belfastflyingshoes.org)

GREATEST BENEFITS 

I lead dance residencies in many schools; some have me back every year. I think students, staff, and families value the chance to connect in a fun and active way… with eye contact, broad smiles, cooperation for all ages, and a lot of moving to music. And I think that’s the same at Prescott. We’ve witnessed a lot of joy and delight, and the best part is that contra dancing is something that they can do in their community for the rest of their lives. Maybe even with their own children.

LANGUAGE

Rather than any specific vocabulary words, I hope the learners take with them the kinesthetic language of moving their bodies through space in particular patterns. Contra dance figures such as “do-si-do” or “allemande left” are very positional, and there is also a tremendously strong left:right, clockwise:counter-clockwise dimension. We know that movement builds cognitive pathways, and contra dance can be a great way to learn, concretely, about equal and opposite forces, patterns, or directionality. The various figures also can support strong proprioceptive and vestibular systems, although that’s certainly not something I’d expect learners to articulate!

I also hope that they experience some social-emotional learning, such as the thrill of positively connecting with someone by dancing with them. Or doing the hard work of getting through a dance that’s challenging—either because the figures are complex or because you have to muster the inner strength to be kind and respectful to someone who’s not your favorite dance partner.

FUTURE REMEMBRANCE

It would be a thrill if anyone remembered the ways that contra dance is part of their own local history in Washington. Beyond that, I hope they internalize that moving – together – to songs and fiddle tunes can be both social and fun for all ages… and at any level of gracefulness!

WHAT PARTICIPANTS ARE SAYING

When students were asked for their response to the opportunity to learn with and from Chrissy, 6th graders said:

  • It is fun to learn to social dance.
  • It’s really different than I thought it would be.
  • I think it kind of feels like country but also feels a little like Scottish dancing.

Grade 6 teacher, Jim Freyenhagen:

I have been amazed at how quickly the students picked up the rhythm and the steps. The dancing makes them interact (in a positive way) with kids they don’t normally interact with.

Not only are they learning to dance but they are practicing their social skills with their peers and younger students.

Principal, Nancy Stover:

I think one of the highlights of this residency has been watching (through Chrissy’s magical techniques) how the students and staff have been able to abandon their inhibitions and try something out of their comfort zone. It has been amazing to observe students who struggle with peer relationships walk up to someone from another grade and ask if they could be their partner. It’s also heartwarming to see how well the older and younger students work together. They help each other learn the dance steps with patience and kindness, laughing and smiling all the way.

The community dance was a huge success! Parents and community members participated and those that initially observed from the audience, joined in and before the evening had ended, everyone was on the dance floor. The word spread throughout the community and we’ve had many people ask when the next community dance is scheduled. This residency has been one of the most rewarding I’ve experienced. It gives everyone a sense of belonging and inclusion while having fun! 

COMMUNITY MEMBER, HAZEL KOPISHKE, HISTORY

Charles E. Overlock was born in Washington in 1870.  His father Samuel played fiddle for kitchen dances. At the age of 6 or 7 Charles was sneaking his father’s fiddle and learning to play.  He played for his first kitchen dance at the age of 11 and continued playing for dances for 66 years. For the first years, most of the fiddle playing was for dances in homes in the neighborhood that could be  walked to. Later he would travel by horse and buggy, and in 1916 in his first automobile, to play at the many grange halls and dance halls in the area often traveling from 5 to 20 miles. Through the years the Overlock Orchestra included his wife Clara and daughter Josephine playing organ and piano and his son E. Burnell  on drums along with local cornet players. His orchestra usually consisted of 2 or 3 people but did grow to 4, 5 and once 6 members. He played for more than 300 dances at Light’s Pavillion located within sight of his home on Rt 220 between Washington village and So. Liberty.

Charles Overlock was a country fiddler that could not read music but kept people dancing for many, many years.

This information was taken from the book Sixty-Six Years A Country Fiddler, Charles E. Overlock  by E. Burnell Overlock, published 1984.

h1

Contra Dance Residency

November 2, 2017
Four Schools in One Week with Teaching Artist Chrissy Fowler
Opera House Arts (OHA) recently invited Belfast Flying Shoes (BFS) to co-sponsore a week of contra dance residencies on Deer Isle and the Blue Hill Peninsula – an exciting first for BFS!

Chrissy Fowler, MAC Teaching Artist

At the core of the collaborative outreach project, dance leader Chrissy Fowler and OHA education director Joshua McCarey visited four schools: Deer Isle – Stonington Elementary School (DISES), The Bay School, Explorations Learning Center, and Brooklin Elementary School. Over five days, 190+ amazing K-8 students, educators, and community members experienced the magic of traditional New England social dance; at the end of the week, the Stonington Opera House rang with the music of Sassafras Stomp and the dane floor was full of children and adults swinging and stamping in celebration.

hrissy, from Belfast Flying Shoes, in action

The project helped connect Chrissy with Audrey Means, a music teacher at Blue Hill Consolidated School who attended a CDSS teacher training this summer and has been dancing with her students ever since.

Below is a video documentation of the collaboration. (Thanks to Morgan and Tom at WABI for visiting DISES, and to Brooklyn Elementary School staff for sharing via Facebook. BFS outreach programs are funded through a grant from an anonymous foundation and tax-deductible contributions from individuals.
The residency was covered by WABI – Students Get Lesson in Kindness through Interactive Dance.

 

%d bloggers like this: