LEWISTON – People of all ages will have a chance to shake a leg at the Lewiston Public Library this weekend, courtesy of two community folk dance events in Callahan Hall.

The band Bustopher Jones will kick off the fun at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, performing a variety of jigs and reels for an evening of contra dancing under the direction of caller Maggie Robinson of Falmouth. The event is geared to adults and teens, with no prior dance experience required. Admission is $5, with a reduced rate of $2 for full-time students of any age.

Special guest fiddler Jessie Gagne-Hall of Brattleboro, Vt., will join Bustopher Jones members Greg Boardman on fiddle, John Cote on guitar and feet, Alfred Lund on percussion, and Anthony Shostak on banjo, bagpipes and didgeridoo. Gagne-Hall studied fiddle with Boardman while she was enrolled at Bates College a few years ago, and several of Boardman’s other young fiddle protegés have been invited to sit in on a couple of numbers during the evening.

On Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m., the library will host a family barn dance featuring caller Kathryn Larson of New Gloucester and a multigenerational band of Lewiston-Auburn area musicians. Admission is $1.

Larson, who runs a popular monthly family dance at the Wescustogo Hall in North Yarmouth, encourages youngsters of all ages to bring their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and teenage siblings to join in a lively mix of fun and easy old-time New England contra and square dances. There will also be some traditional mountain dances from her home state of Virginia done in a big circle formation.

“The best thing about this kind of dancing,” said Larson, “is that everyone can do it and have fun, even babies in snugglies and older people who are convinced that they have two left feet. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, and the infectious home-grown music brings out the dancer in everyone.”

Providing tunes for the afternoon dance will be a mini-orchestra of musicians, including 16-year-old Matt Lamare of Lewiston. Now a student at St. Dominic Regional High School, he was a sixth-grader at Montello Elementary School when he first took up fiddle with Greg Boardman, who serves as director of the elementary string music program for Lewiston’s public schools. Lamare is currently completing a yearlong apprenticeship with master fiddler Don Roy of Gorham under the auspices of the Maine Arts Commission’s traditional arts apprenticeship program.

Callahan Hall, which is air-conditioned, is on the third floor of the library at 200 Lisbon St. For more information, call 513-3050.


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