Folks of all ages are invited to attend a free program of live music and dancing from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, March 14, at Callahan Hall at the Lewiston Public Library.

Accordionist Thad Gunther is one of several musicians performing for an afternoon of dancing in Callahan Hall at the Lewiston Public Library on Saturday, March 14. A native of Farmington, he is currently a member of the junior class at Bates College. Submitted photo

Co-sponsored by the library and Museum L-A, the event celebrates the community’s heritage by offering people the chance to “shake a leg” to a lively assortment of French Canadian and Irish jigs and reels as well as other old-time dance tunes. Providing the music will be renowned Maine fiddler/accordionist/pianist Doug Protsik joined by an ensemble of musicians ranging in age from 14 to Baby-Boomer-vintage, performing on fiddle, accordion, guitar, mandolin, banjo and spoons.

Leading attendees in a selection of “fun-&-easy” dances ranging from Quebecois square dances to classic New England contras will be Cindy Larock, a master teacher with the Maine Arts Commission’s Traditional Arts Program.

The event is the culmination of a nine-week workshop series titled “Let’s Dance! Contras, Quadrilles, Jigs & Reels” taught by Larock as part of Museum L-A’s Creative Aging arts education program. No prior dance experience is required to participate in the March 14 event and partners are not necessary. “With this type of dancing it’s customary for everyone to socialize and dance with everyone else in the room, just like at the old-time Franco kitchen parties,” explained Larock, adding that people who would like to just sit out and enjoy the music are also welcome to attend. As a special bonus, members of the Creative Aging class will demonstrate some of their favorite choreography from their nine-week exploration of social dance styles from both sides of the border.

The “Let’s Dance!” program was made possible free of charge through a Seeding Vitality Arts grant awarded to the museum by Aroha Philanthropies. The SVA initiative is designed to support the development and expansion of successful creative aging programs with a goal of inspiring and enabling older adults to learn, make, and share the arts in ways that are novel, complex, and socially engaging.

The Lewiston Public Library is located at 200 Lisbon St., Lewiston, at the corner of Pine and Lisbon streets. Parking in the area is free on Saturdays. More information on the event is available by calling the library at (207) 513-3004 or Museum L-A at (207) 333-3881.

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