Keeping Dance and Music Alive

A story by Cindy Larock from 1970-2024

Cindy Larock, photo by Coral Breuer

A “Franco-Yankee” native of Lewiston, I've been happily involved in the traditional music and dance scene in Maine for over 40 years. My immersion in the late 1970s New England contra dance revival movement led to an opportunity to study the traditional dances of French Canada with Quebecois master stepdancer, caller, and musician Benoit Bourque through the Maine Arts Commission’s Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program. In 2004 the Commission designated me a Master Artist in traditional French Canadian dance, providing the chance to pass the French dance traditions down to numerous younger Franco-American apprentices.

After founding two Maine-based dance troupes – La Plume de Ma Tante and Les Pieds Rigolants – which entertained audiences throughout the state from the 1980s through the early 2000s, I've continued to regularly lead dance workshops at Maine’s annual DownEast Country Dance Festival and the New England Folk Festival as well as schools statewide for students from kindergarten through college age.

In 2014 – due to my innate passion for the music which “fuels the feet” for these exploits – I established a small youth folk orchestra. This ever-evolving cadre of gifted young fiddlers (backed up on guitar, spoons, feet and more by me and my multi-instrumentalist husband Don Cunningham) have shared their talents at community settings in Maine and beyond, contributing greatly towards my ongoing mission to “honor Maine's cultural heritage by bringing the generations together through traditional music and dance.”

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