By Nicole Pilote Contributing Writer
Weekly practices beginning at the end of January paid off for the forty-four UMF dancers who took part in BAM’s spring showcase. During the week of their shows, BAM put on four performances held for the student body and their parents. The dance numbers included upbeat hip-hop, tap, and contemporary routines.
A beautiful dance, “Body Love” choreographed by freshman Abigayle Weston, left the room quiet with only the sniffles of the crowd before the round of applause. Weston found the song a few months back, decided which dancers would work best with the choreography, and “everything went from there with ease,” she said.
BAM 2018. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Brooks)
“The “Body Love” routine was elegantly put, with motions that matched to the vocals on the song,” said Eliza Halbig, a UMF student in the audience. “It focuses on how girls see themselves in society today, and that they can be strong and beautiful the way they are.”
Junior transfer student, Jamie St. Pierre, has been dancing for only two semesters. BAM was St. Pierre’s first experience with dance. “As a transfer student coming into UMF, I didn’t have many friends because I didn’t know anyone,” St. Pierre said. “When I joined BAM I got to know so many great people, and have made my closest friends through the program.” St. Pierre looks forward to continuing dance next semester and aspires to be apart of the clubs eboard.
Olivia White, a Sophomore at UMF, started her journey with BAM this spring. “I went to their fall performance and just took a chance. It’s been two years since I’ve danced in front of an audience, it was pretty nerve wracking,” said White.
Meagan Ring has been with the group for 4 semesters, and has been president of the group for 2 of them. Ring has been dancing since she was three years old and continued to dance throughout her college career. Remarking that the shows will be her last with the group, Ring said, “BAM has provided me with an opportunity to meet many new friends. I will miss the wonderful people I have met as well of one of my favorite parts of the club, recital weekends.”
Disco Mashup was the last big group performance of the night. Co-choreographed by Ring and Junior Vanessa Shaeffer, the duo put together classic disco moves to hit 70’s songs, while everyone added their own twists. The atmosphere on the dance floor gave you the urge to join the party. The eleven graduating seniors came together in centerstage dressed in colors of the rainbow ending the night as they took their last bows of the dancing season.
By Andrew Devine President
When I went to meet President Kate Foster one morning in April, I thought it would be the start of her day. To the contrary, when I entered her office at 8:30 a.m., she was already in the middle of an important phone.
President Foster later explained that she doesn’t have a “typical” day at UMF. Many of her days days are busy from start to finish, that no two days are the same.
President Kathryn Foster will be departing UMF at the end of the current semester after serving as President for six years. (Photo by Andrew Devine)
However, one day that stood out for President Foster was March 27, when she announced her upcoming departure from UMF.
Foster joined the UMF administration in 2012, as she said, on a risk. “You never could have expected, from my background, that I would be a college president,” stated Foster. “Farmington gave me an opportunity that was so profoundly moving and meaningful for me in my career, in what I care about, in pressuring the mission of higher public education, that I will always feel a debt of gratitude that I never think you could have for another place.”
In her time in Farmington, Foster has become an integral part of the community, from everyday student activities to major achievements towards advancing the institution. “Being present and being visible is a big part of being the president,” Foster explained in describing her responsibilities over the years. That, as well as being at the front of the mission of the university.
“You realize the promise of an institution. That’s the role.” Further explaining the complexity of her position, Foster continued, “How that manifests, how you play that out, the specific elements of that, that’s what varies every day.”
President Foster acknowledged that her role made her a “cheerleader-from-the- side” towards the university, and how she is widely known to be the most enthusiastic Beaver fan at any UMF sporting event.
None of this came without challenge. President Foster recognized the burden that available resources has on higher education. Funds, time and people are all essential yet scarce in bettering the institution.
This obstacle has been formative on the job for President Foster. “Knowing the essence of who you are, a self-reflection, that I think is really important, that helps you to know which challenges to go after, and which are the ones that are not your make.”
With all this reminiscing, reflection, and nostalgia for her time spent in Western Maine, President Foster had a few remaining remarks on her place in the community and what her successor should expect.
Foster started by noting, “For the person who’s coming to sit in this chair, there is an expectation.” Foster lists the indisputable responsibilities of the head of the administration. Most importantly, the last qualification she lists is that “there is an expectation that the president is someone who cares about the people here.”
There will be things President Foster misses about UMF, from Merrill’s views, to Downtown Farmington, to walking to the office. Undoubtedly, President Foster understands the impact that the UMF community has had in her time here.
In her announcement to the public that she would be departing from UMF following this school year, President Foster noted the support, warmth, and comradery felt by the people of UMF, and credited that to her enjoyment and success as president.
In concluding the interview, both of us with a warm feeling in our chests and fighting a happy tear, President Foster expressed her gratefulness for the UMF community, “I hope the support came from knowing how much I love this place, and maybe that I was all of those things that I described about this place. That the match was good, and there was a fit here that was real.”