By Sarah Lamb Contributing Writer

UMF Dance Team. (Photo courtesy of Sara Lamb)

 The UMF Dance Team recently went to the TD Garden to perform right before the Boston Celtics took the floor for their game against the Atlanta Hawks. The Dance Team, led by Co-Captains Charity LaFrance and Vanessa Schaeffer, has been performing at the Garden the past three years. LaFrance and Schaeffer collaborated on the choreography for this year’s dance routine. They danced to “Love on Me” by Galantis & Hook, and were on stage for three and a half minutes.

   “Last year [the performance] was pretty nerve-wracking,” said LaFrance. “I was pretty fine about [this year’s performance] until we were standing on the floor about to go on the court and seeing people 360° all around you. There is no other experience like it.”

   The team has practiced the routine for the past 6-8 weeks. Schaeffer said it was “thrilling knowing you’ve created all this choreography,” and that it’s “exciting and full of relief to be able to watch the film of the performance afterward.” During every performance, they film themselves so they can critique and find more points of emphasis to work on during the next practice.

   LaFrance added that “as a co-captain, it’s a pretty emotional experience watching your creation come alive, just knowing that you created this move and the counts. It’s a different experience than just dancing it. I think it’s pretty awesome that you get to let that happen in front of all these people and it’s really nice to share that experience with the other girls on the team.”

   Both LaFrance and Schaeffer said that dance was a huge part of their life growing up. When asked what dance meant to them, LaFrance said, “Dancing gave me that thrill” through life, and it is her “happy place.” Schaeffer said, “Dance is a very strong passion, it keeps me very grounded, knowing I can express who I am through movement. It’s something that keeps you more alive.”

   The opportunity to perform at the TD Garden arose three years ago from a student had a connection to the Celtics event staff who happened to want a pre-game performance. The UMF Dance Team was asked if they were interested in performing, and they have been going ever since.

   If you are interested in performing on the same floor as the Celtics or perform here at UMF during halftime at the Men’s and Women’s home basketball games, you can contact for more information about the UMF Dance Team.