Jocea Jordan Contributing Writer
Practicing 10 hours or more a week, UMF’s Bust-A-Move Beavers (BAM) dance group members are working hard to make their end-of-semester performance a memorable one.
BAM is one of two UMF dance groups and they hold two performances every year. Each performance is held at the end of the semester with three different show times. The dancers choreograph all 25 of the dances on their own, and even have a show reserved specifically for their parents and families.
Carson Hope, a senior early childhood special education major, is the treasurer of BAM and has been in a previous semester as well. Hope is responsible for the finances of the club and makes all of the costume purchases, fundraiser orders, and proposes the budget BAM will need for the year.
Hope has been a member of BAM for five semesters now and has made many close friends throughout her time in the club. “BAM has really brought me all of my closest friends that I have here in Farmington,” she said. “So I just have a great collection of memories of dancing with the people that I get to call my closest friends now.”
“I have danced on and off my entire life, I started dancing when I was five or six but I took several years off because I did gymnastics growing up too, and I got back into dance my freshman year here,” Hope said. “Dancing in BAM has given me a way to express myself, and to be able to have an artistic outlet, so that I can express my myself in a way that words don’t.”
“When I came here my freshman year I did not have a lot to do, but now I have this thing [BAM] that is a priority in my life, and plays an important role,” she continued.
“We typically fill Emery for all of our shows, sometimes the Wednesday show doesn’t fill up, but for our Friday and Saturday shows we have people getting in line at 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to get a seat for the 7:00 p.m. show,” said Hope. “We typically have people that are turned away at the door. If we had a bigger space that would be great, but we don’t.”
Sierra Huff, a sophomore biology pre-med major, has been a part of BAM for three semesters now and is going to be in six dances for this semester’s performance. Huff’s favorite part of being a dance member in BAM is “meeting the new people I wouldn’t have a chance to interact with otherwise.”
“I would say the most challenging part is making sure you dedicate time to practice for each dance,” said Huff. Most of the dances that the members are in only have practice for one hour a week. “A lot of the time just the one hour rehearsal is not enough to memorize the dance if you are in close to 10 of them,” Huff said.
For bigger dances, in which most of the members are involved, there are longer practices held each week. Huff enjoys these practices and said, “It is always interesting when we cannot use the North Dining Hall because it is unavailable, so we have to practice in a Roberts classroom.” She continued on, laughing, “So we have roughly thirty people trying to move and dance together in a tiny room.”
BAM also hosts a costume contest for its members during their practice on Halloween. “It is always interesting to see what costumes the other dancers come up with,” said Huff. “This year I went as a vampire with another member of BAM. Last year I went as Sandy, and my friend Portia went as Danny, which are the main characters from ‘Grease’ the movie.”
“I also enjoy some of the other fun events that we do like Secret Santa, where members give a gift to another member that they randomly picked,” said Huff. “And the end of the semester banquet where we give out our secret santa gifts and everyone brings different food and drinks for us to enjoy together.”
Portia Hardy, a sophomore Earth and Environmental Science major with a minor in editing and publishing, has been a member of BAM for three semesters. She began dancing when she was three and a half years old at the Kennebec Dance Studio. “I really like taking part in the performance and being on stage in front of the audience, getting to be in the show makes me really happy,” she said.
“Last spring semester I choreographed a dance with my friend Matt, it was to ‘A Lovely Night’ from ‘La La Land’ and it was a really cute, fun, sweet duet,” said Hardy. “It was my favorite moment being on stage. The last show that [Matt and I] did we both smiled at each other because it was our last one together… there have been so many good memories.”
“This semester I’m doing the smallest amount of dances that I have done, I’m only in three. Last spring semester I was in six and that was the highest that I have done,” said Hardy. “Some people do like eight dances, ten dances. They really like to dance. I personally can not fit a lot into my schedule but I know that others can.”
The showtimes for BAM’s performances are on Dec. 4-7 at 7 p.m. in the Emery Community Arts Center. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for all of the shows.
BAM has been a part of my granddaughter’s life at UMF for several years, since her arrival. She loves dancing and especially the great friends she has there! They are an amazing group & every new show seems bigger & better than the previous show. Keep on dancing!