I write to you as a member and Co-Captain of the UMF Dance Team. The spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has greatly affected many on our team. Every year, the team works hard to perform at TD Garden on the court of the Boston Celtics. This year our team would have danced to the song “Confident” by Demi Lovato. Our dance was fast, sassy, fun and well-rehearsed. We finished learning the dance a month in advance of the performance, but unfortunately we were never able to show our dance in the proper venue. Our season was over. At our last practice we filmed the dance and posted it to our Instagram page.
As a member of the UMF Dance Team, and one who, like the rest of the members, was looking forward to the chance to perform on the 360 degree stage, I am truly sad to see my team’s hard work lead to nothing more than a video. However, in light of these hard times I can’t help but think what an amazing season our team had. We may not have been able to perform at TD Garden, but we were able to perform on our home court, which is nothing to sneeze at. We can all smile when “Confident” by Demi Lovato comes on the radio, showing our bond to our team. While it may seem that our season and academic year has ended with a bang, in the form of a pandemic no less, you know what they say: “the show must go on.”
As a team, we plan on hosting group dance sessions, so that even at home we all remain connected. We may even do group zoom yoga, which might help many to relax and destress in these very wonky times. Our team group chat is very much alive and healthy, filled with words of love and appreciation, not to mention all the lovely heart emojis. Even though the team is heartbroken over the cancellation of one of our most prized performances, we are all trying to remain positive, which is the most anyone can do right now.
Being able to remain positive and reminding yourself of all the love that your friends have and the love you hold for them is one way to help survive the new world that UMF has implemented. Trying to find ways to remain connected and in contact with others is a great idea when facing social isolation. Stay active, even if that means doing Zoom yoga. Hopefully we’ll laugh about this one day.
The UMF Dance Team, like many other teams and clubs on campus, have experienced cancellations due to COVID-19. Our team is trying to remain connected to each other. Staying positive will help us all to navigate these new and strange waters.
Co-Captain of the UMF Dance Team
Sara Pinette Contributing Writer
All forty-five members of Bust-A-Move Beavers came together for three shows during Thanksgiving week to give students, friends and families a performance that left the audience electrified and roaring with applause.
The shows included different styles of music and dance including lyrical, tap, contemporary, jazz, clog, hip-hop, and even some ballet. The show kicked off with all black attire and a high tempo beat as the entire club took part in the number titled “Soul Bossa Nova” choreographed by Alyssa Leonard, Carson Hope, and Jamie St. Pierre – all UMF students.
During the first half of the show, the club performed large group numbers such as “Jailhouse Rock” and “Supermarket Flowers”, which showcased the clubs synchronicity and fluidity as a team.
Among the group dances, the show featured 27 others pieces choreographed by 19 different members of the club and for many, that is the most exciting part of putting on a show like this. Heather Towle, a sophomore and psychology major, performed with BAM for the first time during show week.
“It felt really great to perform with my really close friends and I’ve been dancing pretty much my whole life, but I’ve never actually performed my own choreography.”
The President of the club, Morgan Laferriere, then chimed in and said, “her choreography is so good.”
Towle choreographed the dance “The Way You Make Me Feel” which was a jazz piece that featured seven dancers who dazzled in blue sparkly tops as they sassily strutted across the stage.
Laferriere is a rehabilitation major who has been a part of the BAM club since her first freshman semester at UMF. Laferriere choreographed two dances, her favorite being “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
“No one has ever done a 5-minute production number in BAM – ever – so I thought it was really cool,” Laferriere said. BAM showed a true passion for performing by dancing to the classic and many other time-honored pieces such as “You Can’t Stop the Beat” and “Footloose” after the intermission.
Preparing for this show was no easy task, according to the members of the club. Countless hours of choreography, rehearsal, costume designing and forging.
“I think there’s just so much to be done,” said Laferriere. “ I feel like I have finally everything done and then I remember ‘oh wait I have that other thing [to do]’, but it all came together in the end.”
It did, in fact, come together at the end as the whole club left the stage after taking their final bows and gave some of the seniors a spotlight to perform one final time. Seniors Rachael Chavarie, Abby Waceken, and Monicah Paquette were able to shine in their own unique and individual way, with tiaras sparkling on their heads.
“Dancing the last senior piece felt amazing, emotional, and bittersweet,” said Chavarie, a senior Elementary Education major, who will be student teaching in the spring. “I’ve been dancing since first grade so knowing it may be my last time performing on stage made it really personal for me. It’s hard to believe this chapter of my life may be ending, but I’m excited to see what’s next in my life.”
BAM constantly works towards being an inclusive club to all UMF students. “We’re really a big family. Whether they’ve been dancing their whole life or this is their first time doing dance,” said Hope. “They can join and participate in groups to try different styles of dance.”
According to BAM’s showcase pamphlet, any students who are interested can check out their table at the club fair next spring, or talk to any current members.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the UMF Dance Team.