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John Mendizabal / Gavel Media

Boston College Celebrates the Return of ALC Showdown

Friday, March 19 saw the return of the in-person format of ALC Showdown for the first time since 2019. In 2020, Showdown was canceled when students were sent home due to Covid-19, and last year, Showdown was done in a virtual format to abide by social distancing and public health guidelines. This year, the event, held in Conte Forum, sold out with over 5,000 students showing up to support the 16 Boston College dance groups in this three-hour show. Students have been looking forward to this evening for weeks, and the groups did not disappoint.

Showdown is hosted by the AHANA+ Leadership Council (ALC), an organization under UGBC dedicated to serving and promoting the needs of the AHANA+ community here at BC. This year’s Showdown was slightly different from those in the past, as there was no longer a split between the cultural groups and the competition field. Previously, groups were judged separately in culture and competition categories, but this change was made to promote culture and diversity at BC and unify the community. Additionally, all groups were required to showcase culture in some way to promote diversity and cultural learning among students. Of course, that meant something different for each group depending on their background and purpose. Nevertheless, each group brought their own unique style to the stage and the audience was thoroughly engaged throughout the entire evening.

Additionally, Showdown is a charity-based event, with each group choosing a charity to donate their potential winnings to. The organizations ranged from female empowerment charities like GirlUp and Strong Women Strong Girls to local organizations like Rosie’s Place.

ALC Showdown’s MC’s, Lubens Benjamin and Rihana Ali, were instrumental in planning and executing this large-scale event and kept the stage lively in between acts. The judges panel consisted of Vivian Bruno, Ja Ja Leviner, and Yvonne McBarnett. Bruno has extensive dance performance experience in China as well as in professional ballroom dancing. Leviner is a Boston native who has danced for the Boston Celtics and competed on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, among other accomplishments. He is also an experienced dance judge, having judged for competitions like World of Dance. Finally, McBarnett, known to some BC students as Ms. Smiley, is the Director of the Montserrat Coalition Program and is a well known face on campus who mentors and supports students.

One of the biggest aspects of Showdown is each group’s theme—they plan extensively and keep it a secret until their on stage debut. Some of the most creative themes included UPrising Dance Crew’s aptly chosen UP themed performance, Full Swing’s elaborately costumed Shrek performance, AEROdynamik Dance Crew’s blue and red Squid Game theme, and Boston College Irish Dance's Game of Thrones performance. 

John Mendizabal / Gavel Media

In addition to well-thought out themes, each group had showcased exciting choreography and cultural elements that students may not have experienced before. MASTI performed a Bollywood dance fused with modern elements that enthralled the crowd, and Synergy Hip Hop Dance Company’s music selection got everyone dancing. PATU introduced many BC students to the beauty of traditional African dance with an Alice in Wonderland twist. The audience certainly enjoyed the diversity of cultures and styles on stage.

Dance Organization of Boston College and Sexual Chocolate (SC) were both in the running for the Crowd Favorite award, but SC’s 90s themed step routine ultimately won out. The Runner-Up award went to Fuego del Corazón with their Latin-inspired choreography, as they gave Conte a tour around Latin American nations with their routine. Finally, the MC’s announced Dance Ensemble with their Charlie’s Angels routine as the official winner of ALC Showdown 2022. Dance Ensemble will be donating their winnings to the Campus School here at BC.

Overall, Showdown was a night full of dance, but also one full of community and celebration. It was the first time students got the opportunity to come together like this, outside of sports games, since they were sent home in 2020. Showdown 2023 is already on the minds of BC students who are excited to see what the groups will have in store. Until then, students can continue supporting these fantastic organizations by attending their performances around campus, so they don’t have to wait another year to see a spectacular performance. Showdown’s changes from past years made it a more inclusive and diverse event, showcasing the unique talent of BC students and highlighting the dance groups who put their hearts and souls into these performances.

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Can usually be found listening to The Strokes or Taylor Swift. Spends far too much time eating ice cream or rewatching the same 3 TV shows and would probably rather be at the beach right now.