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F.I.S.T.S. Shines at Showdown

Boston College men's hockey was not the only team with a high-stakes performance this past Saturday, April 13th. Back in Chestnut Hill, BC's 17 highly talented dance teams competed against each other in ALC Showdown 2024, where the winners got money donated to a charity of their choosing. Showdown was a smashing success for the AHANA+ Leadership Council (ALC), a division within the Undergraduate Student Government at BC. The hosts of the evening in Conte Forum were Yosan Tewelde (MCAS' 24), director of ALC, and Saron Yared (MCAS' 25), assistant director of ALC. They kicked off the night at 7 pm and gracefully guided the showcase along, through hockey updates, floor changeovers, and seniors shoutouts. The crowd was noticeably quieter this year, likely due to the schedule clashing with the Frozen Four title hockey game, but the audience in attendance did fill the majority of seats. The almost three-hour event included brief videos from all the dance teams before their performances, revealing their theme, cultural component, and charity of choice. The night eventually ended with the exciting announcement of the top teams. 

 

Fuego del Corazón

Fuego del Corazón, the Latin dance team, blew the audience away with their theme, "Eternal Flame: A Journey Through Time," as they showcased Latin dance and music throughout the years. All dancers wore complementary colors, with the women wearing white and black sparkling tops and matching flared pants and the men in white dress shirts and black pants. The partner pieces that Fuego is admired for truly displayed the smooth and confident chemistry between dancers. It is obvious that each dancer completely trusts the other to perform fast lifts and spins, therefore proving how well-rehearsed and talented this team is. Fuego's performances have a palpable energy, and their Showdown performance was no exception. The team truly shined equally whether they danced to Latin music from 40 years ago or to the latest Latin-style songs.

 

BC On Tap

BC On Tap was the second team to perform in the evening line-up. Their theme was "Queen," and the tap dancers performed entirely to songs from the beloved rock band from the 1970's. On Tap's dancers wore costumes similar to the iconic outfits of Freddie Mercury, donning black leather jackets and shorts with bright red tops. The set included songs such as "Under Pressure" and "Bohemian Rhapsody," where dancers beautifully blended tap and the unconventional nature of Queen's music. Their rhythms were loud and innovative, and they were well-choreographed to the unique structure of Queen's songs.

 

AEROdynamiK

"Spiderverse" was the theme chosen by AEROdynamiK for this year's Conte Forum competition. AEROdynamiK has had a busy spring semester, preparing for both Showdown and hosting their first-ever showcase in Robsham Theater, called Momentum. Primarily a hip-hop and modern dance team, AEROdynamiK utilized fierce formations and engaged the large audience that evening in Conte Forum with fight scenes, where dancers differentiated themselves based on their costumes. Some wore cropped long-sleeves with a spiderweb design, with either blue or red hues, while others wore black or red muscle shirts with the recognizable "Spiderman" logo front and center. AEROdynamiK's theme, the set's songs, and their choreography lines were clean and precise, in turn creating a cool audiovisual effect for the audience. 

 

Golden Eagles Dance Team

The Golden Eagles took the Conte stage for the third time since making their debut as a competitor in 2022. The theme they chose this year was The Hunger Games. Through their integrated soundtrack, the dancers acted out the plot to songs from the original movies, like "The Hanging Tree," and also included voiceovers quoted from the films. The movie's main characters, such as Peeta Mellark, Katniss Everdeen, and President Snow, were among some of the voices that could be heard as part of the set. The most memorable moments from the team's performance include the Golden Eagles' iconic high kicks, standout facial expressions, and when the dancers waved red flags that mimicked fire. The Golden Eagles embodied the rebellion conveyed through both the books and films with their drama-filled dance.

 

PATU (Presenting Africa to U)

BC's "only African diasporic dance group" was next in the lineup with an Olympics theme. It's a hot topic at the minute, seeing as the 2024 Paris Summer Games rapidly approaching. Just as the mission of PATU (Presenting Africa to U) as a team is to represent African cultures and heritage through dance, their 2024 Showdown theme is meant to represent African athletes and their winning contributions to the Olympics over the years. The crowd went wild when PATU began dancing to "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" by Shakira and grappling for the Olympic torch in an impressive formation that ended with the "winner" being lifted up at center stage. PATU's dancers were dressed in customized sports jerseys with names on the back, which created a unified team look across the board.

 

Dance Organisation Boston College (DOBC)

DOBC focused on female empowerment despite patriarchal systems trying to tear them down. Their theme was "Cover Girl," and included music by female pop stars and the struggles they faced with their rise to fame, among them being Taylor Swift, Doja Cat, and Lady Gaga. Snippets of songs like "I Did Something Bad" by Swift and "Born This Way" by Gaga were included in this powerful mashup, encouraging women to be confident in themselves. The dancers wore a shimmery red sets paired with a black, shrug-style vest, white complimented the sassy, bold movements of the dance, and provided a uniform look as they performed a series of complex formations, clean fouetté turns, and lifts.

 

UPrising

UPrising Dance Crew chose a theme of acting with tenacity, resolve, and perseverance despite the world's struggles. All dancers donned sleeveless gray sweatsuit sets, but what stood out appearance-wise was the black and white stripe covering one eye of each dancer, best described as a symbol of their determination messaging. UPrising also utilized many "ripple" effect-style formations that separated them from other dance groups choreography-wise and impressed the audience. Their theme echoed through their voiceovers, the most memorable being the Martin Luther King Jr. quote, "If you can't fly, run. If you can't run, walk. If you can't walk, crawl, but by all means… keep moving." UPrising, officially known for its synchronized hip-hop dancing after taking second place in the 2023 ALC Showdown, continued this trend as they performed to the intense song "Start a Riot" by Duckwrth and concluded their inspirational set with "Glorious" by Macklemore. 

 

Masti

Masti, BC's "only Bollywood fusion dance team," took the Conte stage by storm. MASTI's choreography speaks for itself; they are experts in storytelling through movement. As the 2023 ALC Showdown champions, MASTI knows how to put on a dramatic performance. This year's theme was women's empowerment, as they followed a narrative of a royal family, where the younger sister competed with her brothers for the crown, eventually winning it back. Remixed Bollywood songs, alongside the green, red, and golden costumes worn by the dancers, helped add layers to the fight scenes among the siblings. MASTI also flawlessly incorporated various props throughout their set, strengthening the power of their storytelling. Although they did not take home any official award this year, they certainly impressed the crowd with their creativity.

 

Boston College Irish Dance (BCID)

BCID chose the first season of the Netflix show Peaky Blinders as their theme for this year's Showdown. About half the dancers donned navy waistcoats and shorts with tan scally caps, while the other half wore black waistcoats and pants with gray scally caps. With a polished and cohesive set, the dancers portraying the show's male leads – the Shelby brothers and Billy Kimber – also wore black armbands. Three dancers wore different colored flapper dresses, clearly 1920s-inspired, and were playing the role of two of the Shelby women and the undercover Irish agent named Grace. The most standout moments include BCID's classic acapella fight scene, where only their rhythms can be heard, and the music stops, as well as the ladies' feature in the set, where the "Peaky Blinders" and "Kimber men" dance circles around the women while they perform a more elegant hard shoe step, with Irish artists being the soundtrack as they danced. 

 

 BC Dance Ensemble (BCDE)

After the intermission, BCDE opened the second half of Showdown with a bang. Their theme was Chicago, the Broadway musical, and the contributions of Bob Fosse to the jazz dance scene. Wearing red corsets, matching red gloves, black skirts, and heels, BCDE's dancers transformed the stage into a full-blown dance production. Burlesque-style dance, sassy, smooth formations, and the signature high kicks were the highlights of BCDE's performance. Memorably, the dancers also used chairs as props, like the "Cell Block Tango" scene in the musical.

 

Vida de Intensa Pasión (VIP)

VIP, BC's other talented Latin dance group, debuted their theme as the "VIP Halftime Show," inspired by the NFL Super Bowl performances by Shakira and Jennifer Lopez back in 2020. Both the original halftime show and VIP's interpretation were intense and passionate and embodied the liveliness of Latin dance, especially during the salsa and bachata portions of the performance. Memorably, an impressive dance, "battle," took place between the male and female dancers, where the men danced with pipes as props and performed their perfect lifts and spins with their partners. VIP brought serious energy, helped by the women's stunning orange two-piece dresses. 

 

Phaymus

Phaymus, one of BC's hip-hop teams, performed at this year's Showdown with a street dance-inspired theme. The team is well-versed in their choreography and their song selection. Members dressed in baggy pants, bigger t-shirts, and matching white sneakers danced to a set mixed with classic early 2000s songs like "Drop" by Timbaland & Magoo and "Chicken Noodle Soup" ft. AG, aka The Voice of Harlem. But the inclusion of the song "FTCU" by Nicki Minaj, had the crowd cheering along to the lyrics and the dancer's seamless lines and expressive movements. The energy Phaymus brings every Showdown is palpable, and this year, it followed suit.

 

"C" apital Dance Ministry

"C" apital Dance Ministry took the Conte Forum stage for the second time ever in the 2024 ALC Showdown. The team chose the theme "Redemption," and performed a cohesive, clean set that was inspired by religious faith, prayer, and God. With a more hip-hop-style dance throughout, "C" apital Dance Ministry smoothly transitioned from slower rock songs to more powerful rap songs throughout the set, all sung by Christian rock bands and Christian rappers who regularly make music about their faith and personal journeys with God, such as Kings Kaleidoscope and Lecrae. The most impactful moment from their performance was the ending, where the dancers, clad in either black or white torn shirts, kneeled and prayed upward to God as the stage lights and music faded out. "C" apital Dance Ministry has improved tenfold from its first year as a competitive team. They have truly excelled at dramatic performance with their in-sync formations and intricate sequences.

 

Full Swing

Full Swing, BC's premier swing dancing team, hit the Showdown stage with an air of celebration, dance, and daggers. Full Swing chose the theme "Clue," inspired by the board game and 80's movies they acted out energetic, twirling sequences, complete with amazing facial expressions, as the dancers dressed in 1920s costumes tried to figure out which character was responsible in this murder mystery. The most memorable moment was when the dancer playing the character "Miss Scarlet," wearing a standout red dress, was revealed as the killer and was lifted at center stage with a sassy smile.

 

Synergy

Synergy, another one of BC's hip-hop dance teams, brought color, fun, and energy with both their outfits and the theme of "Syn Block Party." With animated, expressive dancers jump-roping on a scooter and hitting clean lines with their dance sequences, Synergy took the wide-ranging experiences of their members and figured out what bonded them all. That, of course, was the quintessential childhood experience of kids growing up in the '90s and 2000s, so Synergy's set included popular songs from those times in the soundtrack. The crowd cheered on the team as they danced to the "Cha Cha Slide" and "Low" by Flo Rida. Despite the absence of our 2023 Marmon artist, the audience and judges thoroughly enjoyed Synergy's sharp and vibrant formations. 

 

F.I.S.T.S. (Females Incorporating Sisterhood Through Step)

The F.I.S.T.S. Ladies outdid themselves at this year's 2024 ALC Showdown. With a theme of the dancers in an escape room, they had to complete challenges based on the recorded voiceover to find their way out. As the challenges got harder, so did the intricacy of stepping. F.I.S.T.S. managed to hit formations while maintaining more difficult rhythms, the most impressive part being when they "lost their sight" in the escape room. Dancers wore bob wigs and matching pink jumpsuits, and in the final challenge, blindfolds. F.I.S.T.S. jumped side to side and over other dancers to meet in the middle for a high-five, all while unable to see each other or their stage. 

 

Sexual Chocolate

Ending Showdown 2024 was Sexual Chocolate, BC's all-male step team. They chose to perform a set that brought attention to America's mass incarceration system, and therefore, the dancers wore orange prison uniforms. The team's steps were as coordinated and impressive as ever, with their facial expressions particularly standing out this year. Most notably were their t-shirts revealed underneath at the end of their set, which spelled out "Resistance" with a fist on the last member, representing their commitment to resisting the unethical and unjust American prison system.

Results

The first-place winner was "F.I.S.T.S." (Females Incorporated Sisterhood Through Step), which received $1000 to be donated to the "Strong Women, Strong Girls" charity, whose goals align similarly with their team's female empowerment mission. 

 

Coming in second place was Synergy, the hip-hop style dance team, which was awarded $600, which is set to be donated to Hip Hop For Hope. With a strong third-place finish, BCID (Boston College Irish Dance) was the next top team; they were awarded $400, which will be donated to Rosie's Place. 

 

The crowd-favorite award was given to PATU (Presenting Africa to U), an undeniable result after the thunderous applause and enthusiasm heard both during and after their set. PATU was also awarded $400, which will be donated to Play It Forward, an organization that promotes youth involvement in sports. 

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