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Sexual Chocolate’s Big Show Celebrates 25 Years of Community and Step on B.C.’s Campus

The room was packed to the brim. The dimming lights and whoops and cheers from the electric audience created a buzz of anticipation in the air. Students, family, and friends packed Robsham Theater to show support for Sexual Chocolate’s Big Show, Total Chocolate Island, on Friday night. However, this night was special. Boston College’s only all-male step team, S.C.’s show, held extra meaning this year as they celebrated their 25th anniversary.

In the summer of 1999, four rising B.C. freshmen attended the summer enrichment program Options Through Education. O.T.E. is a transitional, seven-week course that supports diversity and inclusion. A diverse group of students who have demonstrated their academic excellence and leadership skills are selected to participate in this program that fosters academic, social, and cultural development. During this program in 1999, those four students founded Sexual Chocolate to create a space of fraternity and express themselves through a unique art form, Step.

Step dance developed from South African Traditions. Gumboot dancing started in the gold mines of South Africa. Unable to speak to each other and subjected to inhumane conditions and beatings for speaking out, the miners developed a messaging system. To communicate, they would hit their issued leather boots. Subjected to cruelty above ground as well, the miners and their families had to adapt traditional dances and rhythms to the resources they had: their boots and their bodies, to keep their culture alive.

Stepping was popularized on college campuses in the early 1900s. As the number of African-American students attending universities rose, those students formed their own Greek-letter organizations. Just as S.C. was founded on B.C.’s campus as a place for community building, those fraternities and sororities gave students a space to build bonds. The unity and camaraderie of the group are expressed to others through the strong, synchronized rhythms of their bodies. 

The team took inspiration from Total Drama Island, the cartoon spoof of adventure competition shows set in a teen summer camp. Even as one-dimensional characters, S.C.’s members showed their spirit of community. When asked what he loves most about being on S.C., Dylan Duncan, a sophomore and treasurer on S.C.'s E-Board, said the people. He said, “The emphasis on brotherhood is really strong, and we bond over the fact that we’re on the same team. It’s always good to have someone there for me before and after practice.”

The running sequences of skits filled the room with waves of laughter. The ladies’ man, nerd, mama’s boy, and influencer joined their friends on stage, everyone working together to create a production like no other. Even their video production, which was directed, filmed, and produced by Cyrus Rosen, a junior of S.C., looked as good as a movie and left spectators wondering how they managed to film on a blue-sky day across an empty campus. 

To help them celebrate their anniversary, S.C. invited some of their fellow dance teams to dance with them. Fuego opened the show and Boston College Dance Ensemble joined them on stage with a sultry partner dance to end the show. Most notably, however, Boston College’s women’s step team crashed, literally, onto the scene. In a plane-crash-themed skit, the members of Females Incorporating Sisterhood Through Step joined S.C. to celebrate their 25th anniversary as well. Also founded in 1999, F.I.S.T.S. amped the creativity and the audience. When asked about this experience, Dylan said, “We try to make a close bond, we’ve always been close throughout history.”

As the show whittled the competitors of Total Drama down to the victor, the audience remained enthralled for the two-hour duration. No intermission broke the trance. Their skits never faltered, and their energy never dwindled. Shouts of encouragement from the audience kept the dancers invested in their show, and the audience followed with precision, collective oohs and ahhs reverberating through the room as one entity, united in the joy of what they were watching. 

For 25 years now, Sexual Chocolate, as well as F.I.S.T.S. and other dance groups on campus, have inspired people like Dylan. They offer a place for community and a place for expression. When asked to describe the importance of having groups like Sexual Chocolate on B.C.'s campus, Dylan said,  “It helps people get involved but also gives people a group that they can trust and rely on. I think that’s very important.” 

Groups like Sexual Chocolate and F.I.S.T.S. reflect their origins. They were founded to create a place for a diverse group of students to meet, bond, and cultivate an art form. When watching these groups on stage, there is no mistaking their genuine joy, appreciation for each other, and the pride they have in what they are doing. 

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Coffee addicted ballerina with a nostalgic attachment to black and white movies and Frankie Valli.

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