Arts, On Campus

Irish Dance Wins Second Consecutive ‘Showdown’ Dance Award

Conte Forum was alive as air welled up with anticipation and hastened heartbeats. As their eyes gazed downward, it was not to watch a concentrated hockey match or the grueling final minutes of a close basketball game. They remained fixated on a stage as dancers of varied skills and disciplines gave their all in a stretch of stunning performances. Boston College’s dance community came together, exuding a genial level of ardor for the chance to give a monetary donation to a charity of their choice and pen their name among the victory’s of the University’s premier arts event: the AHANA Leadership Council Showdown.

In their purposeful quests, each dance troupe of BC gave ornately themed performances that took viewers from the polluted water of the Ganges and the hued forest of the Lorax to swinging cantinas in a galaxy far, far away. Keenly integrating these themes into their unique dance stylings, each group showed dance is more than just a challenge to the body, but one of the mind to stand out on stage.

Amid rampant panting and insatiable smiles, teams relished in the applause and the special moments with their teammates as they finished their time in the spotlight. Fuego del Corazón member, Francisco Uzcategui Sanchez, MCAS ’17, captured the shared sentiment of the ephemeral nature of the performance for which all have worked so hard.

“It’s an indescribable feeling. It’s just eight minutes,” he said. “You don’t think, you just go. It’s just blackout, it’s crazy how you don’t feel anything.”

Though all dancers and teams gave commendable performances, some ended up on top in the eyes of the judges. For the second-consecutive year, BC Irish Dance (BCID) won the overall dance competition winner.

Additionally, new to Showdown this year was the inclusion of a People’s Choice Award, bestowed on the recipient of the fan-favorite performance. After a few terse moments of texting, the people still seemed divided, resulting in a tie between BCID and Full Swing.

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Notably, Full Swing entered into Showdown only as showcase group, not competing in the competition proper. Nonetheless, its stunning and immensely fun swing piece integrated Star Wars in a jaunty, fast, and unforgettable way. Outfitted as rebels, stormtroopers, and heroes Luke, Leia, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, Full Swing truly employed the force as they executed moves adroitly and with a level of fluidity. Its choice of song, with regards to the Star Wars universe fit the swing style markedly, especially the ‘Cantina Theme’ with which the troupe opened. In a raw moment, after intermission, president Dante Keeler, MCAS ’17, described the emotion and feeling coming off such a performance.

“Coming off stage, I am so pumped,” he said. “I am so proud of everyone given everything we have put into it.”

Keeler also spoke about how flattering the win was in light of being a showcase, especially given the size of the audience and strong support given to all groups.

Choreographer David Huffman, MCAS ’18, described how integral the crowd was to creating that kind of performance.

“It’s unreal. The energy of the crowd makes it unforgettable,” he said. “All the hours, all the effort, all the blood, sweat, and tears. So worth it.”

The People’s Choice co-winners, BCID, saw even more success that evening as it was crowned, for the second year in a row, the winners of the Competitive Dance Award. Its $500 in winnings will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

If success could be measured based on theme alone, George Lucas should receive some credit, as BCID also adopted a Star Wars theme. Clad in masks of stormtroopers—sported, remarkably, throughout the entire performance—and donning rebel vestments, BCID had a decidedly strong romp. Exercising a kind of honed precision, coupled with its choice of costume, made the troupe seem military in execution. The nuance of their dance, feet whipping and tapping on the stage floor, was wholly breathtaking as dancers acted out conflicts and altercations. When coupled with songs like the “Imperial March” and Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead,” the harshness of its steps were more powerful.

“We are so excited to be able to make history tonight and couldn’t be happier to do it with this team,” co-president Sara McArthur, MCAS ’17, said. “Being on stage was a memorable, surreal moment.”

Its historic consecutive win is almost as impressive as doing the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.

The ALC Showdown is a moment of unity within the BC dance community, but also for the rest of the student body. This years Showdown was a display of immense talent that really should serve to heighten the interests of all viewers in the eclectic and diverse dance talents of BC’s student body. The level of passionate expression seen on the faces of dancers, as they engaged in an artform they love, is sure to inspire others to do the same.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

March 27, 2017