Dance has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I have been dancing since the age of six, so naturally, when I arrived at Boston College I hoped that dance would be a part of my college career. I tried out for Fuego del Corazon, and was so excited when I got in.
From the moment I joined the team, my teammates greeted me with much love and support, and they became a second family to me. Being part of a campus with a student body that is so passionate about arts and culture really warmed my heart, and everyone on campus seemed to be buzzing when the topic of ALC Showdown came about. From the moment the rookie showcase is announced, everyone gets excited and shows off their friends who are on dance teams.
Fuego, as well as the many other incredibly talented dance teams, prepares arduously each year for this highly anticipated day, practicing almost double the hours each week as compared to normal and putting much time and effort into our dancing. Each year, Conte Forum roars with friends, families, and other spectators, who come to watch top-notch dances from many passionate students.
At the beginning of the spring semester last year, the countdown began, and I was so excited to be able to display Latin dance for everyone at my first ever Showdown performance. Then COVID-19 happened. Life as we knew it slipped away, and for dancers, specifically, the chance to perform as we had anticipated at Showdown was gone. We were, however, able to perform at what I like to call “impromptu Showdown” on the lawn of 2150. While it was not what anyone had envisioned, I will say that what I saw and experienced on that lawn was pure love and appreciation from everyone. Witnessing the BC community cheering and supporting the dance teams—even if we were not on a stage full of lights and messed up the dance we hadn’t even finished choreographing yet—was priceless. It is a memory that will forever live on in the history of Showdown.
Coming back on campus for this academic year, I did not really know what to expect with all of the restrictions, especially when it came to dance. To be frank, I came back on campus expecting no practices, and I know I was not the only one. But to my shock and great surprise, we were given the opportunity to practice—with social distancing measures and other precautions in place, of course. It was so exhilarating to walk into the Brighton Dance Studio again. Everything seemed to be just as we left it, except now we could not hug each other or dance with partners. As we each stretched in our circle, a bittersweet feeling overcame us all—the joy of being back but the sadness of not being able to be closer. But at the end of the day, it does not matter if we are unable to partner dance or do crazy stunts. What matters is that we are in the studio, doing what we love, and showcasing our cultures. We go to each practice because we want to improve ourselves as dancers and because we love to do it.
It is now the second full semester we have had during COVID-19, and hopefully the last. Things may be very different from what they were a year and a half ago, and despite being nostalgic about normalcy, I think we should be grateful for what we have now. COVID-19 has been an eye-opening experience in so many ways, and we have learned to appreciate the small amounts of normalcy we get—at least I know Fuego does, and I do as well. Showdown may not happen this year as it has in the past, but at least we get to share the stage as a collective unit and dance our hearts out, masks and all.
Featured Graphic by Olivia Charbonneau/ Heights Editor