In response to racially biased events that have occurred on campus this year, as well as challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the AHANA+ Leadership Council (ALC) decided to cancel ALC Showdown on Thursday, according to a statement released on Instagram.
“ALC believes that putting on a grand celebration of diversity on Boston College’s campus would be incognizant to the racial climate cultivated on Boston College’s campus,” the statement reads. “In just this semester alone, the rise of racially motivated hate crimes directed towards members of the AHANA+ community have deeply affected how BIPOC students are able to exist and live on this campus.”
Earlier this month, ALC, in partnership with the Office of Student Involvement (OSI), planned to host a modified version of Showdown that was scheduled for Sunday. Originally, dance groups were set to perform inside Alumni Stadium, where their sets would be livestreamed to screening locations across campus.
ALC said that hosting the event this year in light of these incidents would not have fallen in line with its mission. The annual dance event aims to celebrate diversity on BC’s campus by featuring dance performances that showcase a variety of cultural backgrounds and dance styles, according to the statement.
“The purpose of Showdown is for all students of all ethnic and racial backgrounds to come together in celebration of all of our differences through our mutual love for dance,” the statement reads. “Given the circumstances of BIPOC students feeling increasingly isolated and unwelcomed from celebrating their identities safely on campus, Showdown would not have reflected the goals of ALC as an organization that represents the interests and voices of the AHANA+ community.”
ALC also cited the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason for canceling Showdown. In the statement, ALC said the pandemic has made it increasingly difficult for dance groups to participate in and prepare choreographed routines for the event. For these reasons, some groups elected not to participate in the event, which ALC said detracted from Showdown’s mission to highlight BC’s diverse dance groups.
“Showdown, especially, presents a space for BIPOC students to see representation of their different cultures and identities through dance,” the statement said. “However, this year, this aspect of the beloved tradition would not have adequately reflected the diversity of Boston College’s campus, given the exclusion of many dance teams that would be unable to perform.”
COVID-19 restrictions made it difficult for ALC to create a successful Showdown event that would engage the whole BC community, ALC said in its statement.
UPrising Dance Crew creative director Andrew Cho, MCAS ’22, said ALC spoke with all dance groups about the change of plans on April 8, nearly a month after ALC informed dance groups over email on March 9 of its plans to host a modified Showdown. On April 13, ALC sent out an email to dance groups officially calling off the event this year.
OSI did not comment on ALC’s decision to cancel the event.
The stage, lights, and sound setup that were planned for the original Showdown showcase will still be available for dance groups to use on Sunday, according to the statement. ALC said it is offering dance teams the opportunity to perform and record their dance sets on the stage.
On Sunday, hour-long practice time slots in Conte Forum are being allocated to dance groups, said OSI Associate Director for Student Programming Paul Murphy in an interview with The Heights. Murphy said that groups will be responsible for filming their own performances during their session.
Although for the second year in a row an official Showdown showcase will not run, Cho said UPrising is still excited for this chance to perform onstage in Conte Forum.
“Initially, I’m sure everyone was bummed out about it, but like in retrospect, we’re still kind of given the opportunity to perform on stage even though it’s not like a collective event,” Cho said. “I think like most of us have kind of come to terms with that and are in a pretty good mindset.”
Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor
Update: This article was updated to include that OSI did not comment on ALC’s decision to cancel the event.