Dance groups at Boston College will once again perform at Conte Forum for the annual ALC Showdown after two years of cancellations. The AHANA+ Leadership Council (ALC) announced Monday in a video on its Instagram that it will hold the dance competition on March 19.
“We’re thrilled to announce that BC’s premier legacy dance competition is making it’s return,” ALC said in the Instagram post.
With a montage of clips from Showdown 2019 and dancers’ performances in Conte Forum from 2021, ALC, which is a council within UGBC, promoted the event that has drawn large crowds of BC students in the past.
Lubens Benjamin, chair of ALC and CSOM ’23, said that ALC has been planning the return of the competition since November 2021. ALC informed the dance teams about the date of the competition on Jan. 27, Benjamin said.
Matt Razek, OSI’s associate director of student programming and UGBC’s advisor, said that Showdown is an event ingrained in BC’s culture and tradition, and OSI was eager to plan Showdown’s return this year.
OSI considered both the University’s COVID-19 precautions and the need to bring back BC traditions in making the decision to hold the event again this year, Razek said.
“This is kind of a year of where we’re trying to bring everything back and part of that is Showdown normalcy,” Razek said.
Sixteen dance groups are currently planning to participate in this year’s competition, according to Benjamin.
Although the competition is returning to its traditional location in Conte Forum, the requirements for dance teams and judging categories have undergone changes for the 2022 competition. In past competitions, groups have had to choose to compete in either the culture or competition categories. This year, all groups will be judged together, Benjamin said.
ALC now has a new requirement that all groups demonstrate an element that speaks to the culture that is associated with the team, Benjamin said. Teams can incorporate this element with a variety of creative components, including their introduction video at the performance and their choreography.
The council added this component to Showdown in order to highlight that the competition’s main purpose is to celebrate the range of talent, cultures, and experiences that exist in the dance community at BC, Benjamin said.
Members of ALC felt that the emphasis on diversity has not been at the forefront in past competitions and implemented the new cultural criterion in order to put diversity in the spotlight, Benjamin said.
“It’s more of a time of accepting everyone in the community for what they bring to the community and really celebrating these differences and really realizing how those really make our culture and our campus more vibrant,” Benjamin said.
Razek said he has been working with Benjamin and other members of ALC to make the cultural component a more integral part of Showdown this year.
Both ALC and Showdown’s production team are also working to increase the production value of the competition, which includes the announcement video released on Monday afternoon and using more lighting effects at the show, according to Benjamin.
Razek said that ALC and OSI are working with GBM6, an event planning company that has helped to plan Showdown in past years, to transform Conte Forum for the dance competition.
Last year, ALC and the Office of Student Involvement (OSI) planned a virtual version of the competition because of gathering limitations and social distancing guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In April, ALC canceled the event in response to racially biased events that happened on campus, including the vandalism of the Multicultural Learning Experience floor in Xavier Hall. The council also cited challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason for the cancellation.
In lieu of the event hosted by ALC, OSI allowed dance groups to perform in Conte Forum and record their routines.
The last traditional Showdown event—featuring a large stage on the floor of Conte Forum aglow with dazzling lights—took place in 2019. Fifteen dance groups participated, and a panel of judges scored the groups on creativity, cleanliness, and engagement, awarding four prizes at the end of the night.
In March 2020, Showdown did not happen as the University closed its gates due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dance groups convened on the lawn of 2150 Commonwealth Ave. to hold an impromptu event where dancers performed their routines to music blasting from a student’s portable speaker.
This year, the dance teams can rely on the sound system of Conte Forum for their performances. Benjamin said that Showdown offers a momentous opportunity for BC students to come together.
“People can come and realize they’re a part of something bigger than themselves, which I think is amazing,” Benjamin said. “[It’s] a way that we can bring the campus together while also enlightening the campus of many different cultures that exist here at BC and how they really help BC shine.”
This story was updated at 12:09 a.m. on Feb. 8 to reflect comment from Lubens Benjamin.
This story was updated at 9:51 p.m. on Feb. 8 to reflect comment from Matt Razek.
This story was updated at 2:09 p.m. on Feb. 10 to clarify that ALC is a division of UGBC.
Featured Image by Celine Lim