Boston College students flooded the backyards of Mods 27A and 27B on Saturday night to witness the comeback of Strip Mod—a night of choreographed dances and tear-away pants—after COVID-19 put a year-long stop to the tradition.
“I would say [it] was by far one of the most fun, heartfelt, and overall genuine experiences,” Peter Pinto, one of the performers and MCAS ’22, said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better night.”
Christian Stuewer, resident of Mod 27A and CSOM ’22, said he did not expect the large crowds that swarmed the Mods.
“I did not expect it to be that busy,” Stuewer said. “We looked at the crowds before and it had to be like 600 people.”
While most stood in the backyard, other students climbed the fences surrounding the Mods or viewed from high-up windows in Walsh Hall. A handful of students also sat in trees to watch the show above the crowds.
Kelly Ann Boey, CSON ’23, said she cheered on the performers from the top of a fence.
“I had a good vantage point because I hopped over the fence,” Boey said. “I failed a few times, but I had a boy stranger respectfully boost me up.”
Conventionally, senior males secure Strip Mod residencies 27A and 27B in order to perform in the dance, according to Alexander Lobanov, one of the dancers and MCAS ’22. But this year was different, he said.
Since a group of six females live in one of the Strip Mods, Lobanov said the girls decided to have a group of their friends perform in their place.
“I’ve always thought it’d be such a cool thing to do,” Lobanov said. “That’s how I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”
This first group sported pink Valentine’s Day boxers paired with white tank tops as they performed in front of the crowd.
“It definitely takes a lot to get up there—no reservations about going up and taking off all of your clothes and showing off your body and then also dancing in the front of the entire school,” Pinto said.
Stuewer explained that traditionally, the event is held during the study days of first semester, but citing the COVID-19 pandemic, he said this year’s dancers altered the timeline and pushed rehearsals for the event until after Winter Break.
Lobanov said he and his friends practiced approximately eight to 10 hours over the past two weeks. Gianna Laura, assistant director of the Dance Organization of Boston College and MCAS ’23, and Dance Organization member Annabelle Schultze, MCAS ’22, helped choreograph the dance.
“We put full dedication towards it,” Lobanov said. “We didn’t want to be messy or anything like that because there were a lot of people looking at us.”
Stuewer said the second group of dancers—the residents of Mod 27A—were choreographed by Anna Wen, MCAS ’22, and Maggie Burke, Lynch ’22, both members of Dance Ensemble.
“We started putting in a lot of work,” said Stuewer. “Honestly, we practiced a lot more than I thought we were going to.”
Many of the performers were anxious right before performing, Lobanov said.
“The final 10 minutes before we got out there were nerve-racking,” Lobanov said. “You’re like ‘Holy crap, this is actually happening,’ but as soon as we stepped out, that all went away.”
Despite this fear, Lobanov said Strip Mod provides a loud, supportive atmosphere.
“Everybody there is there to support you,” he said. “Nobody’s going to be making fun of you or anything like that. If you get over that, it’s so much fun because everyone is there just to love you.”
After the performances ended, some students exited the muddy premises to enjoy the rest of their Saturday night while others remained in the Mods to celebrate with the performers.
“I’m really glad that we were able to keep Strip Mod alive as a BC tradition,” Pinto said. “I really think it’s one of the most fun traditions.”
According to Stuewer, the Strip Mod tradition has layers beyond what crowds of BC students witnessed on Saturday.
For the past two decades, the Mod residents have written their names on the stairs inside Mod 27A, marking their contribution to the tradition. An Instagram account is also passed down to publicize the show in future years, Stuewer said.
Grace Lenahan, MCAS ’24, said she experienced her first Strip Mod since attending BC. She stood on a large mulch pile on the perimeter of the Mods and had a clear view of the performance.
“It’s further proof that you see students show up for each other,” Lenahan said. “It was … just everyone collaborating to watch senior men strip, and that was a beautiful thing.”
Correction (2/15/2022, 12:05 p.m.): This article was corrected to add Christian Stuewer’s accurate pronouns and reflect that Annabelle Schultze did not perform in Strip Mod, but is a member of the Dance Organization of Boston College.
Featured Image by Nicole Vagra / Heights Editor