Members of five of BC’s dance groups paired up with five non-dancer Boston College students to compete in the Dancing with the Scholars competition, hosted by the Cape Verdean Student Association (CVSA), on Friday night.
At the end of the event, after much anticipation, the judges voted Team Sexual Chocolate as the winner of Dancing with the Scholars. Team VIP took home the crowd-favorite title.
Alexis Silva, MCAS ’24, and Anderson Da Rosa, CSOM ’25, hosted the event and introduced the four judges: Yvonne McBarnett, director of the Montserrat Coalition; Karl Bell, associate director of TRIO Student Support Services; Grant Gosselin, director of undergraduate admissions at BC; and Jessica Andrade, former president of CVSA and BC ’21.
The hosts also announced that each duo was required to incorporate a traditional Cape Verdean dance into their routines.
A performance by four of CVSA’s executive board members, including co-captains Lenylse Ferreira, LSEHD ’23, and Jason Dias, CSOM ’23, kicked off the show. The dancers began with the traditional Cape Verdean dance pasada, an intimate partner dance, accompanied by the slow song “Bo Tem Mel” by Nelson Freitas featuring C4 Pedro.
This mood changed quickly as the fast-paced song “Amizade” by Zé Espanhol heightened the energy both on stage and in the audience. With this song came new variations in the dance as partners broke apart, and each performer showcased their abilities.
First to compete was Team Presenting Africa to U (PATU), composed of PATU co-captain Eunice Azamati, CSOM ’25, and Sena Deressa, MCAS ’24.
The duo started off strong with powerful moves that excited the audience, but as the stage lights turned to red and “Lambuxa na Bo” by Loony Johnson played, they transitioned into coladeira, a sensual Cape Verdean partner dance. The pair’s intense chemistry filled the room, accompanied by cheers and shouts from the crowd.
McBarnett, affectionately known as “Ms. Smiley,” said that the pair “came correct” and emphasized their captivating facial expressions in her critique after the performance.
Next up was Team Females Incorporating Sisterhood Through Step (F.I.S.T.S.), consisting of F.I.S.T.S. captain Srina Lacet, MCAS ’24, and Elaine Keleta, MCAS ’24. The duo incorporated a skit into its performance that showed an upperclassman (Srina) teaching a freshman (Elaine) how to get into a party. Their ticket inside was step dancing, which they performed for the audience with stomping feet and clapping hands.
A performance by Team Masti followed, featuring dancer Angana Saha, MCAS ’24, paired with Miladi Teo Najera, LSEHD ’23. The duo performed a unique mix of funaná and Bollywood fusion, featuring jingling golden waist chains that emphasized their intense hip movements.
Team Sexual Chocolate (SC) took the stage next. Levi Ngabirano, CSOM ’25, from Sexual Chocolate partnered with Camille Paula, LSEHD ’23, to deliver an intensely sensual performance that drove the crowd wild. The passionate song “Beijam” by Djodje played as the pair danced slowly together before transitioning into SC’s classic step dancing style.
The duo finished off their set by reverting back to the original slow and intimate dancing. They shocked the crowd with a dip and kiss, followed by Paula running and jumping into the arms of Ngabirano, who pinned her to the ground for a dramatic finish.
“I feel like we all need to go to mass right now,” Bell joked after the intense performance.
Team Vida de Intensa Pasión (VIP) delivered an equally passionate performance for the final act. Aiche Ba, MCAS ’23, captivated the audience in a dress adorned with rhinestones and tassels. She showcased her acrobatic skills in the team’s big finish as her VIP partner, LA Almanzar, CSON ’23, aided her in a backflip and lifted her onto his shoulders.