Top Story, Arts, On Campus

Record-Breaking Crowd Energizes Conte Forum at 2023 Showdown

Even before the dance teams took the stage in Conte Forum at ALC Showdown on Saturday, audience members and the show’s judges stood out of their seats, dancing to songs by Rihanna and Jay-Z in anticipation of the sold-out show. 

Hosted by the AHANA+ Leadership Council (ALC), 2023 Showdown featured a record-breaking crowd and one new dance team, according to hosts Deena Mohamed, ALC chair and MCAS ’23, and Rihana Ali, ALC vice chair and MCAS ’23.

Seventeen dance groups competed to win a donation to a charity of their choice. Masti won first place, UPrising Dance Crew won second place, and Fuego del Corazón won third place. Females Incorporating Sisterhood Through Step (F.I.S.T.S.) won the crowd choice award. Masti chose to donate its winnings to South Asian Americans Leading Together, an organization committed to achieving racial justice through structural change, according to its website

“I want to thank God,” Gia Mitcham, co-captain of Masti and MCAS ’23, said as the group received the award. “I love this team so much, so, so much. We put so many hours into this.”

As the show began, the lights in Conte Forum dimmed and the stage’s green and yellow lights centered on ALC Showdown’s two hosts. 

“Welcome to the ALC Showdown 2023,” Mohamed said. “We are back. We are back and better than ever.”

A division within UGBC, ALC is dedicated to improving the lives of students of color on campus and encouraging and promoting diversity. This mission was reflected in the variety of dance and music styles presented at Showdown, ranging from tap and bachata dances to music such as Christian rap and television theme songs.

This year also marked Capital Dance Ministry’s first year in the competition, bringing the total number of teams up to 17.

As was the case at 2022 Showdown, each group was introduced with a short introductory video that talked about the story behind its theme, its choreography process, and the charity that it is competing for. 


Vida de Intensa Pasión (VIP) brought the audience to Carnival with its opening set. The female dancers came out in red and glittery skirts and the male dancers dressed formally in all black, while a central dancer sported a yellow, orange, and red cape that matched typical Carnival attire. The screens to the side of the stage flashed diamonds to pair with the group’s performance, and the lighting matched the bright red costumes that VIP wore to the show. 

The winged dancers left the stage as the troupe danced to “Mi Gente” by J Balvin and Willy William. The upbeat song enticed the crowd to dance along, sending a message of solidarity within the Latin American community. VIP soon tossed one of the dancers in an extravagant lift that wooed audience members, as indicated by the amount of cheering from the crowd. The group mixed several Latin styles of dance, including salsa and bachata, throughout its performance. 

In its routine, the group formed lines and v-formations, energizing the audience to start off the night’s series of dances. VIP’s dancers moved with the tempo of the music, effortlessly shifting  around the stage. The group ended with Bad Bunny’s reggaeton hit, “Tití Me Preguntó.” VIP executed lifts in the background alongside a final formation before the lights shut off and the next group got ready to come on stage. 


“Let’s get ready to rise up!” UPrising Dance Crew yelled at the crowd as it entered the stage. 

UPrising, dancing for the Mass Cultural Council, formed a semicircle in the center of the stage while wearing monochromatic dance suits. As “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio and L.V. played, the members stood a symmetric formation, extending their energy beyond the stage and into the stands. The anticipatory beat in “Gangsta’s Paradise” prepared the crowd for UPrising’s intense performance. 

UPrising stayed on beat as it hit every mark and moved as a complete unit. During Imagine Dragons’ “Believer,” the bass drop sent the dancers into a frenzy—they ran in a circle formation into a robotic-like dance that had the audience cheering. They even threw one of the dancers in the air. 

Rainbow strobe lights highlighted each of the group’s moves, showcasing its fluidity and smooth transitions. UPrising ended its set with Jay-Z and Rihanna’s “Run This Town.” The group had colored flags hanging out of its pockets during the song and pulled them out as it hit its last move. The rowdy cheers from the audience overshadowed the music’s last notes.


Formed in 2004, Phaymus Dance Entertainment is a creative and inclusive space for students of all backgrounds. The group chose to dance for Urbanity Dance, a group that aims to empower individuals and communities through art and movement.

As the hip-hop group came onto the stage, a booming voice blasted over the speakers.

“There cannot be pleasure without pain,” the voice said. “This is Too Hot to Handle.”

Phaymus chose the reality show Too Hot to Handle as its theme, and its set transitioned through different eras and seasons of the show. Sticking to its Too Hot to Handle theme, the group dressed in neon red, pink, and orange outfits, and several members wore sporty sunglasses and white caps. Phaymus’ beachy summer outfits were fitting for the beginning of spring. 

The group began its set by dancing to “Lose Control” by Missy Elliot. Phaymus later transitioned into “Slumber Party,” by Ashnikko ft. Princess Nokia and quickly moved on to SZA’s Saturday Night Live song “Big Boy,” then to JoeVille’s “Sexy” and SZA’s “Low”. 

Phaymus used Too Hot to Handle’s narrator, Lana, as it transitioned from song to song while dancing and sliding across the stage. It even turned its backs to the audience to twerk. The flexibility of the dancers was demonstrated in their flips and other gymnastic techniques used throughout the set. 


Boston College Dance Ensemble (BCDE), the first dance team created at BC, ran onto stage to the beat of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” wearing burgundy one-legged jumpsuits and spinning and jumping onstage. The group opted for a theme centered on women’s empowerment with a focus on women in rock music. The team danced to songs such as Miley Cyrus’ cover of “Heart of Glass” and “I Love Rock ’N Roll” by Joan Jett. To the tune of “Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks, the dancers twirled in a lyrical style, leading audience members to get up from their seats and cheer on the female rock dancers. Clips of artists played through the speakers narrated about the influence of women in the rock ’n roll scene over the years. 

“She is the only goddess in a sea of rock gods,” Nicks said, encapsulating BCDE’s theme. 

The group paid tribute to other famous female rockers like Tina Turner in its quick formations and fast transitions. BCDE aroused applause with every spin and skip across the stage. It swayed confidently, as the members’ loosely styled hair whipped around their heads in typical Nicks fashion, to the message of the music, in an effort to prove that BCDE is in tune with women in rock history.

BC On Tap

BC On Tap came up next with the mission to “spread love of tap dancing to BC and beyond,” the captains said in their introductory video. The dance team presented itself as a group focused on highlighting sexual violence, choosing Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), an anti-sexual violence organization, as its charity. 

According to the team’s introduction video, it took the audience back to the 2000s for its routine, which was expressed with the Mario Bros. theme. The dancers entered the stage dressed as characters such as Mario and Luigi. They moved uniformly while the Mario theme song played. “Princess” by Pia Mia was next, in which a dancer dressed up as Princess Peach took center stage. 

The dancers dressed as Mario and Luigi stood out from the rest of the dancers, who were dressed in matching blue utilitarian rompers, as they all danced to “Cooler Than Me” by Mike Posner and “Super Mario Run Remix.”

In the middle of “Fire Burning” by Sean Kingston, the group gathered in a circle and the music stopped, giving the crowd an opportunity to exclusively hear the sound of the team’s tap shoes. 

To close, “Level Up” played as the tap dancers jumped on beat with the taps from their shoes echoing to the crowd. The fun and energetic cartoon sound effects interspersed in On Tap’s set provided the performance with an air of childlike wonder. 


Latin dance group Fuego del Corazón danced for Centro Presente, a non-profit organization dedicated to immigration services. Its introduction video revealed Fuego’s theme—a Latino wedding, specifically highlighting the cultures of Cuba and the Dominican Republic. 

The dancers entered the stage in elegant all-white attire, captivating the attention of their fans and the audience.

“I now pronounce you, Mr. and Mrs. Fuego,” the narrator said in the routine, progressing along the group’s wedding skit. 

Fuego started its routine with the popular club song “Baila Conmigo” by Tiësto. The tempo of its dance matched with the beat of the music. Each movement was coordinated among the dancers. 

“May Fuego have many anniversaries to come,” the narrator exclaimed as the group slowed down its set to a sampling of the classic first dance song “Por una Cabeza” by Carlos Gardel. 

Marc Anthony’s ubiquitous Latin classic “Vivir Mi Vida” followed, as dancers partnered up and danced sensually. 

Fuego del Corazón highlighted the cultural bridges between individual Latin heritages, presenting marriage through dance in fast formation changes. The set ended with each male dancer lifting their partner, who was in a split, into the air. 

BC Irish Dance

BC Irish Dance (BCID) brought Irish dancers together to celebrate Irish culture through classic Celtic formations and partner work. The group mixed classic Irish dance styles with contemporary elements in its routine. Dancing for Rosie’s Place, the first women’s shelter in the United States, the team began its dance routine with “The Boys Are Back In Town” by Thin Lizzy, quickly using its step dance to transition into “Great Balls of Fire” by Miles Teller. 

The group wore military rompers which enabled it to easily hit each jump and section of rapid footwork without being constricted. BCID included a Top Gun: Maverick theme into its dance, including flight-centered songs like “Paper Planes” by M.I.A. The group waved its arms to resemble the wings of planes as it spinned in formation.

Like with its Game of Thrones theme last year, the group included a section of steps without music playing in the background, highlighting the loud volume and precise technique of its dance style. The crowd erupted in applause before the group ended its set with a circle dance to “Levels” by Avicii. The green strobe lights complemented the Air Force jumpsuits. 

Golden Eagles Dance Team

Holding gold pom-poms to accompany their silver costumes, the Golden Eagles Dance Team shined as it made its way onto the stage. A short buzzer sounded as the Golden Eagles counted down from 10 to start their routine. As the official dance team of the BC Marching Band (BCMB), the Golden Eagles fittingly added a parade scene to its New York–themed routine and buzzer sounds separated each section of the performance. 

To start off its set, the group moved in perfect coordination to “Auld Lang Syne” by Mariah Carey.

The Golden Eagles then transitioned into the more energetic “Empire State of Mind” by Alicia Keys. Batons flew above the performers’ heads as they transitioned from song to song. The set was flowy and airy, as complemented by the sparkly silver leotard dresses that bounced as the dancers moved to “The Rhythm of the Night” by Corona. 

The group brought nostalgic elements to its routine, referencing the 1995 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1995—which the BCMB marched in—with a marching band flag. The group also danced to a cover of  “New York, New York”  by Ray Quinn, establishing a blend between historical and contemporary moments in the group’s dance.

The dance group finished its set with a nod to the Rockettes, as it performed a series of high kicks in a line formation. 

BC Full Swing

BC Full Swing’s Phineas and Ferb theme proved to be a crowd pleaser as the audience sang along to the group’s fun and theatrical dances. Members of Full Swing were fashioned in the outfits of the classic Disney Channel TV show’s characters, such as Candace, Dr. Doofenshmirtz, Jeremy, and of course, Perry the Platypus. 

BC Full Swing put together a comical set that included cliché couple dances in line with the children’s show’s sense of humor. The group performed songs from the soundtrack, including the show’s theme song and the classic “Gitchee Gitchee Goo.” Full Swing incorporated quick clips of dialogue from the show Phineas and Ferb right before swing dance broke out across the stage. The soundtrack also included sound effects and songs from the beloved 2010s kids show. 

According to its introductory video, in past years, BC Full Swing solely incorporated the East Coast style of swing dance into its routine, But for 2023 Showdown, the group added in the West Coast variation as well. Lifts, including one where the female dancers put their legs around their partners’ necks and swung around with no hands, evoked loud cheers. 


Bollywood fusion dance team Masti began its routine with a theme summarized in two words: unapologetically cultural. 

Through dance, the first place-finishing group theatrically told a story about villagers fighting for their freedom. Many dancers sported traditional outfits, coordinated based on each person’s role in the storyline of the routine. Some dancers wore cargo pants and black shirts, which contrasted well with the colorful, sparkling traditional outfits. Masti used multiple props, including batons, throughout its routine. 

Masti’s choreography stood out for its storytelling narration and movements, using explosive formations before breaking out to highlight individual groups and dancers on the stage. 

At the end of the routine, the Masti dancers in traditional outfits stood with their fists in the air, showing they were victorious in fighting for their freedom in the storyline of the routine. 


Loud beats reverberated through the speakers as the dancers of Presenting Africa To U (PATU) took the stage wearing flowy skirts in a mix of brown, red, and green—the group’s signature colors. 

PATU chose One Track International, an organization that works to end the global orphanage crisis, as the charity it was performing for. 

To start the routine, members of PATU stood with their arms crossed before breaking out into dance to songs such as “Môkôdô” by Serge Beynaud. PATU integrated a Black Panther theme throughout its set, putting up the hand symbol for Wakanda and including audio from the movie between songs. 

Red lights flashed over PATU’s routine, matching the group’s props of batons with red tassles that it brought out during “King’s Dead” by Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar from the Black Panther soundtrack. The team members danced in a line, quickly breaking apart to spotlight each individual, yet synchronized, movement. Kicks, high arm raises, and dancing transitions between slow and fast tempos dominated the group’s routine. 

Toward the end of the performance, a dancer dressed in the Black Panther costume appeared among the dancers, closing out the movie theme for PATU’s set. 


Dance Organization of Boston College (DOBC), a team formed by and for women from all races, economic standings, and religions, chose Rosie’s Place as its charity.  

The all-female group wore white and blue bodysuits as it danced to “Mr. Sandman” by the Chordettes. 

“Whatever you do don’t fall asleep,” a dreamlike voice announced over the speaker before an eerily calm cover of “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics played over the speakers. The dancers performed slow movements to match the song. The dance picked up as the music changed into the original, upbeat version of “Sweet Dreams.”

The team changed into an all-white wardrobe for the ethereal song “Where the Wild Things” by Labrinth. A girl in a pink nightgown emerged in a crowd of dancers in white costumes during the peak of Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” All dancers except for the girl in the pink nightgown dropped to the floor after spinning until the end of “Dream On.” 

A slow lullaby started the team’s performance, partnered with members jumping on one another, displaying a smooth and talented agility very early on in the set. The dream theme of the set worked well with the dancers’ airy lyrical and ballet movements. 


“Chestnut Hill to Paris, we ask that you please fasten your seatbelts,” the narrator exclaimed to launch F.I.S.T.S.’ routine. 

The group highlighted the first female Black-owned airline, with an aviation theme pervading throughout its set. 

The introductory video celebrated the all-female step group’s start in 1999. Since then, the dancers in F.I.S.T.S. have cultivated new relationships with one another through the love of step-dancing, according to the team’s president Elizabeth Oduro, MCAS ’23 in the introductory video. The team members wore custom F.I.S.T.S. varsity jackets embroidered with the letter “F” in the video, showing off a crisp vintage look. 

In flight attendant uniforms and Y2K tracksuits, F.I.S.T.S. took the stage to loud cheers and fanfare from the audience. The dancers came out on stage replete with loud vibrating beats and a tension-building setup. Repeatedly, the music cut out to reveal the group’s step dance solos. The booming steps heard reverberating off the stage built to a crescendo that left the audience to cheer. The group emphasized the importance of step dance, complete with solos that spotlighted the members’ talent and skill without the need for background music.

F.I.S.T.S. danced as a unit to Beyoncé’s “Diva” synchronized like a mirror image. A lift that concluded the set mimicking a flight through the air. The dancers carried a member up as if she were flying like a plane. As the music stopped, the sounds of the members’ loud clapping and foot stomping filled Conte Forum.


“Welcome to the Aero Universe,” AEROdynamiK Dance Crew (AeroK) said to close its introduction video and introduce the audience to its routine. 

AeroK, a dance group formed under the Korean Student Association, took the stage wearing VR-looking visor glasses and matching gloves for its techno-themed routine.

The visors and gloves glowed, so at times, the audience could only see the outline of the glasses and the intricate and fast movements of each dancer’s hands, giving the appearance that objects were flowing and twirling around the stage. The glowing aspects of AeroK’s costumes accentuated how precise and in sync each move was.

In addition to the tech-inspired elements of their outfits, the dancers wore shiny silver pants and black harnesses, emphasizing the futuristic video game feel of their routine. Clean formations characterized AeroK’s routine, and the purple lighting added to the galactic feeling of it, especially as it reflected the sheen of their silver pants. 

To close the set, the dancers gathered in other formations with one dancer standing up with their arm out victoriously, almost as if he won the simulation AeroK created within their routine. 

Capital Dance Ministry 

This year marked Capital Dance Ministry’s first time participating in ALC Showdown, and the group danced for student missionaries on campus. The Christian dance team’s logo, the alpha fish logo, shined on the screens as it took the stage. All the dancers were wearing the same outfit, a black vest with white underclothes. 

The team said its goal was to bring “people from all cultures and backgrounds coming together to worship one God.” 

To begin, the team played Proverbs 3:5 over the loudspeaker. 

“Trust the lord with all your heart,” the narrator said over the loudspeaker.  

Throughout their routine, the group told a story of a student going through the turmoils of faith and finding God. To go along with this theme, a telephone rang over the speaker, calling a character—Mary’s daughter—to deliver bad news as some dancers left the stage. The rest of the dancers, wearing white masks, came out to perform a song about sin.  

In a slow section of the performance set to “Dear God” by Cory Asbury, members’ fingers waved above their heads as they turned their back from the audience before breaking back into their smooth dance moves. 

The dancers spun in synchronous motion as they ended with “Battle Belongs” by Phil Wickham. 

Sexual Chocolate

“Our theme is Creed,” Sexual Chocolate announced on its introductory video before the group entered Conte’s stage. 

The all-male step team was last year’s crowd choice award winner for its performance of a 90s hip-hop style dance battle. This year, the group opted for a boxing theme, playing on the relevance of Creed III’s recent release. The team centered on boxing as culture and sport, a theme represented by red and blue athletic outfits and a member dressed as a referee in the center. 

The group engaged in a mock boxing match, supported by round-ending bell rings and hip-hop and rap music. 

The team incorporated solo step dances without music into its routine, hitting beats that showed off its agility. 

The team danced in contemporary street style and stepped to songs such as “Keep Their Heads Ringin’’’ by Dr. Dre. The song reflected the tense battle plot between the two leading fighters of the team. 

At points, the opposing groups chanted, building the anticipation of a fight’s winner that would be determined through song. 

“A Tale of 2 Citiez” by J. Cole had audience members singing and screaming together, as dancers proactively showed off through the beat of the music. The set concluded with the blue team winning, pronounced by the referee to the audience’s cheers. 

The blue team boxer held up his prize belt into the air, walking to the front of the stage as the lights dimmed to close off Sexual Chocolate’s performance. 


Wearing all-black basketball jerseys and athletic shorts, hip-hop dance troupe Synergy showed off its agility by launching into complex dance formations. Missy Elliott’s “I’m Really Hot” and “I Get Crazy” by Nicki Minaj played as the team moved through every corner of the dance stage in unison. 

The team’s set, based on the “SynBA Draft,” was marked by the prominent use of basketballs as props, and fast but concentrated motions highlighted the team’s synchronization. 

Synergy lined up like dominoes and executed the same move one after another in a line. At times, the troupe organized formations by height. Its choreography blended a lot of contemporary dance and street hip-hop, complementing the tempo and mood of the songs in the routine. 

An excerpt from a viral TikTok sound saying “BFFR, be f—ing for real” played, arousing cheers from the audience. Synergy played to its strengths with slick, fast-paced transitions from song to song, while still giving time for the audience to react to their freeze poses. 

Fittingly, the group finished its set with “Ball” by T.I., leading to cheers and some fans’ standing ovation in Conte.

Photos by Vikrum Singh / Heights Editor

Correction (4/3/2023, 8:50 p.m.): This article previously stated that Phaymus danced to “I’ve Been Thinking About You” by Klaas and Londonbeat in its set at Showdown. It has been corrected to reflect that Phaymus danced to “Lose Control” by Missy Elliot. The article also previously stated that BCID’s performance had an “Air Force theme.” It has been corrected to reflect that BCID’s theme was Top Gun: Maverick.

Correction (5/1/2023, 5:01 p.m.): This article previously stated that the Golden Eagles began their set after a countdown from three and that the first song in their performance was Robert BGM’s “Am Arbeitsplatz.” It has been corrected to say that they began their set after a countdown from 10 and that the first song was “Auld Lang Syne” by Mariah Carey.

April 2, 2023