Arts, On Campus

How Last Year’s Winners Are Preparing for ALC Showdown 2024

ALC Showdown is the biggest day of the year for Boston College’s 17 dance teams. They spend months perfecting their sets in hopes to win the annual competition, which always impresses the BC community with displays of culture and complex choreographies. 

This year, teams are excited to carry on the tradition.

Masti, BC’s Bollywood fusion dance team, won first place at Showdown in 2023. One of its goals with last year’s set was engaging storytelling, and its attention to detail paid off.

According to Sriya Jampana, Masti captain and CSOM ’26, the pressure of returning to the competition after its win has served as motivation for this year’s team. 

“I’ve never seen a group of people work so well together, just the team in general,” Jampana said. “The spirit is really, really there. They’re just people who are willing to really help each other and show up and be there.”

Masti’s spirit is one of dedication and collaboration, according to Abhi Akumala, choreographer and CSOM ’25. The team started learning the choreography for its Showdown set in January, giving the group an extra month of preparation than it had last year.

“I feel like especially this year, we focused a lot on maximizing the strength of our choreographers,” Akumala said. “Because a lot of us are new.”

Twelve members of this year’s team are rookies. According to Akumala, this turnover hasn’t stopped the team from implementing complex choreography. The new dancers have taken on the challenge of preparing for Showdown skillfully and passionately.

“The goal of the captains or the board was to instill the values in the rookies that help them to succeed and grow and become better dancers,” Akumala said.

Masti has been developing its set since the fall. Although Jampana said the process is always evolving, the group has combined its technical skill with inspiration from different facets of Bollywood dance culture to craft this year’s set. Showdown’s popularity at BC adds pressure to the group’s performance, but also an important platform.

“It’s really nice because it’s such a big thing here that we can not only showcase dance,” Jampana said. “But we can also showcase our culture.”

This year, Fuego del Corazón will be opening Showdown with a set that will encapsulate Latin culture like never before, according to president and MCAS ’24 Eliana Perez.

Innovative costume designs, new stunts, and unique storytelling are some of the novel elements that Fuego’s set will incorporate this year, according to Perez and Sebastian Gonzalez-Flores, LSEHD ’26.

Fuego has been brainstorming and preparing for Showdown since the beginning of the semester, and the team has been rehearsing and perfecting its choreography five to six days a week, according to Gonzalez-Flores. 

Fuego placed third at last year’s Showdown and second in 2022. Perez and Gonzalez-Flores agree that this year, Fuego has decided on a theme that will allow the group to navigate the diversity and complexity of Latin culture through a broader range of music. 

The 22 members participating in this year’s Showdown include freshmen who will experience the adrenaline-inducing event for the first time. 

“I’m excited to have the newbies experience that for the first time, because I feel like we’re always trying to explain what Showdown feels like,” Gonzalez-Flores said. “It’s so hard to really describe unless you go through it.”

Meanwhile, Perez prepares for what will be her third and last Showdown performance as a senior. 

“I’m really excited to share the stage with the team just one last time,” Perez Said. “And also we’re opening Showdown this year, so that’s very scary in a way, but very exciting to be able to honor it.”

Last year, UPrising Dance Crew impressed at Showdown with its “Conformity” set that earned the team second place. This year, it’s trying to replicate that success, but Uprising is also taking a bit of a different approach. 

“Last year, our theme was conformity, so we were like all coordinated and kind of like the exact same person,” said Ashley Lee, one of UPrising’s creative captains and LSEHD ’25. “I think this year, there’s less of that. Like, I think we have a lot more individuality.”

UPrising can’t share too many details about its showdown set, but there are definitely some things the group wants the judges to notice throughout its set. 

“I feel like we definitely would want the judges to be able to tell the story that we’re trying to convey and the culture or like the message that we want to try to deliver,” said Rona Sun,  president of UPrising and MCAS ’24. 

The culture of UPrising is collaborative, with everyone able to contribute thematic ideas and dance sequences to the set regardless of their position. 

“As captains, it’s definitely our responsibility to guide the team in terms of the direction we take with our dance,” said Sammy Kim, team captain and MCAS ’24. “But we also like to encourage the rest of the team to make their own dances to contribute to the set.”

UPrising had been practicing four times a week, but now it practices daily in anticipation of Showdown. Despite all of the work and energy that goes into a Showdown set, the team said it’s feeling good about its performance.

“I feel like everyone on the team is just really excited because Showdown is such a big event,” Lee said. “It’s really exciting to think about how we’re going to be onstage just performing with each other with a team that we spent all year with. So I personally am really excited.”

April 7, 2024