This coming Saturday is ALC Showdown 2018. For those unaware, this is one of the biggest arts-related events every year. This year, 14 dance teams will perform for a huge crowd in Conte Forum. There are two categories that compete for cash prizes (that are donated to a charity of the team’s choice). These two categories are Dance and Culture. In addition to these two categories, there are teams chosen as showcase dances. These teams are not competing for the prize, and instead are there to participate in the performance.
Last year, I had a few problems with the way Showdown was done, and I’d like to discuss a few ways that I think the event has improved, and a few changes I hope to see next weekend.
First, I think ALC made a very good choice in moving Showdown back into April. Last year, the event was in March, and I believe that this put an undue amount of time-based pressure on the dance teams to prepare for the big night. Auditions take place in January, and it is very important that these teams have ample time to prepare, especially when taking into account the fact that all of these teams have spring shows and showcases that they must organize and prepare for. This is not even considering the struggle each Boston College dance team must undergo to find adequate and available practice space (Hint: there isn’t enough space for all 16 groups on campus, and they must juggle available space with each other). So, in moving the event back to April, ALC has done a good job of providing the teams with enough time to prepare while also not getting into Arts Fest time.
There are some improvements I would like to see. The first, I think that the votes for the people’s choice awards should be more transparent than last year. The idea that the crowd can choose the winner of an award not involved with the Dance or Culture categories is really great, and I think that its introduction last year was very well done. This year, however, I think ALC should release the exact numbers, at least for the top two or three candidates, in the interest of transparency.
Second, last year there was mention that the profits of Showdown 2017 would go to the development of more student spaces (think: outside of Hillside) and the eventual construction of a student center. Showdown makes a lot of profits, but it doesn’t make “new building” profits. ALC (and UGBC as the umbrella organization) either fundamentally misunderstand the way a student center has to be built, or they insist on giving money to a project that a) BC should be paying for on its own and b) won’t make any sort of difference. Showdown makes thousands of dollars, but a building costs millions. ALC should be using these profits for something more achievable, whether it be as supplemental funds for dance teams, or for part of one of ALC’s larger goals. But that money should go to something that AHANA+ Leadership Council should be paying for.
Third, I think that Showdown could benefit from better sound equipment. Last year, I was fortunate enough to cover the event from inside the rink, where the dance teams sat as they waited to perform. From there, I was very close to the stage, and could hear everything. But, sitting in the stands of Conte, it’s much more difficult to hear anything apart from the music that the team has chosen for their performance. This might not be a problem for most of the dance teams, but there are some BC groups that need to be heard in addition to the music they choose. Sexual Chocolate and Females Incorporating Sisterhood Through Step (F.I.S.T.S.) are both step groups. Their performances are very percussive, incorporating the sounds of their synchronized stomps, claps, and slaps to match the beat of the song. These sounds aren’t carried up to the higher rows in Conte. This cheapens the performances of two very talented teams. What I hope to see this year at Showdown is some way that these noises, beats, and sounds can be amplified to present groups like this in the way that they should be.
I think this Showdown is going to be great, because Showdown is always great. The teams and the coordinators do an incredible job with this huge event. I just want it to be as good as it can be.
Featured Image by Boston College