“I’ve been judging this competition for years, and based on what I’ve seen so far tonight, you’re guaranteed to win.”
—This was the phrase with which Karl Bell, assistant director of the Office of Student Involvement (OSI), concluded all his criticism on Friday evening in the Heights Room. Bell was part of a three-person panel, judging Dancing with the Scholars—a dance competition based off of the popular ABC show of a very similar name. Hosted by the Cape Verdean Student Association (CVSA), the contest paired members of CVSA’s e-board with dancers from 10 of Boston College’s dance organizations. Each performing to a mix of popular songs and traditional Cape Verde music, the 10 couples competed for “crowd favorite” and “judges choice.”
Adisa Duke, A&S ’16, and Arantxa Medina, a dancer from V.I.P and A&S ’17, finished first with the audience. DJ Fajana, A&S ’16, and Lakeisha Joy, a dancer from Presenting Africa To U (PATU) and A&S ’15, won over the panel. Here’s a breakdown of Friday’s 10 acts.
— Prince ALI (@TylerJay_) October 3, 2014
DOBC (Rebecca Rogers, CSON ’16, and Alex Ojugbeli, A&S ’17)
Dancing with the Scholars opened with a quick audio clip from Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda,” to be followed by a strong contemporary routine. Rogers and Ojugbeli were criticized by the judges for not including enough Cade Verdean music in their mix, but all in all, it was a strong start to the night. Ojugbeli was an adept partner, picking up the routine from Rogers quite well, and bringing that chemistry on stage.
F.I.S.T.S. (Stephanie Delma, A&S ’16, and Jon Vaughn, A&S ’15)
It start with one of F.I.S.T.S.’ iconic step routines, and from there, Delma and Vaughn launched into a high-energy performance. The climax of this particular routine was a short strip segment, which gained strong vocal approval from the crowd and later, careful responses from the judge panel.
PATU (Lakeisha Joy, A&S ’15, and DJ Fajana, A&S ’16)
Merging modern style with traditional African movement, Joy and Fajana won a standing ovation from the crowd. Although not a part of a dance group himself, Fajana proved himself a dynamic partner, keeping up with Joy throughout their particularly fast-paced routine.
— Kwani A. Lunis (@KwaniALunis) October 4, 2014
UPrising (Adam Clegg, A&S ’15, and Jasmine Hill, A&S ’15)
UPrising’s showing at Dancing with the Scholars was the second performance of the night opening with Minaj’s “Anaconda,” and this visitation of the summer hit did bring in a fair deal of Minaj’s dance interpretation of the song into the mix. Shaking it out to start, Clegg and Hill had a comic energy on stage, and they did well playing off of each other’s facial expressions.
Fuego del Corazon (Emily Wise, CSON ’15, and Alex Rhodes, A&S ’15)
Fuego del Corazon won last semester’s Showdown in the dance category, so heading into Dancing with the Scholars, expectations were high for Wise and Rhodes. Incorporated into the routine were Fuego’s knack for acrobatics, with Rhodes impressively flipping Wise 360 degrees at one point in the act.
Sexual Chocolate (Jerome Wright, A&S ’15, and Shayra Brown, CGSOM ’18)
Starting the performance by throwing Hershey’s Kisses into the crowd, Wright and Brown kept their performance in the spirit of Sexual Chocolate, Wright’s dance crew. Brown, a member of the Women’s Basketball Team, matched with Wright, lacing up in Sexual Chocolate’s signature Timberland Boots. Stopping the music midway through to perform a short step routine, Wright and Brown brought all the flare of Sexual Chocolate’s Big Shows to the much smaller stage.
VIP (Adisa Duke, A&S ’16, and Arantxa Medina, A&S ’17)
VIP’s representative at Dancing with the Scholars was a crowd favorite. The recently formed Latin dance group made its first major appearance at BC at last semester’s Showdown, and if Duke and Medina had anything to show on Friday, it was that VIP is not afraid to engage in the intense acrobatics that once only Fuego del Corazon was willing to engage in. Smart and sexy, Duke and Medina’s routine showed off the hot chemistry between the couple, as well as a fair deal of preparation for the event.
— Kwani A. Lunis (@KwaniALunis) October 4, 2014
BCID (Megan Keating, A&S ’15, and Ronald Claude, A&S ’16)
Irish dance and Cape Verdean music might sound incompatible, but Keating did amazing work adapting some of the country’s folk classics into an Irish step routine. Featuring one segment with a chair that at first appeared quite scandalous (but ultimately was relatively tame), this portion of the night had a lot of excited energy, and considering how specialized Irish dance is, Claude did remarkably well in following Keating’s lead.
Masti (Vebhav Garg, A&S ’15, and Patience Marks, CSON ’15)
BC’s contemporary Indian dance crew Masti won top honors in the cultural category of Showdown last year, and Garg brought that fire on Friday. Marks and Garg played off of each other, and they were particularly dynamic partners in the sense that they both seemed to be pushing the other to give more.
Phaymus (Colby Allen, A&S ’15, and Dennis Clifford, A&S ’15)
The returning champions of last year’s Dancing with the Scholars, Allen and Clifford were a glorious combination. Clifford, a player on the men’s basketball team, stood at 7-foot-1, while Allen barely broke five. Bringing humor into the mix, the couple had a very strong presence on stage, and surprisingly, they worked together quite well in spite of the extreme height differential. Representing BC hip-hop dance crew Phaymus, Allen and Clifford ended the evening in style, setting high (or tall?) standards for next year’s Dancing with the Scholars.Correction: An earlier version of this article stated Dennis Clifford’s heights as 7-foot-11.
Featured Image by Maggie Powers / Heights Photo Illustration