Crafting a well run competition: A dancer's perspective.

Discussion in 'Main Bhangra Discussion' started by J Wong, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. J Wong

    J Wong Member

    Throughout my career thus far I have danced at/attended many bhangra competitions. Some good, some bad. Through these experiences I hope to list the necessary qualities of a good competition. Here we go.

    Application Process

    The application should be clear and concise with definitive due dates (tryout video, completed application, fee, notification date, etc). The application should include information about the competition, rules and regulations, rubric, and other general application questions (names, addresses, team information, etc).

    Upon acceptance, the follow up documents should include venue information with detailed stage diagrams. Judge information. Definitive due dates (mix, lighting, roster, etc). Hotel information (competitions should attempt to negotiate a team rate). Additional rules, etc.

    If "points" are to be awarded for successful submission of the team's application and further components, these rules should be outlined prior. Under no circumstances should a competition amend said rules to award more or less points to a given team. For example, "We felt that teams who submitted parts early should get extra points even though you submitted on time."

    Pre-Competition Weekend

    Regular updates emails and a dedicated committee member that will answer team emails quickly.


    Meals: Funds can be a limiting factor for a competition, if only one meal can be provided, lunch on the competition day rather than the mixer should be provided given the lack of time teams have. If you cannot provide meals it is important that you inform teams.

    Mixer: Do what you want (try to make it entertaining), but start on time and provide transportation if needed. MC/announcer should be competent (e.g. know the team names).

    Water: Water should be given to teams following the mixer.

    Parking: Organizers should keep parking availability in mind as many teams drive to competitions. Furthermore, hotel parking can be ludicrously expensive and shouldn't, generally, be considered a viable first choice.

    Venue: A venue needs to be functional, if a committee is able, choose a venue with a reliable stage. Competitions have generally favored the aesthetics of the venue rather than how functional the stage is to the teams. Additionally, venue staff need to be knowledgeable (i.e. proper lighting cues, test sound prior, etc).

    Practice Space: Finding a decent space for teams to practice in is always helpful and appreciated.

    Hotel: Work with the hotel to secure spaces for teams.
    Note: Hotels need to learn to treat us with respect if we reciprocate it. Too often do hotel managers attempt to restrict our use of the hotel (i.e. excessive noise complaint warnings (if we aren't making sound), confinement to rooms (while other patrons can use the facilities as they please), etc).

    After-party: Venues need to be sensible - teams of 12-16 + groupies + liaisons/committee + locals = a lot of people. Teams should have first priority regardless if someone paid for a "VIP ticket". Additionally, committee members need to work with the staff of the venue to create an efficient method of allowing access. Many times teams cant enter the AP simply because of the sheer incompetence of some venue staff.

    Tech-time: Attempt to remain on time (create a schedule and stick to it)

    Liaisons: Need to be knowledgable. Set up meetings during the weeks prior to educate your liaisons. Create a method of communication between liaisons and the committee (GroupMe is always good). Additionally, liaisons shouldn't disappear before the show ends and teams return to the hotel.

    Committee: All members should be abreast of all information in order to better aid liaisons with questions. It is not fair nor practical to rely on the organizer for all the information.

    Staff: Shouldn't be in a drunken stupor at all during the competition. Staff should be available in the event a team encounters complications. For example, a team member missing a band due to missing the mixer, and denied entry into the venue.

    Judging: Select a judging panel based on dancing experience (not because they danced with someone famous, or play dhol, or are well known on the circuit, or because they were on some old team, or because they captained a team) Give the judges ample time to deliberate. If a judge states they need to finish tallying and/or fix an error allow them. Fair judging should not be compromised because of time constraints. Committee members should not be involved with judging as well. Furthermore, all judging documents should be released to teams and the community (unless it was rigged, there should be no reason for the committee to withhold this information).

    A competition and judges should be open about what they are looking for in a "winning" team as a general courtesy so that teams that do not fit this type of competition don't waste their time.

    That is all for the moment. If I remember more I shall add it.
  2. sajan250

    sajan250 New Member

    Every comp organizer should see this and make sure they cover all of it. Good thread.

    Also, I think somewhere there should be certain rules/requirements for liaisons and anyone involved with the competition. I feel like some comps don't realize the importance of liaisons, but they are what keep the teams in the loop and what help keep everything more organized and running smoothly (also make sure nothing else adds to the stress of the competition).
  3. amancheema

    amancheema Active Member

    If you advertise/follow through with a credible judging panel, you will have a legit team lineup.

    In my experience, who the judges are plays a huge role in a team's decision to apply/re-apply to a competition. Many teams don't apply to certain comps simply because the judges are incompetent and have no business being on any judging panel in the first place.
  4. Shahrukh

    Shahrukh Member

  5. J Wong

    J Wong Member

    +1 and added to the list.
  6. Very bad ass write up !! Good work man ! Also I think this should be stickied
  7. yraparla


  8. Danny

    Danny Member

    Man, somebody give me the funding

    Throw a wild competition outside on an L.A. Beach in the summer then everyone hop onto a cruise ship and take off into the Pacific*'s a wrap.

    I'M ON A BOAT - The Lonely Island (Ft. T-Pain)

    *remember where you heard it first.
  9. nmistry2

    nmistry2 New Member

    well said, very well said, i think food and water are very important for the competition day!
    and getting into after parties without stress would be nice if i am on the team
  10. Trisha Arora

    Trisha Arora New Member

    I couldn't agree more. One thing that I've seen a lot that's been a major problem is the noise complaints. A lot of the time this is because teams are on the same floors as other guests. Organizers should try to get all of the teams on the same floors to avoid the complaints since all of the people involved with the competition won't be so spread out throughout different floors.
  11. Ak_Di_Nishani

    Ak_Di_Nishani New Member

    its not as easy as it sounds and most hotels try their best to do this.. but if teams arrive and they need rooms they cant just make them wait while rooms are being cleaned due to late checkouts etc by guests the night before... there are alot of logistical issues that go along with it.. but this is definitely one of the methods that could help reduce noise complaints if deemed possible by the hotel
    smehta313 likes this.
  12. Think this might mean that it's a good time to bring Bayside Bhangra back.
    Saab likes this.
  13. RsKderpu

    RsKderpu Member

    I'm not sure if this is something that teams already do but, In order to make things more organized and easier on everyone (the teams and liaisons), teams should make a list items they KNOW they'll need for the competition and give it to the liaisons prior to the competition weekend. This will give liaisons time to get it all together and have it ready for their team; instead of teams listing a few things here and there last second. In my opinion, this would make everything less stressful for liaisons as well teams.
  14. smehta313

    smehta313 Active Member

    GroupMes & Whatsapp Groups before the competition weekend have been helpful and have also been great during the weekend of the competition.
  15. mafzal

    mafzal Judge / Dancer

    There are some great tips and ideas here. I'm currently working on a resource packet for competitions, mainly centered around judging practices, tentatively titled "Bhangra Judging Best Practices for Competition Organizers". Content will include advice on running useful and efficient captains' meetings, suggested rules for deliberation and placings, how to run feedback sessions, etc. The goal is to help new competitions in particular, increase efficiency and standardization across comps.

    If you're able to contribute please shoot me an email:

    I'd love to have a couple team captains and competition organizers involved.

    PS - You're probably thinking "omg what about rubrics and choosing judges"? Stay tuned...
  16. sahab

    sahab Active Member

    Submitting materials post-acceptance:

    The best so far has been Buckeye Mela. They use a website that uses your team name and is secured with a username and password. For Furteelay, ours is The website is your one-stop shop for submitting all team material (roster, mix, team pic, intro video, etc.). It also displays due dates in a clear manner and has links to buy show and after party tickets.

    I prefer this to google drive (which Blowout used in 2016 when I went with MBT, it may have changed since then) or emailing all these files to the competition email.

    This is a great tool that I hope more competitions implement.
    smehta313, Basim, Nimit and 4 others like this.
  17. Saab

    Saab Today is a gift

    Couple of thoughts since this was first posted:

    1. Feedback for teams that don't make the competition would be a huge plus for up and coming teams. Typically, competitions are looking for something specific in who they accept, so providing feedback (even if it is "We are looking for elite teams, you are not that") is helpful for team's so that they can understand how they did

    2. Organizers <-> Judges <-> Teams have bi-directional input on the judging process - teams can give feedback to judges/organizers (how was the judging process/what feedback do we want to hear?), Judges to teams/organizers (why X team placed this way), and organizers to teams/judges (we want X). This allows for better expectations and less drama

    3. Embrace the internet/Apps - Amazon Prime, PrimeNow, Websites (like Buckeye), PostMates, GroupMe, Whatsapp. Most competitions have group chats with liaisons and organizers, but why stop there? Portal login of information, more electronic schedules/views (no more paper schedules), real time electronic updates (it would be cool if you built and app for a comp, tech time was delayed 10 minutes, and you were notified on your phone for example) are small examples of how to embrace tech and stay with the times. Also, comp organizers, if your liaisons are running around/doing other things and have a budget for teams, PostMates + PrimeNow are good options to get teams stuff (water, meds, pins, etc) during the weekend without compromising logistics.

    4. Empower and educate liaisons and staff to make smart decisions. Too often I have seen issues with getting answers on questions/logistics/timing, etc from folks and they don't know or don't feel they can make a certain call. It is important that liaisons can provide a bulwark for all of the teams concerns and establish a clear line of escalation for specific issues so things can get resolved quickly (no one wants to be stuck at tech time for three hours without knowing whats up...)

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