Review: East Coast Showdown 2019

amrinder13

Member
Messages
58
Hi all - hope everyone is having a great start to 2019!

As a preface, we don’t typically publish any critiques or get involved in the “behind the scenes” operations of the circuit, but we had such an unpleasant experience at our most recent competition that we felt strongly enough to put this together. Even though we only took the time to write about the items that we thought warranted feedback, most other things were on point!

This is solely from the perspective of the DCMPAA coaching staff and is from the expectations of a Bhangra competition only! (It was a fusion competition – 8 Raas/8 Bhangra)

In no specific order:
Post Registration asks were over the top/abnormal late fees
  • Ex. - 3 pictures of each dancer (mix of dancing and street clothes) were required to be submitted for “Decoration & Hospitality” purposes. We completely understand wanting to make all teams feel welcomed and appreciated, but it isn’t necessary to charge a $20 late fee each day we don’t have 36 pictures collected.
  • We repeatedly informed the committee that we wouldn’t be offended or upset if we missed out on a warm welcome or decorations as it’s our own fault, but the committee insisted.
Every minimalistic thing required payment of some sort
  • Ex. - We submitted a roster during initial registration but by the time of the competition we had switched out a couple of dancers due to injuries and family events. When we asked the committee to switch out the dancers, there was a $10 fee for each name that had to be switched out on the roster.
Buying tickets online was not an option
  • All tickets were purchased via a google excel sheet and payment made to ECS via Venmo. That was the only way you could purchase tickets.
Venue capacity
  • Total capacity was ~300-350 (can’t remember exact number).
  • There were a total of 16 teams
    • If you conservatively average 10 members a team, that’s 160 dancers alone (more than half capacity)
  • Even if dancers had to stay backstage…the math doesn’t add up
Poor Quality Sound
  • The sound system was one speaker on each side of the stage. The audience could barely hear the music let alone the dancers.
Point Deductions
  • We were initially deducted 2 points without knowledge or warning before we had even performed. The reasoning was because we were disrespectful during tech time when talking about the poor-quality sound and also due to the fact that the production employee’s manager had apparently complained about our rudeness after tech time. When asked to talk to the manager and confront the situation, we were denied.
  • We had a pleasant conversation with production employee and the interaction was nothing out of the ordinary.
  • After 20 minutes of back and forth 15 minutes before showtime, we were rewarded our 2 points back.
Tech Time Issue
  • The production manager needed time to cue the track/adjust the sound (longer than usual, lasted roughly 2 minutes). Not a big deal at all, but the tech time clock (a timer displayed on a laptop that was sitting on the stage) kept winding down and nobody was keeping track of the wasted time. Naturally, one of our team members went to press “pause” on the timer as there was no committee member in the area.
  • Not a problem until the committee informed us that this was another thing that contributed to the above point deduction.
  • In the end, we were rewarded an arbitrary 1:30 extra minutes
Judging
  • It came to our attention that one of the judges on the panel had a current affiliation and has a history not only with a competing team, but a personal relationship with the judging chair of the competition committee. The judging chair did admit they knew about the affiliation but told us they had come up with an algorithm to insure the scoring would not be bias. After asking what the algorithm was, she explained it as simply eliminating the outliers of any particular judge.
We have given a lot of thought as to how things could have taken such a left turn. We came to this competition last year, it’s inaugural year nonetheless, and had the time of our lives! The competition was run very seamlessly. Again, we have no insight as to what went on under the hood at ECS 2019. But, after collecting our thoughts, our best guess is we think it generally comes down to the following:

This was a fusion competition. 8 Raas/8 Bhangra teams. Again, no problem at all – we knew what we were signing up for. However, after speaking with some committee members, we found out that the two directors of the show only had a Raas background and are running the competition from prior experience in the Raas circuit. On a go forward basis, it would make sense to have one director with a Raas background to channel the Raas expectation and another with a Bhangra background to channel the Bhangra expectation. Again, this is our best guess as we don’t know otherwise.

As mentioned, we don’t expect anything from this post. The judges rewarded us first place – this post is not out of bad spite. We wanted to express our experience as competitions are ultimately the lifeblood of the circuit. If teams had no place to compete or showcase our talent, the circuit would not be where it is today. Competitions have a HUGE impact on every team in many ways. We hope this helps the general improvement of competitions not only to enhance teams experiences but for the greater good of the Bhangra community!

Lastly – we want to give a BIG BIG shoutout to our liasons Azman Garcha & Gurdeep Singh. Even throughout the midst of all the frustration, these guys were able to keep our heads above water! Thank you mitro.

Collectively,

DCMPAA Coaching Staff

Feel free to private message us on any media platform for any follow up/questions/feedback. Thank you!
 

yomamajama

Active Member
Messages
158
Don’t you get prize money for getting first? So aren’t you getting reimbursed for your costs?

I can understand if your having to spend 100s of dollars for petty costs, like that one guy at vice city who spent $135 for 45 min drive to a hotel..but complaining over chump change isn’t going to persuade a lot of people. Seems like ECS was on their game and had strict rules; good for ECS. The alternative would be utter chaos, like Vice City Bhangra comp.
 

amrinder13

Member
Messages
58
Don’t you get prize money for getting first? So aren’t you getting reimbursed for your costs?

I can understand if your having to spend 100s of dollars for petty costs, like that one guy at vice city who spent $135 for 45 min drive to a hotel..but complaining over chump change isn’t going to persuade a lot of people. Seems like ECS was on their game and had strict rules; good for ECS. The alternative would be utter chaos, like Vice City Bhangra comp.

Yomamajama,

We appreciate you addressing 1 out of the 8 points raised. We again want to mention, we are not trying to get into the business of “persuading people”. If it wasn't clear enough in the original post, we again want to stress that this post is entire out of constructive feedback and review for the betterment of the overall circuit moving forward.

To address your point though, even with the $1,150 prize money, we were still out of pocket from base costs alone (registration fee, hotel, transportation). Lastly, this isn’t about money at all, but even if the prize money did cover all competition costs, what about the teams that didn’t place?
 
Messages
17
Since East Coast Showdown was mentioned in this post, we felt that it’s only fair for us to address each of these points and be fully transparent. We would have been more than happy to have had a direct conversation with DCMPAA regarding these issues in order to further improve and enhance team experiences for East Coast Showdown in the future. However, in the team feedback form that was sent out for this exact purpose, it seemed that DCMPAA did not take the proper time to fill it out. In fact, our on stage rehearsal (tech time) was rated a 5 by DCMPAA on the feedback form while their issues displayed within the above post express opinions contrary to that. The form was sent out as an opportunity for teams to provide us with honest feedback so we can genuinely improve.
  1. Post Registration Late Fees
    1. We outlined multiple times, even during the initial application, that teams must adhere to the deadlines. However, if and when teams contacted us to ask for extensions given extenuating circumstances, we happily waived the fees. It was only in cases where we were not informed of the delays that we implemented these fees. Yes, the fees may have been high, but they were set with the purpose of discouraging teams from turning in items late, which is standard for many competitions in the circuit. All deadlines were communicated well in advance, thus there was no legitimate reason for teams to not be able to meet them. Teams were sent reminders via email and through the captain’s GroupMe for upcoming deadlines. In addition, unlike other teams, our registration chairs personally texted DCMPAA about deadlines (serving as a third reminder) so they were made aware of these potential issues.
    2. Ultimately, DCMPAA did not end up submitting the pictures that were requested. We were asked to use the pictures from the submitted driver’s licenses. We were insistent on the pictures since we would like to provide all of our competing teams with the same standard of care and hospitality as well as hold them accountable to the same rules. Furthermore, we have correspondence with DCMPAA indicating they understood the pictures were due on a certain date and they were cognizant of the associated fee.
  2. Roster Change Fees
    1. We would like to clarify that the $10 late fee was not charged for each name changed on the roster; rather, there was a one time flat fee of $10 for editing the entire roster to any capacity once before our final change deadline. Many competitions do have slight fees affiliated with changing roster members because it creates logistical difficulties for the competition including hospitality updates with the swag vendors, food updates with caterers, insurance updates, etc. These fees should not have come as a surprise, as they were outlined in the initial application packet.
  3. Ticket Payment
    1. Although based at a university, where Venmo is used as a primary form of payment, we gave all teams and audience members the option to buy tickets online through PayPal. We received fees via PayPal from DCMPAA, indicating they had prior knowledge of PayPal as valid payment option. Furthermore, it was listed as an option on both the mandatory registration form, as well as the Facebook event page itself. We were never contacted by any team or audience member expressing issues with the available payment methods. If any individual had done so, we would have surely tried to provide a different option such as check or cash.
  4. Venue Size
    1. The total capacity of the venue was 500, not 300-350. Furthermore, only half of the teams were ever seated in the audience leaving upwards of 300 seats in the audience. Regardless, we do understand that the venue was on the smaller side and do hope to address this issue for the future.
  5. Sound System
    1. We understand and agree that the sound system was not the greatest, and we apologize. However, we would like to clarify there were also speakers hanging from the ceiling besides the two speakers on the side of the stage, not just the two speakers on the side as stated in the post above. We will definitely be looking into a different venue for the future where sound is not a limitation, however we tried our best to provide the best experience with what we had available.
  6. Point Deductions
    1. We did not immediately inform DCMPAA they would be receiving a point deduction because we were still discussing amongst ourselves to ensure the deduction was truly justified. We wanted to make sure we did not make a decision in the heat of the moment, and DCMPAA was informed of our decision on Saturday around 1:30 PM while meeting with our judging chair. In our rubric, we had specifically outlined that 2 points could be taken away for unsportsmanlike conduct.
    2. We could not allow DCMPAA to talk to to the stage managers to confront the situation because we were 10 minutes away from the start of the show when they requested the meeting. During this time, the production staff was busy and getting ready to start the show. However, we were assured by our technology chair that the production staff had found DCMPAA’s behavior unbecoming, and their behavior towards board members on stage was also unacceptable. Many teams find tech time to be stressful and that is completely understandable, however very few teams react in the way DCMPAA did. The fact that our production team spoke to DCMPAA in a respectful and courteous manner during their lighting cue review is a reflection of their professionalism rather than a statement on DCMPAA’s behavior. Furthermore, a member of the DCMPAA coaching staff conceded that they were rude but responded with “So what? Where is that specifically in the rubric?” Ultimately, competition boards put in a lot of time and effort to provide a platform for teams to showcase their hard work and talent. While we would like to just focus on dance and not worry about point deductions for behavior, it is unfair to treat the production crew who work tirelessly, and executive board who has spent months organizing the competition in this manner.
    3. This year was not the first time we have had to deal with this sort of behavior from DCMPAA. During East Coast Showdown 2018, DCMPAA displayed unsportsmanlike behavior and yelled directly at our production staff, while also swearing directly at our board members. The point deductions in the rubric were added this year as a means to avoid such unpleasant confrontations in the future.
  7. Tech Time
    1. DCMPAA pressing pause on the timer was not the reason for their aforementioned point deduction, rather, we contributed DCMPAA’s handling of the situation as the reasoning for their deduction. Furthermore, there were three other board members present keeping track of the situation. In addition, a member of the executive board started a timer on their phone to keep track of the time that had been wasted and then added the lost time, since the timer was started slightly later. In the future, we will definitely make sure we have more established protocols for these types of situations.
  8. Judging
    1. Our judging chair, Gayatri Sardana, will directly be responding to all the expressed concerns regarding judging in a post on the behalf of East Coast Showdown
Overall we heard positive things regarding the competition weekend from most of the teams that we talked to and received feedback from- both Bhangra and Raas. Teams who were present at both ECS 2018 and ECS 2019 have all remarked on the many improvements that were made this year. This is not to say that there is no room for improvement - we were provided with honest critiques and areas we can do better, and we have taken all those critiques in stride and look forward to incorporating them for the future. Admittedly, we may be stricter than other competitions - we check wristbands to ensure only roster members are allowed in and charge late fees based on deadlines we communicate well in advance. However, we do not think that we are unfair in doing any of these things. We run our show on time and try to be as organized as possible to provide the most seamless and safe experience for all teams. Registration fees, prize money amounts, and hotel costs were all disclosed to teams before they even applied. Therefore, all teams knew how much they would be spending and how much they could possibly come out with prior to accepting their spot in the lineup. We hope to mitigate costs to teams in other ways by providing transportation on the day of the show between rehearsals and the hotel, providing meals throughout the weekend, and negotiating the lowest rates possible for hotel rooms. Furthermore, the executive board consisted of people who have been a part of the Bhangra circuit, and other Bhangra dancers were also consulted to ensure that the flow of the weekend would be smooth. We are sorry that DCMPAA had a different experience from the one we hoped to provide, but we feel it is only fair for us to present our side of the story. Nonetheless, we wish DCMPAA the best of luck with their future endeavors. We hope to continually improve our competition because at the end of the day we all have a common goal of bettering this circuit.

Feel free to directly message us if you have any further questions or would like any additional clarifications!
 

gayatrisardana

New Member
Messages
6
My name is Gayatri Sardana and I am the Bhangra Judging Chair for ECS 2019. This is my ninth time coordinating the judging process for a competition, but the first time that I have faced such allegations. Hence, I would like to take this opportunity to clarify some of the claims made by DCMPAA.

Judge Affiliations: I am not sure why this was brought up to me the morning of the competition, as the judges and their backgrounds were made public months prior to the competition (in fact prior to even the team application deadline). I actually selected each judge BECAUSE of my previous positive professional and personal relationship with them. I ensured that each individual had judged at least three competitions in the past and captained a team that had placed at several competitions (you can check our Instagram for further reference of this). As I read the ongoing BTF threads about competitions choosing random unqualified judges, I think I handled this quite well actually.
For the record, I witnessed parents and dancers from DCMPAA periodically conversing with the judges prior to the competition and posting photos on Facebook; there were actually several team affiliations between the judges and various competing teams. Such affiliations are inevitable in the circuit (ex. an old DCMPAA instructor judged DCMPAA at Got Bhangra 2016), hence why I sought the help of a fellow circuit veteran in creating a tabulation sheet. I never have and never will prioritize my personal relationships over the integrity of the competition, and the procedure for judging is proof of that.
I also gave a more in depth explanation than simply “eliminating the outliers” to the coaches. I explained how the normalization was developed and offered to give a more detailed breakdown if needed, which they declined. I also asked if there were any other actionable suggestions that they had, which they did not. At the end of the conversation, they stated “Great, we just wanted this assurance”.
Finally, DCMPAA won first place, so clearly there was no bias in judging or tabulation, especially in a manner that would have been detrimental to their team.

Point Deductions: Let me make it clear that DCMPAA’s point deduction was waived for two reasons. The first is that I did not explicitly define “unsportsmanlike conduct” in the deductions section of the rubric, so the coaches claimed that they were not sure what that meant exactly. Secondly, they chose to have this conversation with us 10 minutes before the show started, and would not let the directors and I leave the basement of the auditorium until we gave them what they wanted (thus leading to a 15 minute delay in show start time). Their demeanor was incredibly rude and I am disappointed that the founders of such a long running academy would treat anyone that way.

Scoresheets: As much as I would like to make them public, a couple teams specifically requested that we do not do that and we will be respecting their wishes. That being said, I’d be happy to make the raw score sheet featuring our normalization algorithm public for anyone to look over, or even for other competitions to use for their own judging procedures.
 

yomamajama

Active Member
Messages
158
Yomamajama,

We appreciate you addressing 1 out of the 8 points raised. We again want to mention, we are not trying to get into the business of “persuading people”. If it wasn't clear enough in the original post, we again want to stress that this post is entire out of constructive feedback and review for the betterment of the overall circuit moving forward.

To address your point though, even with the $1,150 prize money, we were still out of pocket from base costs alone (registration fee, hotel, transportation). Lastly, this isn’t about money at all, but even if the prize money did cover all competition costs, what about the teams that didn’t place?
To address your last point, which will address your 5 points ( you admitted that the point reduction and time delay issues were non issues after you were given points and extra time respectively) was regarding what happens to other teams.

My answer is, so what? Those other teams know the risk when applying, not all teams will place and get prize money. They know that when applying for a comp, and can’t really complain about being unplaced after. Regardless of judging issues, venue issues, etc. (which should be the teams’ due diligence when applying for a comp, rather than awaiting during/after a comp to determine whether such issues are apparent). Really, just as much comps have a duty to put on a good show, so do teams to do their proper research for a given comp. and really determine for their own perspective whether it’s in that team’s interest to apply.
 

srazdan

Member
Messages
9
I'm Sonali, captain of Cornell. Just wanted to quickly say the opposite side of the story to make sure that teams don't get discouraged from applying to ECS in the future. In the 10 comps I have attended, ECS was easily one of the best competition experiences, if not the best, I've ever had and many of my team members felt the same way.
  1. The judges were a huge part of why we ended up applying to ECS in the first place. All of the judges were extremely qualified and we received a lot of valuable feedback from the judges for the future, so hats off to Gayatri for that.
  2. Mixer was actually a lot of fun. It was a little long, but the entire team had a really good time.
  3. Breakfast was delivered to our rooms the day of the comp, which was super nice, and basically all of our transportation was covered.
  4. There was SO MUCH SWAG. We got personalized mason jars (which is why I'm guessing that there are fees associated with roster changes). At the end of our second tech time back at the hotel, the board surprised us with crewnecks and a really nice duffel bag (which we now use to hold our speaker), which was dope.
  5. Competition ran on time and the process was super smooth. We had a few lighting cue errors, but the lighting crew was able to fix the changes and even anticipated a few of the changes that we were going to make.
  6. Afterparty location was dope. Perhaps the best thing was we got no warnings about noise complaints, so the hotel was super accommodating.
Huge huge shoutout to the directors and the board of this comp. Although there are a few places where ECS can improve (a bigger auditorium being the main thing), the comp was extremely well-run and my team had a blast. Also, shoutout to our liaisons for an amazing time. Soham and Neeta, y'all are dope.
 

sarora10

Member
Messages
15
Hello! On behalf of DCBC, also wanted to provide a quick review of our experience at ECS. We definitely had many of the same concerns that DCMPAA listed out. That being said, we were able to attend ECS both the first year and the second year, and there was a significant amount of improvement this time around, so I hope this feedback will make it even better in years to come. Overall, I think the comp can be summarized by being very well executed but not always planned in the best way. Some specific thoughts -

CONS:
  • The mixer was disorganized and went really late, even though we were asked to arrive at a pretty early/reasonable time. There just felt like a lot of down time that could have been used better. By the time we did a quick 30 minute practice post-mixer, it was already past midnight.
  • We had the first tech time slot, which required us to be on a bus at 6:40am. Its a little unreasonable to have the mixer end so late with such an early tech time start. We didn't face this, but we know other teams had the opposite problem and had really late tech times, which made it especially difficult for some of the guys to have enough time to get fully ready with paghs tied. This issue is really just a byproduct of having 16 teams, so some more thought could go into planning here, or if 16 teams is really necessary.
  • The comp was really expensive for us to attend. As an independent team, we fund ourselves so this was a big issue and we didn't really see the money being allocated in the best ways. If the money was used to fund a big venue that would have def made sense. It felt like the money was used on excessive swag (personalized duffel bag, tshirt, crew neck, shotglass, etc, etc), but given we fund ourselves, we really would have just preferred lower fees and little/no swag.
  • The venue was extremely small and many of our friends/family could not get tickets which was really unfortunate. It felt like the audience was just filled with other teams.
  • Our dancers and dholi had a lot of trouble hearing the music because of the venue's sound system. I think sound system should be a priority when picking a venue.
  • We were asked to send our mix about 2 weeks before the competition. Our DJ was making 3 other teams mixes and there was just no way that was going to happen. We ended up getting a two day extension, but I think the practice of allowing an updated mix to be sent by mixer is a good one for comps to follow since it's difficult to have the mix done that in advance.
  • We wanted to add team managers to our roster a few weeks before the competition so they could be with us backstage and help us out, but we weren't able to do so even though we were willing to pay whatever fee was necessary. More flexibility with roster additions or wristband access would have been nice because our team managers (who don't want any swag) weren't
  • We didn't get much time at all with the judges and did not get much concrete feedback during the meeting itself. Among the judges, there did not seem to be a consensus of what are key things that a first place worthy team would have which resulted in a lot of confusing/conflicting feedback. The moment we were told what our ranking was, we were told our time was up and weren't able to ask any follow up questions about that.
  • Having 16 teams was a lot and I think that ended up complicating and really influencing a lot of what I said above.
  • The comp was half raas and half bhangra, but the entire competition felt very catered to the raas teams. The time needs to be taken to understand the standards in the bhangra circuit and structure the comp in a way where one dance style was not favored to the other. (Ex: If raas teams get post-mixer practice spaces, so should the bhangra teams. It's really hard to travel and make it time to practice before the mixer so many of the bhangra teams didn't use their pre-mixer practice spaces!)
PROS:
  • Even with having 16 teams, tech time and show ran on time and really efficiently. The show ended at a reasonable time which gave teams enough time to chill before afterparty.
  • We had a dancer get injured 3 days before the comp and ended up having to change our roster. This dancer ended up having to drive in the morning of our tech time (which was at 7am) and the committee was extremely helpful in making this happen for us.
  • The hospitality for the whole weekend was great. Plenty of food and drinks.
  • Even though we did not get much concrete feedback during the meeting, the judges have been really open to meeting with us and taking the time to help us post-comp so huge thanks to them for that (shoutout Howie and Harjot!)
  • At the end of the day, all the ECS committee members were very respectful and kind to us and did their best to accommodate to our asks during the weekend itself.
All in all, our team loved leaving it all out on stage, so thank you ECS board for giving us the opportunity to do that!! Shoutout to our liaisons Sruthi and Kushboo who were amazing and there for us in all ways that we needed.
 

Howie Magz

Well-Known Member
Messages
438
Hey BTF, my name is Howie and I was one of the judges of ECS this year. I actually had a very pleasant experience this year judging ECS. From my perspective I was treated very well from the free gear (Tshirts, Crew Necks, Duffle Bag, Shot Glass) perspective and having my travel and lodging expenses paid for. ECS is actually one of the better competitions that I have judged as everyone on the panel was very experienced from a Bhangra perspective and truly understood Bhangra. In regards to some of the issues that were discussed on this thread I cannot truly speak to as I did not attend tech time or the mixer. However in regards to the judging issue, I do want to provide some clarity. This constant bashing of personal relationships in the Bhangra circuit is not something anyone can solve. We all made friends or for some people dated another fellow dancer at one point or another in Bhangra and it is inevitable. However, the resumes that all of the judges have do speak to the amount of experience that we all have in Bhangra and should mitigate the effects of this idea of a personal relationship being the issue. Additionally the judges were announced for this competition before the registration was closed for the teams this year which in my opinion should be the way competitions should be running as it forewarns teams.

I also understand the frustrations for teams sometimes when they are not allocated enough time for the judges meeting. I wholeheartedly thought that every team was provided with enough time for feedback. I understand a lot of teams have many questions about how they didn't place or why they were not awarded a higher placing, but sometimes we are on the clock as some teams have to wait hours just to get some feedback. As a judge I apologize for that if your team competed at East Coast Showdown and feels that way. However, you can reach out to me personally and I will give you as much time as you would like to go through your video from the competition (Shoutout to DCBC for reaching out to all of us). A lot of judges offer this, but not all the teams are willing to take the offer. Teams if you feel like you weren't awarded enough time for feedback do not be scared to reach out to the judges that judged you. We will actually respond.

Shout out to Gayatri for having me this year and for selecting a good panel of judges. Also thank you for the hospitality @East Coast Showdown-UVA
 

amrinder13

Member
Messages
58
Great dialogue. The whole point of BTF is to provide an outlet to share experiences, learn and develop. We contributed what was on our mind just like everybody in this thread is doing the same!

All in all, as we have stressed many times, we are not in the business of persuading people or trying to bias any of the circuit one way or another. We gave our genuine feedback and expressed our concerns again, as previously mentioned, which is the whole point of BTF. Our intentions weren’t to get granular, but to look at it from a birds eye view and see what lessons not only us, but others can take away from this to better the circuit as competitions are its lifeblood. We told the directors directly that we took away valuable lessons from this experience and we hope others can do the same, whether it be from positive experiences or negative.

Gayatri – we both know the amount of truth to your post. The only item that warrants any sort of response is with regards to affiliation.

We 100% agree and are not naïve enough to believe that you can completely eliminate affiliations between a judging panel and the competing teams. It just seemed that this particular affiliation was a bit too close. The affiliated judge was posting social media promo representing the competing team just weeks before the actual competition. With regards to bringing up the matter, we had brought it up several weeks before the competition with the person whom we were told was our direct contact. The only way we could get an actual answer was when we hunted you down at the competition and evidently, at that point, our hands were tied behind our back. To your GOT 2016 point, as you mentioned, it is very hard to eliminate all affiliations. That particular judge had not danced with us since 2012 and was in Medical School at the time, which led to having no current affiliation to a competing team. Lastly, please don’t transfer any blame to us for show timing. Our tech time was at 12pm and the show started at 5. Trust me, if any team found out they were deducted 2 points, they wouldn’t wait until the second before showtime to find out why.

As we said, this post wasn't out of bad spite. We had the time of our lives at ECS 2018 and were disappointed when our experience the second time around didn't match up. Simple as that. There is something to take away from every post in this thread.

On that note - we hope everyone enjoys the rest of the season and has a great 2019!
 

yomamajama

Active Member
Messages
158
Great dialogue. The whole point of BTF is to provide an outlet to share experiences, learn and develop. We contributed what was on our mind just like everybody in this thread is doing the same!

All in all, as we have stressed many times, we are not in the business of persuading people or trying to bias any of the circuit one way or another. We gave our genuine feedback and expressed our concerns again, as previously mentioned, which is the whole point of BTF. Our intentions weren’t to get granular, but to look at it from a birds eye view and see what lessons not only us, but others can take away from this to better the circuit as competitions are its lifeblood. We told the directors directly that we took away valuable lessons from this experience and we hope others can do the same, whether it be from positive experiences or negative.

Gayatri – we both know the amount of truth to your post. The only item that warrants any sort of response is with regards to affiliation.

We 100% agree and are not naïve enough to believe that you can completely eliminate affiliations between a judging panel and the competing teams. It just seemed that this particular affiliation was a bit too close. The affiliated judge was posting social media promo representing the competing team just weeks before the actual competition. With regards to bringing up the matter, we had brought it up several weeks before the competition with the person whom we were told was our direct contact. The only way we could get an actual answer was when we hunted you down at the competition and evidently, at that point, our hands were tied behind our back. To your GOT 2016 point, as you mentioned, it is very hard to eliminate all affiliations. That particular judge had not danced with us since 2012 and was in Medical School at the time, which led to having no current affiliation to a competing team. Lastly, please don’t transfer any blame to us for show timing. Our tech time was at 12pm and the show started at 5. Trust me, if any team found out they were deducted 2 points, they wouldn’t wait until the second before showtime to find out why.

As we said, this post wasn't out of bad spite. We had the time of our lives at ECS 2018 and were disappointed when our experience the second time around didn't match up. Simple as that. There is something to take away from every post in this thread.

On that note - we hope everyone enjoys the rest of the season and has a great 2019!
But your team got first and $1,100, I still don’t understand why you guys are still complaining.
 

kman58

Active Member
Messages
153
I’ve heard of sore losers. DCMPAA proves that you can be sore winners too.

Let’s address the elephant in the room that I am the judge in question here. We need to acknowledge first and foremost that my colleagues and I were announced as judges for this competition back in September, not a few weeks ago. If there was an issue of inherent bias, then any DCMPAA member could’ve gone to my Facebook profile and seen that I have “reposted on social media” about multiple teams for tech time competition, photo likes, etc, but not since 2018. As an admirer of Bhangra, if I see something on one of my feeds I’ll promote/support it in a casual manner. Moreover, looking through all of my social media I can’t find anything that shows any biased promotion of any team from ECS in any of my outlets for at least the past 2 months.

Furthermore, regarding affiliation, DCMPAA students’ parents were posting photos to social media with a judge the weekend of the show/before the show started. This type of affiliation is VERY comparable to what you’re referring to regarding me, so it seems incredibly hypocritical to accuse someone of biased affiliation for a possible social media repost when your parents are posting photos on Facebook the night of the mixer with judges. Moreover, the coaches and parents seemed to be very careful and selective as to whom they showed their respects/condolences to amongst the judges throughout the entirety of the weekend.

You guys won. This entire situation is like Bill Belichick filing a complaint against the refs after winning the Super Bowl. If you have points to bring up against the flow of the weekend itself, great do it. You knew the judges when you applied AND when you accepted your spot on the lineup. Moreover, the directors state that they have no record of communication with you regarding judging beyond asking for the rubric (seems like you guys are having trouble keeping up with your communication records). The issue arises when you start digging into places and questioning peoples’ characters, because that’s when everyone’s true colors shine.

Great dialogue though!
 
Last edited:

hardeep_singh

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,450
I’ve heard of sore losers. DCMPAA proves that you can be sore winners too.

Let’s address the elephant in the room that I am the judge in question here. We need to acknowledge first and foremost that my colleagues and I were announced as judges for this competition back in September, not a few weeks ago. If there was an issue of inherent bias, then any DCMPAA member could’ve gone to my Facebook profile and seen that I have “reposted on social media” about multiple teams for tech time competition, photo likes, etc, but not since 2018. As an admirer of Bhangra, if I see something on one of my feeds I’ll promote/support it in a casual manner. Moreover, looking through all of my social media I can’t find anything that shows any biased promotion of any team from ECS in any of my outlets for at least the past 2 months.

Furthermore, regarding affiliation, DCMPAA students’ parents were posting photos to social media with a judge the weekend of the show/before the show started. This type of affiliation is VERY comparable to what you’re referring to regarding me, so it seems incredibly hypocritical to accuse someone of biased affiliation for a possible social media repost when your parents are posting photos on Facebook the night of the mixer with judges. Moreover, the coaches and parents seemed to be very careful and selective as to whom they showed their respects/condolences to amongst the judges throughout the entirety of the weekend.

You guys won. This entire situation is like Bill Belichick filing a complaint against the refs after winning the Super Bowl. If you have points to bring up against the flow of the weekend itself, great do it. You knew the judges when you applied AND when you accepted your spot on the lineup. Moreover, the directors state that they have no record of communication with you regarding judging beyond asking for the rubric (seems like you guys are having trouble keeping up with your communication records). The issue arises when you start digging into places and questioning peoples’ characters, because that’s when everyone’s true colors shine.

Great dialogue though!
the situation as described is a complete conflict of interest, criticizing negative feedback or calling out a team for voicing their opinion doesn't help the case. neither does trying to frame it as something innocent/harmless. dropping an outlier when n=4 or 5 is useless, i suck at stats and even i can understand that much.

let's create a hypothetical situation:
-gayatri is responsible for selecting judges for a competition
-gayatri selects her bf keshav as one of the judges
-keshav is biased towards one of the competing teams such that his scoring impacts their placing
-the team impacted realizes the discrepancy based on seeing the score sheets and requests clarification from keshav
-keshav chooses to disregard the request
-the team is forced to raise the issue with the person in charge of judging, gayatri, who based on her relationship with keshav dismisses the concerns of the team
- the team is then forced to raise the issue with competition committee members who dismiss their concerns based on their connection with gayatri

you can see how a similar situation could easily lead to an imbalance of power, with the aggrieved party being inhibited from any recourse.

to avoid this conflict of interest gayatri should not be involved in any operations of a competition kehsav judges at and keshav shouldn't judge any competitions gayatri is involved with. the question is how many competitions has keshav judged that gayatri was actively involved in and in how many of those competitions did gayatri play a part in the selection process for judges?
 

sriharifez

Member
Messages
41
oh baby I haven't logged into this website in....3 years.

hi everyone I'm sri, I primarily loom around the fusion circuit, but every now and then tag along with FCB as a waterboy and in the worst case scenario as a dancer.


In full honesty, I gave ECS the scoresheet and it comes from the fusion circuit and was developed after a judge intentionally tried to make a team win (a team that contained one of his students) by giving them unreasonably high scores. As a board member, we caught the error and action was taken, and since then that judge has not been allowed back in since, for a variety of reasons. This normalized scoresheet is now used in every single fusion comp including nationals. To hopefully help alleviate some concerns, thought I'd explain what exactly it does.

-----------------------------------------------------
Here is precisely how it works. No scores are thrown out. I will repeat (as many of you pointed out) it is absolutely statistically ridiculous to throw out scores with so few judges. Do not trust any comp that does that.


I want you all to imagine the following imaginary competition with 4 teams (let's call it Bhangra Blizzard 2010). There are two judges, Judge A and Judge B. Here are their final raw scores for each team:

Judge A's Raw Scores: 1, 2, 3, 4
Judge B's Raw Scores: 8, 6, 4, 2


Hopefully you all can see that just by staring at it, it's clear that all 4 teams are tied. Judge A has linearly ranked each team upwards, and Judge B has ranked them linearly downwards, in perfect point increments. This is a 4-way tie. Let me know if this is not clear.

But moving forward, if we simply sum the raw scores, that conclusion is not what we actually see -

Total Raw Scores: 9, 8, 7, 6

And now it looks like Team 1, with 9 points, has won the competition. So what went wrong here? Judge B has a wider range of scores, and their scores are centered around 5, whereas Judge A has a narrower range of scores and is centered around 2.5, half as much as Judge B.
Simply by choosing to score this wide, Judge B has gained all the power in the competition, without even trying to do so. This is clearly ridiculous.

So how do we fix this? We normalize their scores by doing two things:

1) Align their centers to the same number
2) Make their score ranges the same


This is called Z-Scoring, and you get this by the following formula:

Judge A's Z-Score = (Raw Score - Judge A's Mean)/(Judge A's Standard Deviation)
Judge B's Z-Score = (Raw Score - Judge B's Mean)/(Judge B's Standard Deviation)


It's almost as if one Judge spoke in Fahrenheit and another in Celsius. They're probably saying the same thing but until it's in the same units, you can't directly compare. This formula successfully does that.

Forgive the negatives and decimals, but now from the Blizzard 2010 example above, this is what you get when you normalize:

Judge A's Z-Scores = -1.16, - 0.39, 0.39, 1.16
Judge B's Z-Scores = 1.16, 0.39, -0.39, -1.16


And now if we sum the Z-Scores we get:

Total Z-Scores: 0, 0, 0, 0
Tada. 4-way tie, as it should be.

Basically, all the normalizing does is take out weird numerical biases like this that are unintentional, leaving behind only the judge's own bias.
And this means that if a judge still wants to be a dick and throw the competition they can - but at least now you'll know for certain it was their fault.
 
Last edited:

hardeep_singh

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,450
oh baby I haven't logged into this website in....3 years.

hi everyone I'm sri, I primarily loom around the fusion circuit, but every now and then tag along with FCB as a waterboy and in the worst case scenario as a dancer.


In full honesty, I gave ECS the scoresheet and it comes from the fusion circuit and was developed after a judge intentionally tried to make a team win (a team that contained one of his students) by giving them unreasonably high scores. As a board member, we caught the error and action was taken, and since then that judge has not been allowed back in since, for a variety of reasons. This normalized scoresheet is now used in every single fusion comp including nationals. To hopefully help alleviate some concerns, thought I'd explain what exactly it does.

-----------------------------------------------------
Here is precisely how it works. No scores are thrown out. I will repeat (as many of you pointed out) it is absolutely statistically ridiculous to throw out scores with so few judges. Do not trust any comp that does that.


I want you all to imagine the following imaginary competition with 4 teams (let's call it Bhangra Blizzard 2010). There are two judges, Judge A and Judge B. Here are their final raw scores for each team:

Judge A's Raw Scores: 1, 2, 3, 4
Judge B's Raw Scores: 8, 6, 4, 2


Hopefully you all can see that just by staring at it, it's clear that all 4 teams are tied. Judge A has linearly ranked each team upwards, and Judge B has ranked them linearly downwards, in perfect point increments. This is a 4-way tie. Let me know if this is not clear.

But moving forward, if we simply sum the raw scores, that conclusion is not what we actually see -

Total Raw Scores: 9, 8, 7, 6

And now it looks like Team 1, with 9 points, has won the competition. So what went wrong here? Judge B has a wider range of scores, and their scores are centered around 5, whereas Judge A has a narrower range of scores and is centered around 2.5, half as much as Judge B.
Simply by choosing to score this wide, Judge B has gained all the power in the competition, without even trying to do so. This is clearly ridiculous.

So how do we fix this? We normalize their scores by doing two things:

1) Align their centers to the same number
2) Make their score ranges the same


This is called Z-Scoring, and you get this by the following formula:

Judge A's Z-Score = (Raw Score - Judge A's Mean)/(Judge A's Standard Deviation)
Judge B's Z-Score = (Raw Score - Judge B's Mean)/(Judge B's Standard Deviation)


It's almost as if one Judge spoke in Fahrenheit and another in Celsius. They're probably saying the same thing but until it's in the same units, you can't directly compare. This formula successfully does that.

Forgive the negatives and decimals, but now from the Blizzard 2010 example above, this is what you get when you normalize:

Judge A's Z-Scores = 1.16, 0.39, -0.39, -1.16
Judge B's Z-Scores = -1.16, -0.39, 0.39, 1.16


And now if we sum the Z-Scores we get:

Total Z-Scores: 0, 0, 0, 0
Tada. 4-way tie, as it should be.

Basically, all the normalizing does is take out weird numerical biases like this that are unintentional, leaving behind only the judge's own bias.
And this means that if a judge still wants to be a dick and throw the competition they can - but at least now you'll know for certain it was their fault.
good explanation, normalizing and analyzing coefficient of variance is definitely useful in understanding the data. but as you stated there is still a possibility for the bias to have an impact, especially if there is a conflict of interest.
 

sriharifez

Member
Messages
41
yep, unfortunately you can't mathematically unbias a human bias.
but at least, normalizing gets the solvable problem out of the way. the rest is politics lol
 

sahab

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Messages
161
oh baby I haven't logged into this website in....3 years.

hi everyone I'm sri, I primarily loom around the fusion circuit, but every now and then tag along with FCB as a waterboy and in the worst case scenario as a dancer.


In full honesty, I gave ECS the scoresheet and it comes from the fusion circuit and was developed after a judge intentionally tried to make a team win (a team that contained one of his students) by giving them unreasonably high scores. As a board member, we caught the error and action was taken, and since then that judge has not been allowed back in since, for a variety of reasons. This normalized scoresheet is now used in every single fusion comp including nationals. To hopefully help alleviate some concerns, thought I'd explain what exactly it does.

-----------------------------------------------------
Here is precisely how it works. No scores are thrown out. I will repeat (as many of you pointed out) it is absolutely statistically ridiculous to throw out scores with so few judges. Do not trust any comp that does that.


I want you all to imagine the following imaginary competition with 4 teams (let's call it Bhangra Blizzard 2010). There are two judges, Judge A and Judge B. Here are their final raw scores for each team:

Judge A's Raw Scores: 1, 2, 3, 4
Judge B's Raw Scores: 8, 6, 4, 2


Hopefully you all can see that just by staring at it, it's clear that all 4 teams are tied. Judge A has linearly ranked each team upwards, and Judge B has ranked them linearly downwards, in perfect point increments. This is a 4-way tie. Let me know if this is not clear.

But moving forward, if we simply sum the raw scores, that conclusion is not what we actually see -

Total Raw Scores: 9, 8, 7, 6

And now it looks like Team 1, with 9 points, has won the competition. So what went wrong here? Judge B has a wider range of scores, and their scores are centered around 5, whereas Judge A has a narrower range of scores and is centered around 2.5, half as much as Judge B.
Simply by choosing to score this wide, Judge B has gained all the power in the competition, without even trying to do so. This is clearly ridiculous.

So how do we fix this? We normalize their scores by doing two things:

1) Align their centers to the same number
2) Make their score ranges the same


This is called Z-Scoring, and you get this by the following formula:

Judge A's Z-Score = (Raw Score - Judge A's Mean)/(Judge A's Standard Deviation)
Judge B's Z-Score = (Raw Score - Judge B's Mean)/(Judge B's Standard Deviation)


It's almost as if one Judge spoke in Fahrenheit and another in Celsius. They're probably saying the same thing but until it's in the same units, you can't directly compare. This formula successfully does that.

Forgive the negatives and decimals, but now from the Blizzard 2010 example above, this is what you get when you normalize:

Judge A's Z-Scores = -1.16, - 0.39, 0.39, 1.16
Judge B's Z-Scores = 1.16, 0.39, -0.39, -1.16


And now if we sum the Z-Scores we get:

Total Z-Scores: 0, 0, 0, 0
Tada. 4-way tie, as it should be.

Basically, all the normalizing does is take out weird numerical biases like this that are unintentional, leaving behind only the judge's own bias.
And this means that if a judge still wants to be a dick and throw the competition they can - but at least now you'll know for certain it was their fault.
DOC SAAB
 

Basim

♥ BTF ♥
Staff member
Messages
1,371
oh baby I haven't logged into this website in....3 years.

hi everyone I'm sri, I primarily loom around the fusion circuit, but every now and then tag along with FCB as a waterboy and in the worst case scenario as a dancer.
Sri, welcome back bro. Rather than drop more amazing mixes, you drop a bunch of mathematics and statistics for us to ponder over..... oh how times have changes... guud wahn! ;)

P.S. - Still on repeat: http://bhangrateamsforum.com/a/threads/panga-9000.11582/

~ Basim :)
 
Top