I'm gonna attempt to comment on these posts. being non-punjabi this stuff is always good to hear because you guys are absolutely right, teams really don't think a lot about the songs that they put into their mixes. generally teams tend to use the songs that are either the most mainstream or which just sound the best based on beat, voice, etc. however, I also don't think that is a bad thing anymore.
I am going to say that the circuit these days is becoming more and more non-punjabi every day. it may not be the majority, but especially among collegiate teams, it is a very large chunk of bhangra dancers in North America and even beyond (Australia, UK, etc.). and speaking as a member of a collegiate team, I will say that we will choose to use songs that our team truly enjoys and wants to dance to. we do actively listen to songs and try our best (with whatever limited Punjabi we know) to not use songs that reference inappropriate things, but at the end of the day if our teammates want to dance to a song, we are going to dance to it. likewise, if there is a song that YOUR TEAM doesn't want to dance to because of the meaning behind it, that is your decision to not use it. song selection is entirely a team decision, and if your team doesn't want to use a certain song because of meaning, by all means don't use it. but don't disrespect other teams for using those songs.
as far as judging goes, i like the idea of every competition having at least one judge who has "sheer Punjabi knowledge", who can make sure that nothing ridiculously offensive is happening, but again the circuit is becoming more and more non-Punjabi. it isn't right at all to have only judges with that true Punjabi knowledge because that just isn't what the circuit is anymore. whether you like that or hate that is up to you, but that's the truth. a team shouldn't win a comp because they are "more Punjabi" in their background and song selection than another team, especially at certain comps out there (BBC, bruin, blowout). if you really don't think a song should be used (like the one mentioned above), explain to teams and let them decide.
Selectively picking aspects of a culture to suit your needs and completely disregarding how and why multiple aspects of a culture may be intertwined and hold significant value is definitely a method of appropriation. Your whole post is an argument for cultural appropriation but you deem yourself progressive because you think you’ve earned some sort of cultural cred by being on bhangra teams, but you’ve never really understood the culture you think you’re representing by performing a dance on stage.
Being punjabi or non-punjabi doesn’t matter, when you love something you try to understand it and be respectful for all aspects of it despite any perceived flaws. Just because the circuit has a large non-punjabi demographic doesn’t give anyone the right to disregard the fact that bhangra is nothing without the punjabi language; that punjabi culture is nothing without punjabi language. The level of arrogance made apparent by stating that a team should use any song no matter who might be offended is pathetic. The only disrespect would be by not telling a team they did something stupid and allowing it to become the status quo.
Still waiting on a response from sumeet jindal, where you at bro?
I think you are right to call out teams and again, you are right that you are doing the right thing by calling a team out for making mistakes that are disrespectful to the culture. I simply think you could do it (at times) in a nicer and more positive way, that's all. I feel like most people are really receptive to this sort of feedback and though they may have exercised ignorance in the first place by dancing to an improper song, if they are made to understand why that song is an issue instead of having a sarcastic jab thrown at them, I'm sure they wouldn't do it again.
You have a lot of knowedge about the culture and I've personally benefited greatly from it (everything from your pagg tying to discussion about sets back in the day) and I'm sure others will love to as well.
i think the judging is also a big reason alot of teams don't post videos. despite the fact that most people end up getting their hands on videos that people don't want posted anyway, i know some judges will inevitably end up comparing your current performance to your previous one (which can be good, if you improved alot, but also bad, if your team did great at one competition and either had some mistakes at the next, or tried a couple of new segments that the judge wasn't a big fan of).
if more teams started posting videos, i think everyone would feel cooler about it in general. also, there is barely any commenting on videos these days, except some of the usual trolls giving "constructive" feedback in usually a pretty rude way and then being confused when people get upset. so i think alot of the feedback teams are hoping to get are done behind "closed doors" by sending videos to people they trust to give them an opinion.
totally agree with your point in judging, and i think there is something being worked on now that will hopefully help with that. after hearing inconsistent feedback (that changes based on who one is talking to), its frustrating and its really tough for someone to go back to their team and tell them what to do better next time.
in all, more transparency in general would be nicer, but is also tough to do. good dancers and leaders like you can bring a positive change to the circuit so people feel like their hard work is rewarded, if not by trophies, but concrete feedback and a respectable community.
on a sidenote, people need to stop being so rude to non-Punjabis who overlook some things in bhangra like using a song with a wrong meaning and other offenses of the nature - we should be happy that people spend hours and hours trying to perfect an art that came from our heritage and the only way to make sure it is respected the way you'd like it to is to treat those people with respect first. unfortunately, there is way more punjabi people doing disrespectful things at competitions (ie starting fights, booing other teams, etc) than non-punjabis, and i think that makes bhangra look way worse than a non-punjabis choosing the wrong song to dance to or something.
you guys did an awesome job. i thought you stayed very clean, executed as a team, but brought alot of energy and enthusiasm as well.
if i had a main critique, it would be like howie said, i think despite how good everyone's energy is, you all tend to dance a little more "narrow" - your posture is good but your legs aren't as wide. i believe I noticed this with bass as well - great dancing but you guys have alot of energy and look like you have alot of tall/broad guys, and you'd look alot "bigger" and more powerful as a team when you "widen" up a bit. this has to do with your lower body, not upper body. for upper body, just get that chest involved with those shoulders too
otherwise, huge fan of this team, and really hope you can figure out the logistics to come to a competition here in the US (or Canada) very soon, bc you'd kill it. Bruin Bhangra should get you guys to come this year!!!
I would ask questions that lock judges into a judging style or approach so that they can't contradict themselves...
Which team's style do you prefer, name the names of the teams in the competition.
Ask them about their history, the types of teams they have danced for.
Ask judges which they would take more points off for, messiness or a lack of creativity.
Ask them what their favorite sets were last year...
ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS!! I think this is honestly one of the best things teams could ask the judges to get a feel of what they expect. One question that I have gotten often as a judge and judges need to discuss this one in advance is what do judges award more....Being simple and executing well? or going with a more complex routine and being messy?
echo this - if judges could honestly answer 3-4 past performances theyve seen that they would place at that competition based on this rubric, i think it would help teams know what direction to move in
Thanks to everyone for taking the time to comment on the videos. In retrospect, in an attempt to saturate the Bruin set with as many wow-moments as possible, I can see how certain things good have been presented better. Other issues such as cleanliness and standardization could have/should have been taken care of with more practice time or adjusting things based on our time constraints. The lineup was extremely strong this year, and our number one goal was to not drown in the army of all-guys teams who potentially would bring very similar styled sets/wow factors/etc. Unfortunately, this compromised a couple of other aspects of our performance, which ultimately is probably what lead to us not placing.
Any comments of any shape or form are welcome still please! The majority of dancers on KPGD are still very active and involved in multiple teams, and any feedback we receive from this could impact alot of people (in a good way).
We were lucky enough to bring the Phoolz back together this season and bring out some sets that focused on one thing: entertainment. Our goal was to make the audience smile and dance with us, and I think you'll see that in our set creation.
There are tons of credits due for KPGD's performances coming together at Boston and Bruin, and without their help our team wouldn't have had the enjoyable experiences on and off stage that we did.
We'd love to hear any feedback you have on our sets and dancers!
Below, I have copy-pasted the description we sent to GabrooTV for our Bruin Video - it is the most important part of all this.
Khirre Phul Gulab De came to perform at Bruin Bhangra 2016 for many reasons, but they had even more reasons not to attend this competition. In the past few months, the members of this team have dealt with many, many setbacks, but none so prominent as the loss of their teammate, dholi, DJ, and brother, Anooj Kumar Trivedi. Anooj was a member of KPGD when it first began in 2010, and had danced with many of the team members on Gajjde Gabroo and Gajjdi Jawani before that. His talents extended far from simply being an amazing dancer, dholi, and music production artist, as he was a genuinely kind-hearted soul who was always the source of entertainment and positive energy to all those around him. Khirre Phul Gulab De dedicates this performance in his memory, to a flower who didn't get the chance to fully bloom, to the person who reminds them how short and precious life is, and that we can and will push through anything and everything, for it is a privilege to be here. The tribute to Anooj Trivedi done at the end of this routine was not officially part of the routine, and KPGD asked not to be judged on it. His presence was felt with us that night and forever will each time we step onto stage.
- set the benchmark for co-ed routines to come. even if you take the unique order of segments out of the equation, still the best i can remember.
- glad to see a team outside of the few couple that currently do/did before who took some risks with their set creation
- we will still be doing the chaiyya chaiyya move that you stole from us at bruin tejas you are a kutha. but very very very nicely done.
- kavin, amazing job on a mix. definitely doesn't soudn like you learned how to mix this year.
- more teams should begin moving in this direction for sets. its really tough, but the majority of teams these days have pretty much a random amalgamation of moves in their props segments and i can't remember a single thing about it. i can definitely remember some cool moments in each of your props segments.
- going 16 was a very wise decision and you guys made sure your newer dancers learned their fundamentals well and they def executed on stage
- your girls are sick
- your guys are obviously very good too
- ending was super good/hype
- yes for not doing much romantic stuff
- tabla incoroporation is great (and got better with your mini-stage at blowout) - could have made more out of the jugni drop in the choreo itself but its all good
- id see shubhits snapchats of people working out before practice (saw plenty of shubhit working out as well) - true testament that shows that hard, smart work is the key (and not just letting a hot set carry you)
- ankur you look very nice in red
- shubhit i think you looked hotter in black, regardless you looked so big and manly on stage in these vardi i think i blush when i watch you dance
- when i think of more random thoughts about this i shall let you know
Lavesh Pritmani - not only brought and instilled alot of knowledge about traditional/folk/yall know what i mean/etc bhangra to NC but the academy he started continues to flourish today and he runs a bhangra teaching app - not much more to say
Raj Shah (UNC) - not many coed teams reached this level of cleanliness and well executed ideas - VPD 2011-Blowout 2012 them and Fauj were def cleanest on circuit
Sid/Ram/Harman/Pankaj/Rohan - These FCB captains over the years have not only kept bhangra alive in the Burgh, but have instilled a desire in dancers that is hard to really replicate. The fact that the dancer turnover on FCB is immense yet they continue to put on great performances with new dancers is no fluke - there is a system behind it.
All of these are self-pumps as I've danced alongside each of these gentlemenz and benefited from their amazingness
I think SMD is probably the benchmark team for cleanliness and back to front execution - if a team can place over them, that means they either brought enough to the table to overcome the cleanliness gap and/or paid alot of attention to detail and were very clean as well.
For a CoEd team specifically, I'd say being able to match up to CMU is a good benchmark for being elite. Not many other teams have placed at the variety of competitions and rubrics as CMU has over the past many years. If a team places ahead of CMU, you know they brought alot of energy and were still very uniform (and didn't make a specific "coed" style set since some people seem to think coed bhangra is it's own style and needs to be done a different way, which I don't particularly agree with and is probably what lead to everyone looking so similar post-good ol days VCU)