Bhangra competition graveyard

mrchicity

Active Member
Messages
329
As far as I've seen, attendance rates are down for most competitions. Back in the 2009, I think Bhangra Blowout had a crowd of at least 3-4000 people, and the energy of the crowd was just insane. Now I see competitions like DDA, which used to be one of the most prestigious competitions to get into, and I saw so many empty seats on the live stream Swi put up.


The circuit's too homogeneous these days, everybody looks alike. There's no raring debate between modern style vs folk style anymore, there aren't real rivalries in the circuit anymore. The likes of NJ vs SGPD, VCU vs Bhangra Empire, AEG vs Virsa, these used to drive people to see competitions, there was so much more hype for them (huge reason why Elite 8 had such a great turnout the first year). Also, competitions these days just don't have blockbuster lineups anymore. Elite 8 was the greatest competition I've ever seen because they had 6 teams that were in their prime (VCU, NJ, SGPD, AEG, PANJ, Empire) and two teams that were already legendary (Duniya, LBC). Name any team that is currently competing and is being truly innovative. What's there to get excited about anymore? At least 6-7 years ago most teams didn't have an idea about what they were doing so they just brought their own interpretation of bhangra to competitions and it was fun to see different styles. Competitions need to find some way to entice the better teams to come and duke it out, I'm tired of going to Bhangra in the Burgh to see the same 8-10 teams perform and then stand in the cold to try to get into an afterparty no one will ever get into.


And these days, how many competitions happen in big cities? People want to go to NYC/Boston/DC/Chicago/Miami/LA to perform because they're fun to travel to and to party in. I really hope someone pulls something together in Chicago because it's an amazing city with a huge Indian population that has never had a legit competition thrown there (PCS was more of an exhibition than anything else, never thrown in a large theater).


/[font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]rant, [/font][SIZE=x-small]don't care if this doesn't make sense, enjoy my stream of consciousness[/SIZE]
 

yomamajama

Active Member
Messages
230
Its easy for there to be no involvement when people on this site continually play down the rivalry debate, i .e. folk vs. modern (Empire v. folk...) debates. That create interest and also creates a form of rivalry. All teams now are all lovey dubby to other teams, no team calls out other teams except in WBBC, which was dope because teams actually did call out other teams like with the knights v. fauj shout out videos.


If competitions want more interest, a way of doing so would be to look at how WBBC or even Bhangra Wars is done. Each comp basically is a battle between two teams in their respective levels (i.e. folk v. folk teams, modern v. modern, co-ed v. co-ed, etc.). There is no cutsie love dubby circus. You either bring it and show the other team why your the best, or you lose. That I think will be fun to watch, especially with teams calling each other out. Im not saying go to the extent of saying offensive/harmful things, but things that inspire a healthy rivalry. Its boring all the time when you have a lineup type show. Make it interesting like WBBC/Wars.


Last, I feel like some of the bigger/well established teams from years past are contributing to the decline because they aren't competing any more. I hardly ever see SGPD compete, or Nachdi Jawani, RPD, lethal bhangra crew, JJ. I understand most of these teams have disbanded or people have other careers to focus on. But it would be interesting to see a sort of comeback from any of these teams because of how much they changed the circuit, and most people would want to see them because they understand how game-changing and innovative they were to the scene.
 

Cherag

Active Member
Messages
400
Been talking about this with so many people lately, good post Karthik. The problem nowadays is that there is no gold standard for teams. Teams forget that NJ, SGPD, VCU, and Empire were placing at every competition. Every competition they went to, now why did they win you ask, plain and simple, they were different, and the best at being different. If each of these teams excelled, it was because they stood out doing so, which is the only reason we remember them until today. Faizan & Karthik are right, every team looks the same nowadays. There are a few things in my opinion that should be blamed, one being the "harm" that has been created thru this forum. Now before anyone jumps, hear me out. The best thing about BTF to me is that it is a great median to share information, mixes, beats, instrumentals, effects, ideas of choreo. But the worst part of it in regards to it being that median, is that it's made making a set, or a mix, too easy. Based on how accessible everything is, everyone sounds and looks the same, using the same effects, the same beats, the same moves etc. Even someone who mixes for multiple teams, I mean respects to people talented like Iqwak, he is artist at what he does, no question, but I remember there being a competition where most every teams mix was made by him, it got boring because they sounded the same. The four teams I mentioned did most everything internally, and were distinct about what they cared to be seen as, the best, and nothing but.


In my opinion, when it comes to the overall decline of the scene, it has to do with competitions, at the end of the day though, how they are judged is what counts. In today's day and age judges are asked to adhere to the rubric 100% which is the most FAIR way to judge a team. Giving every team a shot at placing, which I agree is FAIR. But when you place teams who aren't testing the boundaries and standing out in the grand scheme of things, when it comes to Bhangra and the overall performance, you are limiting the capable potential of many teams. If teams could do it before, why can't they do it now? I'll tell you why, because teams had to prove something at one point to make a name for themselves, because of how critical everyone was, shit now is just too nice. The only way this will be fixed is if competitions test teams, saying that they need a stunt or they need a variation of phummania to even be scored, not these things necessarily but stuff along the lines of making teams work for a trophy. If teams aren't doing it by themselves, competitions, you need to provoke this, because it is a win for you as well, have an amazing performance displayed at your competition, alongside that team, you will be remembered.


What happens is that a decent team will go and place first or second in a lineup at a competition because they "filled the requirements". What I say is to make the requirements harder, so it's harder to be a winner. Too much false entitlement these days. And if teams continue to go to these competitions and getting "easy" wins, to me, it isn't respectable, you're just making do with WHAT YOU HAVE, instead of WHAT YOU COULD HAVE in regards to a set and your performance. Make every performance memorable, don't settle to be good, aspire to be Legend....wait for it....dary. 8)
 

SGupta7

Member
Messages
109
I've only been on the circuit for a few years, but I've definitely noticed a slight downward trend. But I think that's okay! It's not reasonable to expect bhangra to exponentially grow forever. Eventually it has to go back to equilibrium and even itself out so that there can be a new wave of bhangra in the future. The most important thing is realizing that creativity/originality in bhangra is slowing down and hopefully pointing it out in threads like these will encourage captains and younger dancers to influence the circuit.
 

faizan

Just shut up and dance
Messages
1,736
Rivalry starts with teams having fire. There was a time when the circuit was rugged.

In 2009 if you asked aeg to go against virsa, it was an anytime anywhere type of thing for us and them.

Ill never forget nj's army fatigues At Masti cuz they felt they were going to war with sgpd.

Sher foundation hated kj and kj hated sher.

Empire and vcu was legendary.

All girls teams hatedddddddd each other. Old school smd were some thugs.

Now a days team captains and their dancers are more concerned with getting free hotel rooms/bottles and making sure they get the easiest possible route to placing.

Who killed the circuit? All the soft teams walking around looking to socialize and show off.

There i said it. Old man faizan is going to go back in his cave.
 

Psant

UNC Bhangra Elite Alum, Brandeis Bhangra
Messages
434
I'm not understanding the argument about how the lack of "great teams that trump all" nowadays implies that the circuit is dead. How is it dead if there are new teams forming essentially every week? That's like saying baseball is dead because the Yankees don't win it every year.

There are more above average teams now than there were 5 years ago. That's quite the accomplishment and is probably a result of technology becoming so prevalent; since teams put up videos days after competitions, people who live in the middle of nowhere now have access to videos and resources to make themselves better dancers. The more people engaging in bhangra and showcasing it, the better right?
 

Psant

UNC Bhangra Elite Alum, Brandeis Bhangra
Messages
434
faizan said:
Rivalry starts with teams having fire. There was a time when the circuit was rugged.

In 2009 if you asked aeg to go against virsa, it was an anytime anywhere type of thing for us and them.

Ill never forget nj's army fatigues At Masti cuz they felt they were going to war with sgpd.

Sher foundation hated kj and kj hated sher.

Empire and vcu was legendary.

All girls teams hatedddddddd each other. Old school smd were some thugs.

Now a days team captains and their dancers are more concerned with getting free hotel rooms/bottles and making sure they get the easiest possible route to placing.

Who killed the circuit? All the soft teams walking around looking to socialize and show off.

There i said it. Old man faizan is going to go back in his cave.
Are you implying that teams being friendly to each other is a bad thing?
 

faizan

Just shut up and dance
Messages
1,736
Re: Bhangra competition graveyardil

Nope. Not at all. There has always been so much friendliness on the circuit. It just seems to me that teams lack the fire and aggression compared to about 2-5 yrs ago. Im all for friendships based on bhangra. Without rivalry, the circuit will stay stagnant.
 

yomamajama

Active Member
Messages
230
Psant said:
The more people engaging in bhangra and showcasing it, the better right?

Agree with what you have to say, but the issue is not whether people are getting involved in the dance, the issue is, if that is so with what you said, then why are there so many empty seats at competitions in the audience? Why are so many prestigious competitions from years past so few now? Having so many teams and people join doesn't necessarily imply the competition will be enjoyable to watch. There's hardly any innovation, all these new teams are doing the same thing. There is no collective movement to create new moves or showcase different styles; all teams now want to do it in a clear cut way to get that trophy and party it up after, which is fine i guess but doesn't really create the excitement like years past.
 

Gabroo Tv

Member
Messages
662
faizan said:
Now a days team captains and their dancers are more concerned with getting free hotel rooms/bottles

Who killed the circuit? All the soft teams walking around looking to socialize and show off.
Knowledge = dropped
Agree 100%
 

yomamajama

Active Member
Messages
230
"What happens is that a decent team will go and place first or second in a lineup at a competition because they "filled the requirements". What I say is to make the requirements harder, so it's harder to be a winner. Too much false entitlement these days. And if teams continue to go to these competitions and getting "easy" wins, to me, it isn't respectable, you're just making do with WHAT YOU HAVE, instead of WHAT YOU COULD HAVE in regards to a set and your performance. Make every performance memorable, don't settle to be good, aspire to be Legend....wait for it....dary."



+1
 

mrchicity

Active Member
Messages
329
Gabroo Tv said:
faizan said:
Now a days team captains and their dancers are more concerned with getting free hotel rooms/bottles

Who killed the circuit? All the soft teams walking around looking to socialize and show off.
Knowledge = dropped
Agree 100%
Seriously, what the hell is this? Does more 'likes' mean that a competition will have a greater turnout? I get the concept of social media, but this has got to be one of the more annoying trends I've seen.

And Faizan hit it on the head, the fire's what used to drive this circuit. I remember back in 2009, UVA competed at IPFF in Surrey, BC not for ourselves, but mostly so that we could watch Rooh Punjab Di and Nachde Shokeen perform. A couple months later, our team packed into a couple cars right after a performance at school so that we could catch the 2nd half of AVAP 2009, where we saw Jawani Warriors vs. Shan E Punjab Jrs and SGPD going live for the first time. We wanted to see these teams so badly because they represented what we wanted to be, and a year later when we started placing more, we wanted to be the ones to take down a team like VCU. I honestly don't know what drives teams anymore without that fire.
 

hardeep_singh

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,475
There are two sides to this discussion, the reasons why bhangra competitions have been declining in popularity amongst the general public, and why teams have been declining in terms of progressing the art form.

reasons why bhangra competitions have been declining in popularity:
- novelty has worn off, late 90's and early 00's was the boom time for competitions, large percentage of desi population had yet to be exposed to bhangra as a competitive dance form
- americanized punjabis/desis don't appreciate competitive bhangra, they don't feel a connection to it and see it as a cultural relic
- older generation (parents) see bhangra competitions as a corrupting influence due to the behavior and stigma associated with competitions (drinking, hooking up, fights, drama, drugs)
- boredom, people just dont find bhangra competitions entertaining, even if they like the music and the dance they just don't see the point of attending a competition they've attended multiple times in the past
- lack of connection with teams, in the past people had favorite teams that they rooted for (KJ, Sher) similar to sports teams, these teams garnered large followings by being progressive and entertaining and building reputations, competitions drew people in by having teams like this. these days the team that seems to bring a large crowd of fans wherever they go is empire, i dont think there are many other teams who have managed to maintain a large captive audience over the years
- lack of variety/differentiation when it comes to performances (see laziness below)
- decline of bhangra music, this is a big factor in my opinion, punjabi music as a genre has been "pop-ified" over the years, seems like there's less and less good bhangra music being made, everything has to have some sort of pop sound so that it can be marketed more broadly, which leads to teams dancing to more and more pop sounding mixes and less legitimate bhangra music. so competitions just seem to be losing the culture.

decline of bhangra:
- laziness, the bhangra scene has become homogenized, a lot of teams are on the same "level" when it comes to choreo. bhangra has evolved a lot over the last 15-20 years and i know it's been discussed and criticized before but these days performances follow the standard format (saap segment->khunda->other segments->omg now we're doing ultra energetic jumps/bhetkas/20 sets of pataka to end this performance because HYPE!!!!!)
- seems like shit talking these days is reserved for behind closed doors, everyone's fake friendly face to face. too much courtesy, no one just goes up to another team and says oh hey that gimmick you threw in your choreo was lame and screwed up the whole flow wtf were you thinking. everyone just toes the line.
- college teams are relatively stagnant in terms of progression because of dancer turn around every few years, i feel like this will change as more kids get involved with bhangra at a younger age and end up on college teams with many years of dancing experience under their belts
- retirement, so many groundbreaking teams have packed it in, this is just the natural course of things
The Lion King - Circle of Life
- lack of risk taking, will we ever again see a team pull off a 3 man or 4 man tower on stage? cardboard contraptions does not a good gimmick make young padawan.
- as discussed previously, people care more about getting wasted and partying than the actual bhangra. some background, first time i danced on stage at a comp was bbc 2010, with MIT, i can say with complete confidence that i was the shittiest dancer on stage that night, but the redeeming experience i had was at the after after party, i did bhangra with a lot of sick dancers who had a lot more experience, and just tried my best to emulate and learn from what they were doing. these days everyone holds back when it comes to just doing bhangra unless theyre on stage.
- lack of connection to the music/culture. how many dancers actually use bhangra as motivation to learn more about folk punjabi culture, everyone is always like "OMG THAT LIVE PERFORMANCE WAS SOOOO SICK!!!!" but how many people bother to listen to the boliyan and put in the effort to learn about what is being sung? even if you're not dancing on a live team or could care less about live bhangra you should still try to learn more about the language or culture. as a dancer it does make a big difference when you understand the music/language you're dancing to as opposed to just following choreo with a fake smile on your face.
- arrogance, when people just think they're attained such a high level that no one else compares. you can't really progress if you think you're flawless and constantly just rip other people/teams for what you think makes them inferior.

ran out of steam, dont feel like thinking about this more, so enjoy.
 
Messages
189
faizan said:
Rivalry starts with teams having fire. There was a time when the circuit was rugged.

In 2009 if you asked aeg to go against virsa, it was an anytime anywhere type of thing for us and them.

Ill never forget nj's army fatigues At Masti cuz they felt they were going to war with sgpd.

Sher foundation hated kj and kj hated sher.

Empire and vcu was legendary.

All girls teams hatedddddddd each other. Old school smd were some thugs.

Now a days team captains and their dancers are more concerned with getting free hotel rooms/bottles and making sure they get the easiest possible route to placing.

Who killed the circuit? All the soft teams walking around looking to socialize and show off.

There i said it. Old man faizan is going to go back in his cave.

OG Faizan, perfect. Rivalries are what's missing these days. I would say BTF takes some blame for this as well. Nothing against Saleem or any of the Moderators. Some of the limitations on "competitive speech" within this form are too strict for my taste. I understand we're doing that to keep it friendly and set a good example for the coming generations but we're also placing restrictions on people displaying their true feelings towards another team. Which refers back to Hardeeps point on "seems like shit talking these days is reserved for behind closed doors, everyone's fake friendly face to face".

i.e. THE DRAMA IS MISSING. I'm not talking about senseless back and forth trash talking certain posts end up in but I remember the days before/after a competition we'd have pages on pages of discussions. That competitive fire teams spoke to one another with. That Stare you'd give that Virsa, that NJ, that SGPD, that Empire dancer when walking past them during the weekend.

Take the media for example, if a professional athlete these days goes on a 'Twitter war' with another. That story is on every channel, every radio station, its everywhere. That is all people want to talk about.

Let's bring that competitive yet somewhat clean DRAMA back into the circuit because we all do it "behind closed doors".
 

AnkurK

Member
Messages
862
Gurbir Singh Aulakh said:
faizan said:
Rivalry starts with teams having fire. There was a time when the circuit was rugged.

In 2009 if you asked aeg to go against virsa, it was an anytime anywhere type of thing for us and them.

Ill never forget nj's army fatigues At Masti cuz they felt they were going to war with sgpd.

Sher foundation hated kj and kj hated sher.

Empire and vcu was legendary.

All girls teams hatedddddddd each other. Old school smd were some thugs.

Now a days team captains and their dancers are more concerned with getting free hotel rooms/bottles and making sure they get the easiest possible route to placing.

Who killed the circuit? All the soft teams walking around looking to socialize and show off.

There i said it. Old man faizan is going to go back in his cave.

OG Faizan, perfect. Rivalries are what's missing these days. I would say BTF takes some blame for this as well. Nothing against Saleem or any of the Moderators. Some of the limitations on "competitive speech" within this form are too strict for my taste. I understand we're doing that to keep it friendly and set a good example for the coming generations but we're also placing restrictions on people displaying their true feelings towards another team. Which refers back to Hardeeps point on "seems like shit talking these days is reserved for behind closed doors, everyone's fake friendly face to face".

i.e. THE DRAMA IS MISSING. I'm not talking about senseless back and forth trash talking certain posts end up in but I remember the days before/after a competition we'd have pages on pages of discussions. That competitive fire teams spoke to one another with. That Stare you'd give that Virsa, that NJ, that SGPD, that Empire dancer when walking past them during the weekend.

Take the media for example, if a professional athlete these days goes on a 'Twitter war' with another. That story is on every channel, every radio station, its everywhere. That is all people want to talk about.

Let's bring that competitive yet somewhat clean DRAMA back into the circuit because we all do it "behind closed doors".
Circuit is soft.

I'll add more later (thinking of ways to make it btf appropriate)
 

DGoraya

Member
Messages
211
I feel like the decline in the number of teams has led to the decline in the number of competitions. More dancers are retiring than dancers coming into the circuit. Perhaps in order to bring more dancers into the circuit we should have "bhangra camps" or something to teach kids about bhangra.


If you think about it, bhangra really blew up around 2007-2009. Teams went from simple dances to really creative sets. Prior to 2008, teams hardly ever used saaps/daangs or any other props in their routines. Then around 2009, props made their way into the routines. This allowed bhangra to blow up. Sets became more creative and entertaining. More people attended which led to more teams which led to more competitions. This went strong for about 3 years.


So basically what im saying is that the whole "era" between 2009-2012, which had a wide variety of teams, competitions, and dancers, was just a phase in the bhangra circuit, a sort of explosion. But recently, that hype has died down and we are back to where we were prior to 2009. In order to have another "explosion" in the bhangra circuit we have to change our current standards. We need teams to be more creative, competitions to change their judging rubrics, recognition of bhangra on a nationwide scale, and more dancers in the circuit.
 

KushK

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,161
Damn, this thread really flipped in the last few hours!

I'm going to agree with what Aman Cheema said earlier. I think the "death" of this circuit was because of that. A lot of collegiate teams saw VCU and their greatness and wanted to do it as well. However, I think what they missed was the creative element and change they brought. Most teams just ended up copying the style,moves, formations, songs and won! This is where it went terribly wrong. VCU was VCU but everyone just wanted to be the next VCU, not their own identity. Not to say that some collegiate sets in the last few years have been amazing but we need more of that and less of "Oh we want to be the next VCU".

BTF itself has been a problem as well. It became too "NICE" in my honest opinion. From 2007-2009 everyday there was something new and passionate (fights haha) on the forum and then people waited to see what these teams would bring to the competition. Now if you say Fuck you too someone on BTF, you get a ban for a few days (I love all the moderators). Bhangra Masti 3 lineup announcement had like 6 or 7 BTF pages of comments. Now you are lucky if we get 2 pages of comments on a first place set. Bhangra is DEAD.

All the big boys on this circuit are pretty much done. If new members and teams want to step it up... my advice is to not be afraid and don't try to be Empire, SGPD, VCU... etc etc... make people want to know you.
 

amancheema

Active Member
Messages
240
KarnSingh said:
You have to hate someone to be a rival.

This is false.. you just have to want to beat them more than anything. Back in the day teams would show up to comps on Friday nights and not talk to any other team till after they hit stage (i.e. Elite 8 2010)... everyone was locked and ready to go because everyone was there to make the other teams shit bricks... not to win a free hotel or play pin the tail on a kohtha at the mixer. Post-performances is when you'd break the ice and say whattup to the other team.


Everyone from the 17 yr old chimta scrub to the 24 yr old seasoned captain was there to snag a trophy over that other team from Toronto, or that other team from Virginia, or that other team from Cali, that other team from wherever... whether you knew them or not, if you wanted to beat them they were your rival and you treated them like one. Consequently sets used to be more badass b/c it would fit with the nature of competing against "that other team".


I know newer and younger teams these days are content with the atmosphere of friendliness and unconditional cordiality, but try being a bit more aggressive with your competition. Don't make a set just to fit a rubric- make a set to rip the scene a new one.

Also Ankush & the rest of the WBBC committee have given teams the best venue to heat it up a bit and revive the competition... straight up call out a team and tell them you want to rip em a new one at WBBC. We all have that team (or multiple teams) that we are dying to beat.. we watch their videos and wonder why the fuck they won or why the fuck people think they're so special.. so why not step up to the plate and prove your point?

And by no means am I or any of the other people on here promoting harmful behavior... just some good old not-so-friendly competition.


Also, I think Gimmicks killed bhangra. But that's my personal, and often contested opinion so we'll save that discussion for another day. ;D ;)
 

rajkaran

Member
Messages
720
Hmmm...this thread really did do a 180 last night, eh? hahaha

Interesting viewpoints above. I agree that a little competition/rivalry allows for more originality in sets. BUT...I can speak for myself and a few others when I say the "drama" aforementioned is one of the main reasons why I don't want to get back into the competitive circuit again. Some people/teams can't handle or compose themselves properly, whether it be on BTF or in person (do I recall some people getting beaten up recently?).

Also, I CERTAINLY don't think that bhangra is dead. Declined severely with an emphasis on partying and winning by following rubric? Yes. If it was dead, we'd see a decline in the growth of bhangra's popularity. Rather, because of us spreading bhangra culture across the nation (pat yourselves on the back), proper/folk bhangra has become more popular than ever outside of the circuit and our little BTF community of about 100+ vocal people. I think this goes back to the role of the competition organizers and judges- we need more comps like E8 and WBBC to foster innovation and something great to strive toward! I'd like to say "fuck the rubric", but it's just not plausible.

My two cents! Peace.

amancheema said:
Also, I think Gimmicks killed bhangra. But that's my personal, and often contested opinion so we'll save that discussion for another day. ;D ;)
Agreed! There's a classy way to do "gimmicks"...but yes, this discussion is for another thread.
 
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