So over the past couple of weeks we have been going through our annual tryouts for the team. The new bhangra season begins for us very soon as Boston Bhangra is our next competition, which is in November.
Boston Bhangra has been one of the best competitions we’ve been to which is why we are returning for a 4th straight year. They do an amazing job taking care of the teams and the 3000+ crowd is amazing and sold out every year. Have a look at their site and you’ll see a familiar Empire face in the top left corner (Jackie Thind).
So back to tryouts. We are looking to bring in 6-8 new people to join Bhangra Empire. Last year, we added 8 new people so, as you can see, we have a pretty high turnover rate. This comes with the territory when you have an age group that ranges from 18 to 30.
We decided to do tryouts a bit differently this year. Tryouts were held 2 Saturdays ago where we taught potential members a 1 minute routine. Each person then individually tried out in front of 4-5 judges (current team members). Yes, it was very stressful for them and nerve-racking I am sure, but we wanted to see how they would handle the pressure. We had an amazing turnout which made our decisions that much harder. From a strictly dancing perspective, I would say at least 50% of those that tried out were capable. But of course we didn’t have that many spots, so we narrowed it down to a handful. We then scheduled 1 on 1 dinners with each of the potential members to get to know them a little bit better. Unfortunately, these 3 below didnt make the cut but you gotta love their enthusiasm:
This brings me to my blog topic of what makes a good team. For those people that have been on Empire before, I have always gone by 1 rule. I would rather have a halfway decent dancer, with very little experience – who is willing to work hard, is motivated, and will come to practices – than an amazing dancer who lacks any of that. So our mission was to find out if the people we had selected were motivated, were willing to work hard and be pushed, were punctual, were reliable, and most importantly will show up to practice. Yeah AI I’m talking about practice. To me, practice is more important than the competition. The months we take to prepare for a performance outweigh the 8 minutes we will be on stage. Teams are made during practice. Teams go from good to great during practice.
So how did these dinners go? We tried to keep them casual but obviously had a list of questions we wanted to get through. Things like school/workload, practice schedules, location, future plans, reasons for wanting to be on the team were all brought up. At the end of the day, we knew these people were good dancers but wanted to make sure they were a good fit for the team. We wanted to make sure we would get along with them, and more importantly be able to work together towards a common goal. Sounds a lot like the stuff I read in my MBA Management books. After comparing notes and countless hours debating back and forth, I am proud to say that we have made our decisions.
So our 2011 Tryout Process is now over. We have made our decisions and will be contacting everybody in the next few days. An early congratulations to all of our new members and we can’t wait to get started for the 2011-2012 season. For everybody that did not make it, trust me, it wasn’t only because of dancing ability. There were many qualified people, but only a few spots.
And thats all for now. Hope you enjoyed the little bit of insight into our tryout procedure, or at least the 3 white girls ‘dancing’ to Panjabi MC.