Before I begin, I want to make sure people understand the title of this post, because it is a little misleading. Jashan, as a competition, continues to be one of the most organized and hospitable competitions I have ever been a part of. The committee goes to many lengths to meet the needs of all the teams. The whole competition has a very family-type feel to it, because each committee member pretty much treats you like family. So the title does not have anything to do with the committee, organization, or competition as a whole. It has more to do with a specific part of the competition.
This post is not going to be like my previous recap posts, which summarize what we do, chronologically, throughout the trip. I will do one of those (hopefully), but before that, I wanted to go into something a little bit different. To give some context, I am going to jump straight to our performance on Saturday. The team is in the green room and ready to go. I give a quick pep talk before we are taken side stage. At this point, I make sure the stage hand knows who to look for to cue our music. I confirm with them to make sure we are all on the same page. I also tell Danish, who is going to cue the music, to talk to them as well so there is no confusion. I give everybody a quick “good luck” and head to the audience to watch our performance. The emcee introduces us and the crowd response is amazing (gotta love the Calgary crowd). But what happens next, really gets to me. The curtain goes up before the team is ready. We had some lighting we needed to check, which we were unable to. Four or five members, quickly run to their spots as the music starts. To start a routine like this, is really difficult for the dancers because it flusters them. On top of that, having the dancers concerned that the lighting will not work throughout the routine is not good either. But the show must go on, right?
So we perform. The team comes out with great energy and the crowd eats it up. We get huge crowd reactions throughout the routine. Everything comes together and the Calgary crowd shows us so much love and support. Was it perfect? No, of course not. There are always mistakes, no matter how much you practice. There are things that are sometimes not in your control (curtain issue) but that comes with the territory. But all in all, I am extremely satisfied and pleased with how the routine went. And the crowd response was on par with last years performance, so what more could we ask for? We are Bhangra Empire. This is all that matters to us. The results, judging, and placings don’t, right?
Since we went earlier in the show, the team got to watch the full second half of the show. All the teams did extremely well. But I was still bothered by the curtain issue. I mean, nobody did it on purpose or anything. It was just a mistake. I talked to the committee and they apologized for it. And there really was nothing else that could be done. But it still bothered me. Each team that performed, didn’t have any issue like that and had plenty of time to setup. And I kept noticing that. I guess it is just human nature, but I couldn’t get it out of my mind.
After the final team performed, we headed side stage for the results. I actually predicted all 3 placing teams exactly. From the judges meeting the day before, I could tell the results would be more on the traditional side. And that is what they were. But after the 3 teams had been announced, I was angry. Maybe it is because I saw our routine, the reaction we got from the audience, and felt that we deserved to be in the top 3. Maybe it was because of the technical difficulties that had been building up inside me. But whatever the reason was, I was not happy. And being the leader of the team, all of our team members picked up on that.
As the night progressed, the feeling did not go away. We talked to the judges, and they also picked up on it. We got feedback and scoresheets back. All the judges were extremely knowledgable and experienced in bhangra, yet open-minded as well, so I do not think the issue had anything to do that. The issue was, for one reason or another, the judges simply didn’t like our performance. And that happens. And that’s when I realized that I wasn’t mad about not placing. I was mad at myself. Since Bhangra Empire started, we have never cared about placings. Whether we win or lose, our sole motivation to dance is to entertain the audience. And we did that. Anybody that was in the building will agree to that. So many people came up to us afterwards and let us know how much they enjoyed our performance. So many other teams came up to us and said, if competitions were based on crowd response and entertainment, you guys would get first every time. Yet for some reason, that wasn’t enough for me. And it bothered me a lot. Because on Saturday, I turned into one of those people that gets mad when they don’t place. I felt like a hypocrite. I felt like I was going against everything Bhangra Empire is about. I felt like I was going against the foundation of the team. The same foundation that led us to much of the success we have been fortunate enough to achieve. Instead of looking at the big picture, I let the opinions of 5 individuals get to me. And because of that, I feel like I let myself, and more importantly, my team down.
Looking back at it right now, I ask myself one question. Would I have been happier if we got, let’s say, half as much crowd response, and a placing instead? The simple answer to that question is, “hell no.” I’ve judged competitions, and its no easy task. And at the end of the day, it is extremely subjective so the results will not always go in your favor. And I have always known that, but I guess, for a few hours, I forgot that. We went to Calgary, had an awesome performance, got an awesome crowd response, and I am extremely proud of the team. The Jashan committee, along with our liaison, Simran, made our stay just as memorable as last year. And last but not least, to the people of Calgary who come out and cheer so loudly for us: it is an honor to perform for you guys.