BosTown Raas 2016 Lineup, Show Order, Placings, RGBTV Videos, and REVIEWS!!!

Started by Raúl Larsen
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Raúl Larsen

BosTown Raas 2016
16 January 2016
Blackman Auditorium
www.facebook.com/rgbtv.videos

First Place: SLU Raas
Second Place: UCSD Raas Ruckus
Third Place: Dirty South Dandiya

Show Order:

00 Bentley BizRaas
01 Drexel Dandiya
02 Dirty South Dandiya
03 IU Hoosier Raas
04 UMBC Raascals
05 Rochester Raas
06 UCSD Raas Ruckus
07 SLU Raas
08 UTD TaRaas

RGBTV

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Raúl Larsen

Bentley
I like how you all fill up a stage despite being 6 x 6. That said, there are a few basics that need work – straight arms and uniform step movement are top two for me. Intro had a strong rush onto stage, but make sure to hit your formations. There were sync issues on the 7 and 8 beats at the very beginning – not sure what’s going on, but Urann you looked a bit confused. You’re such a fun dancer to watch, just do anything with energy and I’ll believe that’s what was supposed to happen. At some point (about a minute in) you all make two lines 5 over lapping with a boy stage left and a girl stage right and hold it for about 16 beats. I’m not really what this formation is, or what it’s supposed to move into, so maybe cut 2 beats from it and move sooner so that you can hold the next formation to give it definition? I thought the ground hits right after that were a good success, however the dandiyo drop in the front (guys) didn’t look coordinated because each person bent down differently (bended knee, bended back, combinations). Standardize that! The tin man moment without a heart was a super clever theme moment that I thought was great. Be careful that it doesn’t mess up tran tali footwork that comes right after it. Legs were a mess for nearly 12 beats following that great theme moment. For the dandiyo pick up at the end of tran tali, same issue with standardized bending. It’s definitely worth taking even 30 minutes to get everyone absolutely uniform. I think it’s Shuruthe who lost a headband… this struggle is so real. I feel your pain. Especially if you’re going to wear your ponytail/braid outside your kediyu, tie the headband under the hair and tie it tightly! If you tie it over, no number of safety pins will save it from good head bobs. On the bend heeches/glides right before the ground hits, people are coming up at different times. It almost seems like the backbeats of your mix are confusing dancers on timing. I like the incorporation of pots/buckets into girls’ solo. Hetal, you were amazing throughout, but I think this is where you shone brightest. I think there was a spot in the last 24 beats where you messed up, but I didn’t catch it until multiple watches in because of how much you committed to your moves. Alternatively, all the girls might have been doing a cascade movement which is a tough choice because there are only six of you and it’s hard for me to distinguish if something looks out of place or if it’s just a really closely timed sequence. The ending felt very abrupt for your routine, but looking at time stamps, I’m assuming that you have at least one more segment in there. Leg energy was great, and I think you can fix most of what I’ve commented on by listening to the mix and doing slow motion run throughs as a team in front of a mirror. All of you looked like you enjoyed the stage immensely, and I hope you continue bringing that passion to the rest of your season. Having a routine in cleaning mode is a good place to be 3 weeks out from ATS. Good luck!

Drexel
Random thought, but I think it would be so cool to take this theme and keep running with it in future years: have themes continue through the journey of your team after the island. Idk. It was a moment that I got caught up in, but I like that you have a continuing theme. So your energy and the speed of your mix were really great as far as I’m concerned. I liked your music selections and generally felt very entertained the entire time I watched your set. Sync was the biggest thing to work on, and that will continue to improve with repetitions. I really think you all will be looking at a trophy later in this season, and I thought you had a decent chance for one here. The biggest thing that caught my eye first song was that your arms didn’t always go up and down together (especially guys’ side). Lines weren’t the cleanest, but it wasn’t really an issue. I think as far as 7 x 7 goes, your formations were pretty great, especially through the first two songs. That said, especially when you have people a half shoe off from each other (final formation before girls’ solo), you should really make those positions as distinct as possible so that it does not look like a line that bends inwards by accident (I noticed it looking from stage left, but it looked cleaner from stage right). Girls’ solo formation spacing was definitely off and that was harder to overlook because they were only really using the front half of stage. Also in the center – be sure to complete moves and not cut them short. It’s very prominent when there are only 7 people to look at and the middle 2 or 3 girls are finishing beats differently (specifically during the 12 beats after the prop drop). Girls’ solo exit was very asymmetrical, and probably the sloppiest of the routine. I still like the dandiyo catches in guys’ solo, but they didn’t seem confident this time around. I thought shelter was going to be a tough theme idea to convey, but you certainly handled it well. Again at the end, though, spacing seemed off for the back line of guys. Center guy falls off beat, and that stand out, but it’s only for 2 or 3 beats. There were also some odhni/costume struggles, but I guess those things can’t really be anticipated. During final formation, make sure that (good) big head nods do not result in arm bouncing – keep the energy in the arm firm so that it does not move. This is actually something to keep an eye out for the rest of the routine, but I didn’t note it as a problem until the last the last 16 beats. I loved the helicopter at the end – I didn’t know to look for it, but then it happened and I thought it was a great touch. Good luck at ATS and Mayhem, and I cannot wait to see you all at CCR! Or, let’s be real, I will see you all before then.

DSD
Slightly surprised to see a slot machine, but I was totally down with this theme, too. Overall, I think this set was slower than I would have liked, but I loved the shift from last year – you seemed to take a different direction for building a routine, and I greatly respect a team’s ability to change its style or go for something different. Energy in general did not seem great, but that might have been a result of being right after Drexel. After this intro video, I was almost expecting a UCSD style of progressive mixing, but I was very happy with what I saw. The center group of dancers did not start the routine together, which was very surprising, coming from such an established team, and certainly hurt the intro/outro impression because it was the first thing I saw of your choreography. The flips at the beginning were a nice add, but it looked like you struggled to complete them. Guys’ energy in first song is great, but I wish it had remained for the entirety of the routine. By second song, legs weren’t coming as high on side kicks and I could feel a shift in the energy level. Girls solo was enjoyable, but I wasn’t quite sure what formations I was supposed to be looking at. It didn’t look sloppy, per se, but it felt indistinct. Arm sync suffered in this song, and I don’t think it ever came back across stage. I loved the tran tali, though (I think you all know I’m a hack for it at this point). You all look like you’re really enjoying it, and it shows – have this much josh in later segments. I think there some theme things that went over my head – the “Big Spender” sample was fine, but I’m not sure what the card turning signified. The barrel roll in guys’ solo didn’t have the flair it needed, but the toss right before that was cool. The ending just didn’t have the spark I was looking for. However, I do think this is a great routine and you should all be proud of it – with cleaning and energy it can certainly take you far. Good luck at BOR and Mayhem, and I hope to see “y’all” at CCR!

IU
I think this was a pleasant performance, with a lot of circuit standard strengths. It was a very complete routine, but I think it ultimately came up short because it did not feel complex enough. I would also note that the theme moments, for the most part, felt very haphazard. Everyone would stop dancing to see a heart being given, or some equivalent. Personally, I have about a 2 beat buffer after which I feel like there should either be a huge wow moment or an explanation for why dancing stopped. The first solos were both pretty okay, but felt very short (explained by more full solos later) and led me to wonder why there was already a section where half the team didn’t dance. This was super fast tran tali. Not my style, but you all had good sync for it, and I thought the double circle formation was a really cool way to split guys’ side/girls’ side. Chotile looked powerful, but you have to fix that lighting – it was hard to make out just how powerfully those moves were being hit. Girls’ solo was okay, but there was just about no formational movement, and that made me very aware that formations didn’t move very much in the set. The T is a good formation for showing off how synced up everything is, but again, it was held for a very noticeable amount of time. For the 4 by 4 box cascade, find a way to standardize the straightness of arms. It’s very visible when the highlight of the movement is to add people vertically. You have a lot of time until Zahara – maybe find a way to get cleaner theme integration/prop use into the routine? Artistic Elements seem to be the easiest points to add to your performance right now, but you should also look to add complexity, both in choreo, but especially in formations.

UMBC
Let me start by saying that you all were amazing. I was amazed by what you all brought to stage and I would reiterate that UMBC is an institution team because each generation of dancers steps up and brings their most every competition. This weekend was no exception, and I was really grateful to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the process works for you. I cannot wait to see you all perform again, and you can bet I’ll be cheering the loudest. Sappy liaison comments aside, I thought your energy and routine were great. I really enjoyed your mix and thought I could have listened to it another couple dozen times and still felt the hype. Entrance was very strong. Theme was not initially clear, but that seems easily fixed for later comps. Energy is above average, but execution needs work, just across the board. Mirror run throughs will fix most of what’s going on here. I know that formations were a bit of a struggle with the changing stage size, and that’s also something that will be fixed by not having changed dimensions the day of/more runs on the stage you anticipate. Make sure you standardize how much you all bend – Ronak D, because you’re so tall, you need to be super careful to bend as much as possible so that you don’t stick out compared to the dancers next to you (this applies as much/more for arm horizontals – definitely need to hit that 180 and arm extensions exactly). Immediately after the cluster formation at the end, you all do a staggered body spin formation. Work on getting the spin faster so that the stagger doesn’t look like it’s offbeat moves but gets the full cascade effect. Ending was a little confusing theme-wise. Are you going through to door into an office? Or out of the office? The sign said exit, but I’m not too sure what leaving signified.

Rochester
This team has great potential and I really enjoyed seeing this routine. A lot of the little things seemed like familiarity issues, and now that you have more time before Masti, I expect you’ll come out much stronger in the Execution category. Just listening to the mix on repeat and doing slow motion runs will help immensely to get move sequences into muscle memory. Once you have moves down, fix angles. A lot of your moves have people going between 30 and 60 for what appear to be 45 degree snaps. Sync is pretty key – I don’t know what you did for your garba segments, but they looked much cleaner as a whole than the rest of your dance (maybe audition video choreo?). I’m not sure what happened at the beginning of the routine, but it looked like you were supposed to get to center stage faster or came out in the wrong order for the staggered timing front line? In any case that had the same first impression effect as DSD, and it’s something that you can fix in a single practice. Your first song seemed pretty much together otherwise, but recoveries in the second song took a split second longer than they should have. I thought the backdrop of personal victimization was hilarious and a great moment that I didn’t see coming. Circle needs work on speed of backward stepping. In general, your dancers could cover a lot more by being more confident with moves: if you do the wrong move, do it excellently. Hesitation catches the eye much more than an energetic, on beat mistake, and that will help your recovery points a good deal. I thought the second half of your routine was much more engaging, and I can’t quite put my finger on why (mix is my best guess), but I think you could do big things with this routine as the starting point, and look forward to seeing you all perform in Maryland!

UCSD
This routine looked good at Chaos, and I think you stepped it up across the board for BTR, but put extra chemical x in for theme adjustments – wow! I was definitely feeling the ddlj music, despite how much I liked your last intro. I would hope the “hold up, wait a minute” could be pitched to match tujhe deka to, but that’s a small thing. In general, I was very happy to see that you’re back to a classic 8 x 8 roster, and I like the energy in your first song. You all have a very nice bounce to your energy throughout your set, but that makes it even more important to snap and match cleanliness. Watch lines in tran tali and sync in general slips here. Arm extensions became optional, and that damages overall impression. I think it was Shravan who missed the 3 and 4 beats here, but great job not letting that affect your footwork even a little (plus those nods!). Recovery is key to good teams – ideally, a mistakes wouldn’t happen, or would happen in a corner, but if you’re going to be center stage, keep your cool like he did. Be careful of formational spacing in a circle – I’m not sure if this happened because of the odd stage dimension issues, but there were uneven gaps in the circle, which is already a very exposed formation to pull off – your routine formations were otherwise very impressive. The second time around I realized how slow the tran tali is, and I’m of mixed feelings here. I love slow garba and tran tali, and think that you add something to the circuit by committing to a slow rendition, especially because with more power and synchronization, this could be a standout segment. On the other hand, going faster definitely helps sync you up for rubrics and lives up to your very hype mix. I think you currently have the extra time in the routine to speed it up for now, but maybe a later season change could be to go back to slow tran tali and just shock everyone by going from fast and modern to a slow, swagged out powerful aside from your norm. I would be remiss not to mention the really pretty backdrop – have I mentioned it was pretty? I hope you all can have backdrops at future competitions, because it felt like a natural extension of your performance (except for the intro when it interfered with lighting for the couple being brought in on chairs). Girls’ solo is packing energy but the formations seem to be just a bit off. I thought the shoe props were adorable, but they are hard to make out from a screen. Guys’ solo opening line isn’t even (spacing or verticals), and that’s an easy thing to fix for better impression points. I remember feeling like I should hear a trumpet sound effect during the entire solo. Maybe that’s another addition for later in the season? I also had the impression that guys were committing to moves at different levels (i.e. amount of bending/leaning into a move). I like the second set of flips – much better synced. In the first 8 beats of the second to last song, the girl behind the U (stage left) did the wrong knees – first impression was just that something in the formation was off. Energy kept dropping until the last song. Last song was so hype – definitely felt the push from dancers to bring the magic for it. Try to maintain the snapping you have in your first 12 beats throughout your whole set, but good job bringing back a lot of it back for the last song. Keep working on getting snapping/cleanliness up to Nationals level and fix formational execution, and I think you’re pretty set to sweep the remainder of the season. There were a lot of samples in your mix, and mostly that just confused me – I get that they’re theme related, but, for me, it mostly just cluttered the audio field for an already super modern mix. You all clearly look like a team who wants to be dancing in April, and at this rate I’d be hard pressed to believe you won’t be in Houston. Good luck for the rest of the season, and I can’t wait to see you all at Mania!

SLU
Speaking of teams that want to be dancing in April, wow SLU! You all brought a super clean, energetic Midwest Classic to Boston. I loved the energy and commitment to moves, but make sure it doesn’t affect your formations (even from the first song on). Your routine was super prepared, but for me that was the defining positive trait. I think there was still a missing wow factor or something to keep me super engaged throughout the routine. After the tran tali circle, your formation seemed very muddled; I’m not sure what it was supposed to be, and a few dancers got to their spots relatively late. Girls’ solo was pretty good, but be sure that dancers don’t move in spot for energetic moves – it noticeably affected the front line formation (this actually affects most of your formational lines in the routine). This solo felt like it only utilized the front half, which is very noticeable on a stage that already more shallow than many. The moment of smashing the conical flask was an interesting way to transition girls’ solo and guys’ solo! I loved that for the most part all your angles were together (be careful of going above 180/the horizontal!), but be sure that straight arms follow through on that good start. The ending felt very familiar, and if it weren’t a white lab coat, I might have thought that Morpheus might have returned for one more season. This was a routine of a team ready to take trophies all season, and with three regular season competitions left, I can’t wait to see what you all bring to the other stages.

UTD
WELCOME TO THE CIRCUIT FAM!! I thought you all brought a really well-polished routine, especially for your first circuit appearance. This seems like another double theme where you should focus on one half – I think the museum part better incorporates your theme moments. I remember being really surprised seeing what looked like a full team for the intro but then a 7 x 8 performance. So sorry to hear about your injury (and that you had to walk back to the hotel!!), but your team adjust fairly well to the missing spot. I really hope you will be well enough to dance for BOR like planned =] The intro setting/lighting just seemed really well done. The backdrop was impressive, but I’m not still not really clear on where Gujarat came in for you theme. I think Shahbaaz accidentally knocked down the pot, but good job not reacting. The routine as a whole seemed to drag at times, but picked up by girls’ solo. Lots of dropped dandiya – fix that by just carrying them with you everywhere and casually practice twirling. Do that for like 6 weeks and you should not have another stage drop again. You all picked really popular songs, but it should be okay to move outside the circuit standards and try something surprising. I’m not sure how I felt about the police officer incorporation in the routine – in Houston’s set last year it seemed to disrupt the flow of an otherwise very coherent dance, and I think that happens here, too in the middle of your set. At the end, though, it was really cool as the audience had a collective “… WHOA” moment. Overall, work on making your moves either faster, more complex, or both. You all are a great addition to the circuit both on and off the stage, and I hope you continue to dance for many more years!

Rankings:

  1. UCSD – an interesting reason change from my last rankings, I think you brought the most to the stage and contributed the most to pushing the competition forward. Your routine was not the cleanest, but I think there are enough spaces for “impression” points on the RAS rubric that I found the completeness of your performance the most compelling for first.

  2. SLU – you all have a great argument for first, but I think ultimately I was missing the “wow factor” from your routine. You obviously have worked really hard to put together an amazingly prepared and polished routine, and you should celebrate in your amazing performance. I do think that you need a big theme moment or -something- to make me really feel engaged from the get-go for your routine. At the end of your routine, I thought I had just watched a team prepared to make an RAS run and had the cleanliness to back it. However, I didn’t feel exhausted like I did for UCSD or Drexel because of how much they fit into their respective performances.

  3. Drexel – this was a tough choice between Drexel and DSD, and by rubric you were within 2 points of each other. Ultimately, I think it came down to energy being more of a wow factor coming from Drexel than cleanliness was for DSD. The mix went a long way in keeping me involved for Drexel’s performance, and, especially early in the season, I think I see energy as potential for a team, and not a shortcoming, whereas I might see a messy routine in March and mark it down because the team would be competing against generally cleaner teams. I think both routines have the ability to get placings later in the season, but they also have areas that need improvement.

I would also add that the BosTown experience was absolutely phenomenal. It shows when experienced dancers and circuit travelers put their minds together to produce a show that is by dancers, for dancers and I could not be more impressed by the Bentley BizRaas alumni who organized this competition to be possible. Let every first year competition aim to meet this standard. Things that stood out:

  1. Hospitality - from decorations, to gifts, to how the Board treated dancers (from what I could observe), this felt like a competition that put competitors first.
  2. Logistics - despite being walking distance to the venue, rides were provided for teams/everyone else. Yapp helped adjust everyone to updates and vital information for the competition. I doubt it will become a circuit standard because of the amount of time to establish a Yapp page, but I hope other competitions consider this in the future.
  3. Schedules - even though a team or two fell behind, it felt as though the weekend schedule had enough buffer in it to accommodate for reasonable delays (known unknowns such as makeup delays, traffic issues, weather, etc)