Hi everyone! This will initially be a revised crossover thread from RTF and DDN 1.0, but will be updated in the near future to be comprehensive. It is advice for new teams and new captains trying to get their team to the bid circuit level of competition. I would greatly appreciate it for older captains from established teams to contribute what they know, and especially former captains from newer teams to add on with any specific advice from their own experiences getting their teams established. I am also working on a Captains Manual - for more information, email me at email@example.com
Register your team with DDN (above) and with RAS so that you are on their Captains listing. In addition, you should ABSOLUTELY get your team registered or affiliated with a university if you are practicing on a college campus. There are still some competitions that will require university affiliation. As far as rules go, just make sure you are following the rules of any competition to which you apply (e.g., 75% student, audition tape recorded within competitive season, specific percentage of students in audition tape to stage performance).
For me, "the circuit" is any team that has organized to practice and record at least one audition video to apply for a competition. "The bid circuit" is made up of the teams that compete at one or more Raas All-Stars bid competition. While RTF (and DDT, for that matter) focus primarily on the bid comps, DDN will focus on "the circuit" at large. Bid competitions are the 12+ competitions that have between 7 and 10 teams with top 2-3 finishers being awarded points to get to Raas All Stars. However, for a first year team, it's far more manageable (and oftentimes cheaper) to go to smaller competitions, which will have between 3 and 5 teams competing in each category with multiple categories competing for different trophies. These competitions are generally referred to as "fusion comps".
Suggestions? Talk to captains, and as many of them as you can. DDN runs a Captains GroupMe for any captain of any Raas team (no circuit qualification required) - fill out this form ( http://goo.gl/forms/HQvU3tkyjpaKhkXh1 ) to be added to our GroupMe! Ask captains about what effective methods there are for starting a team, or for running practices. Most captains are absolutely thrilled to hear that there is interest in a new team and will take the time to give you pointers for starting. Definitely get a timeline when competition applications are due (I may have such a spreadsheet, somewhere. DM me if you want it). You will also want to know what requirements there are for audition videos.These will be sent in with your application to determine whether or not you are selected for the competition lineup, but they occasionally have different time restrictions or props rules, so read the application packet. DDN will be compiling a list of the requirements and posting that list on our Captains GroupMes.
If you are new to Raas Garba, then you should definitely find someone in your area who can teach you the basics (foot moves like teshes, double touches, glides/heeches, kicks, et al.), and who can give you a selection of maybe a dozen common songs that teams use, so that you have an idea of what music is standard for competing teams. Saavn is your new best friend if you're looking to bring new music to the circuit, but I would also suggest going to Garba CDs and long mixes to find good music that people haven't yet discovered. If you are not new the Raas, then try to get your choreo done before you start recruiting people (that should be by early to mid September). Not everyone will agree with me on that last part, but I think it definitely allows you to focus on improving your [presumably] new dancers and will give them a bigger picture of what a performance routine requires. At very least, make sure you have the 2:00-3:00 of choreo necessary for your audition tape.
If you do manage to attain university affiliation, find out early on what kind of backing/funding you can expect to get. Many schools have a student activities fund set aside for student groups. For example, some universities have money set aside ONLY for traveling teams and their competitions. Other universities will pay for on campus events, such as fundraisers which assist a team in paying for its comp fees. However, to get that money, you should familiarize yourself with the paperwork necessary to get that money. It will very often require you being weeks ahead of deadlines to ensure that you get your money on time to pay competitions. Some competitions will deduct points from your overall performance if you are too late turning in paperwork or money. That is just about 100% avoidable, so stay on top of that!
Finally, find practice space that you can count on. Especially for a first time team, putting together a successful audition video is not a short process. It will probably not happen fast or the first attempt, so you'll want to maximize your practice time and space to make the best video possible. Often, this means registering the student group and then signing up for rehearsal space. Also make sure you find an area that will be big enough to shoot the audition tape - that's not something you want to stress you when you're up against the application deadline.
Above all, just be excited to dance and don't let setbacks stop you from pursuing the dream! That's just an overview of how to jump start the team into competitive mode, but there are many others who can continue to explain beyond that, and help you be the best team you can be.
Additonal projects that assist you figuring out how to get established in the circuit:
A listing of published competition dates of the 4 circuits, with registration packet links, Application Links, updated deadlines for team application, liaison application, judging application, and exhibition application, as available.
A huge thank you to RTF’s BhangRaas for starting the Raas scoreboard!
DDN Facebook Group
Have your team’s Captains or competition’s Directors added to the DDN Facebook Group. Contact Raúl on Facebook or any of our DDN Moderators to be added.
DDN Public Contact Database
Enter your team or competition information so that you can be contacted by competitions and other teams. This is the public database available to the circuit.
View our comprehensive list of public projects for the circuits here: http://tinyurl.com/DDNProjects