How To Make Sure Your
Bhangra Critique SMACS

This blog was written by Umer Qureshi and originally posted on his website which you can view here

 

As a Bhangra dancer, or honestly any kind of dancer, you HAVE to be open to criticism. You have to encourage criticism. If you're constantly batting away or hiding from criticism your progress as an individual and as a team will stagnate if not plummet. I harp on this all the time whenever I talk to dancers or teams that I judge, but admittedly, I don't offer good examples for what good criticism can look like.What I'm going to detail here is the system I use to critique myself after the practice is over and example I randomly picked out of my critique journals. (I made a Notion template that you can use for your own team here)

Before we dive into my personal critiques of this practice, I want you to understand how I approach critiquing. The key is you have to make your critique SMACS.

Make Sure Your Critique SMACS

Slow Mindful Actionable Clear and Singular

Slow

Watch at 0.5x speed. You’re going to catch so much more than you would have if watching at normal speed. And once you’ve gone through once. Watch it again at normal speed and add to critiques as needed. 

Mindful

If you’re critiquing someone else, be mindful of the person you’re critiquing. If the person responds to more positive reinforcement, make sure to point those out as well. If they like to be verbally assaulted do that. Be mindful of the person you’re critiquing and tailor it for that person.

Actionable

Make your critiques actionable. Don’t just say “do this better”. Say “do this better and this is how you do this better”. Such as “your arms look weak, flex your arms throughout the motion” or “you have poor posture here, make sure to pull your shoulders back and puff your chest out a bit more during this step”.

Clear

Point out time stamps for the mistakes. Include screenshots and draw on them to further highlight what you’re correcting. Clearly point it all out so the dancer easily understands it rather than vaguely telling them to ‘git gud’. Then, after you give the critiques, go over them with the dancer. Make sure the dancer understands everything that you’re saying. All that work is going to be pointless unless the dancer receiving the criticism realizes the mistakes, understands the criticism, and knows how to act on that criticism. 

Singular

Everyone has that ONE thing that they are truly lacking in. It can be that posture suffers across the board, they get tired at the end of sets, they have terrible modhe. Everyone has that ONE thing, that makes many other critiques easier to fix or completely unnecessary. For me in this performance it’s facial expressions. If I fix the facials, it’ll naturally influence my energy, which will naturally enhance my form. There are domino effects all throughout my dancing because I fix my expressions. Emphasize that ONE thing and make sure that they’re working on that in the next practice. That being said, still nit pick and give them all the nitty gritty critiques. Just remember to point out that ONE thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping all this in mind, notice how I am implementing everything I detailed above in the following critique of myself. If you click through to the video, each segment is timestamped on YouTube and I also included all the timestamps along with all the critiques so you can jump to exactly what I’m talking about.

A few random notes. I’m the dude in white shirt with no hat on. When I critique myself, I talk as if I’m talking to myself or the person I’m critiquing. That’s just my style, feel free to do that in your self critiques or not. (You can watch the full stage performance where First Class Bhangra won 1st place here. )

 

6-29-17 | Clutch City Bhangra Practice | Full All out Run Through (FART)

Saaps

00:27 Notice how you’re holding the shikka. It’s a bit slanted and weak. Compare to Arun (guy in blue next to me) and how his arms are strong and at chest level.

00:33 practice the shikka drop a few times, you look uncomfortable and lack confidence in this motion. Ask Sid for some tips

00:42 as you’re moving across stage, make sure to maintain your chest angle forwards. At times you’re drifting towards the left 45.

00:47 focus on your footwork here. Yes it’s just a shuffle, but that doesn’t mean you can just let your legs drop

00:49 this right here is great saaping posture, maintain this the entire segment

00:50 coming out of the spin, you were late, it leads to you opening the saap late

1:02 this is a recurring issue for you, you just have to saap bigger. Focus on dropping the bottom arm lower rather than the top hand higher.

 

01:07 faslaan footwork needs improvement, make sure you’re always kicking your butt

 

01:11 on the jumps, bring your knees higher while maintaining good posture

Lacking comfort generally, perform this segment more. You look like you’re thinking and worried about the actual steps rather than performing for the audience.

 

Dhammal

01:30 You’re the focal point here, gotta show off a bit and get your legs higher. Form and performing should be peaking right now.

01:42 just because you’re in the back does not mean you can coast, dig deep and get your legs up

01:47 add a dip with your legs during this double dhammal

01:49 don’t bend your arms on this spin

 

02:07 during the spin into jadoo singha your arm that’s in the air is bent

 

02:07 and you’re sticking your butt out and arching your back too much. Tuck your butt in and keep your back straight

 

02:12 You’re still doing that thing where your left arm is higher than right arm when arms in Bhangra position. Get in front of a mirror and fix this. Also fingers are extremely spread apart

02:18 thappis are so weak, add a bit more power to them

Jhummar

02:37 You do this a lot whenever your hands are resting at your hips so I’m saying once and not again, apply it throughout. Rest your hands on the SIDES of your waist not in front. Forces the chest out when they’re on your side rather than forcing the shoulders forward when they’re in front of you.

 

03:01 Saying once and not again apply it throughout. You have fingers spread out so much, keep them closed.

 

03:02 Saying once and not again, apply it throughout. When you’re getting down into beitke stop sticking your butt out. Gotta tighten your car and keep that back in a straight line. You’re not twerking.

03:18 you could make this buddha jhoomer arms bigger, reach out more

03:38 don’t let the outward arm get weak, don’t let it bend and keep it at shoulder level

Throughout this entire segment, work on your arm strength by maintaining flexion. They’re super floppy right now and it makes your movements look weak.

 

Phummaniya

03:42 saying once and not again, apply this throughout. Faslaan footwork is dummy weak. You have to get your ankles closer to your butt with BOTH feet, not just one good and one lazy leg.

03:59 When doing makhni, don’t let your arms get weak. Maintain good flexion throughout the arms.

04:07 arms are weak on this spin clap, maintain flexion

General Bhangra

04:39 LMAO don’t get lost

04:47 end of the punjabs the hands are weak, strengthen the hands

Throughout this entire segment, work on your arm strength by maintaining flexion. They’re super floppy right now and it makes your movements look weak.

Khunde

06:22 During jadoo singha leg pumping is good but you’re starting to lean forward and bending the back. Make sure the back remains straight and chest is out. You can go as hard as you want but don’t let it show with your face, grumpy dancers don’t look good.

Make sure that you’re getting your legs up and emphasizing your modhe more during this segment

Overall

You normally dance better than this, so do it. You’re dancing small and scared. Open your chest up, maintain good posture, strengthen your arms, and dance more open and big. You’re doing the steps right, 98% of the set you have the right moves and angles and formations, you just have to add that extra pep in your step. That can come by working on those facials and overall confidence. Don’t let your mind go completely blank and dance all floppy. You gotta perform the dance, not just go through the motions.

Next practice’s One Thing – more expressive facial expressions

Other general themes

  • maintaining posture on jadoo singha and beitke by tucking in the butt
  • keep arms and hands flexed and controlled rather than floppy
  • lacking that extra “oomf”, since you’re not dead tired at the end of this run, go harder