2007 Harvard Beginner's Competition

NielsenE

Active Member
#61
>Although unfortunately so far it seems like every year this comp is poorly run and unorganized.

Ouch. The last two years the comp ran perfectly on time with more competitors than many of the full fledged comps and in half the time. Trying not to be defensive, but this is more than a slight exaggeration. This year was bad, but definitely contrary to the trend for Harvard comps the past two years (in my obviously biased opinion)

>My question is why do couples keep coming back every year when stuff like this seems to happen consistently year after year

Again, trying not to be defensive, but I would posit that it is because the general ballroom community isn't as anti-Harvard as Dance-Forums.
Yeah, I would agree with mgshah here. Last year's HBC ran well. I won't say exceptional, but definitely in the "strongly good" category. I wasn't at two years ago, but I tended to hear positive things. It was three years ago that major problems happened. Thats a 50% success rate over the past four years, which in reality is probably about normal for the circuit, especially for events that are aggressive about trying new things in order to find a more successful procedure.

Yes, Sunday was bad. But a three hour delay isn't exactly unheard of in the ballroom world.
Again, not trying to gloss over anything, Sunday clearly sucked, but a fair assessment of the event would have to also report that:
1) the audience loved Olga and Andrey,
2) the team match was full of energy
3) the 50% discount was pretty well received

Sadly, none of this has even been mentioned. I guess it's all irrelevant for DF'ers
To be fair to the posters, notice that none of those factors deal with the "core" of the event.



HBC is a uniquely challenging event. I feel that Harvard could benefit from refocusing on what exactly they want HBC to be:
1) Is it primarily designed for an introduction to dancing for newcomers
2) Is it primarily a testing/training ground for Harvard Invitational
3) Is it being pushed into another full Open/Invitational event

I have felt that even in the good years points 2 & 3 were more prevalent than 1. The "introduce newcomers to dancing" aspects have seemed to be on auto-pilot and have slowly be degrading as the size of the event gets larger and larger. Often the innovations attempts (PDAs, good use of multiple on-deck areas/lanes) could potentially address the schedule and organization in a way to reduce confusion and schedule -- however the execution is often less thought through and in the rush of the moment staff forget they are dealing with first time competitors.

Its a catch 22... I would rather test new approaches out at a small event, so Harvard choosing to test at HBC rather than the Invitational makes a lot of sense. However at the same time, testing anything increases the potential for confusion at an event where reducing confusion should be one of the utmost priorities.
 

NielsenE

Active Member
#62
>The venue was nice, but the floor could have been a little bigger/not run silver semis as 1 heat - my partner was tripped and fell on the floor during our quickstep.

Hmmm. In the last four competitions, I've been told pretty explicitly that semis should always be one heat because competitors don't want finals to be recalled from separate heats. Is that not true? The floor was also 70'x40', which is pretty large, imho, and there were at most 16 couples in the semi. Were the judges crowding you?
Well given that the minimum floor size (USA Dance's def'n) is 60x36, 70x40 isn't really large. Its more what I would consider functionally minimal (a USA Dance minimum floor is too small for most purposes or more than ~12 couples in a heat). For standard/smooth/samba/paso, I find that the width is more important initially -- getting to ~48' wide is extremely beneficial (so long as the floor doesn't become a square).

I wasn't at HBC, so if some of these factors don't apply, just ignore them. But at most competitions a 40' width ends up being significantly narrower -- seating is often right to the edge of the floor and couples tend to leave about a 2-3 foot buffer. If the judges are on the floor than tends to claim an additional 2-3 foot buffer. so often you lose about 4' per half. You also tend to use about 2 feet of dead zone in the middle as people want to be near but not in the center. So a 40' floor is effectively more like 15' per half, this tends to be support two "lanes" of dancers and doesn't tend to offer a lot of latitude for floor craft when changing lanes. In a fast dance like QS, especially as people leave the more predictable bronze steps for silver and above I can see how collisions would be frequent.... especially with newly silver dancers. With a 48' wide floor you end up with ~19' use useable space. This normally still means people only try for 2 lanes, but there's enough allowance for a third in a jam or for more flexibility in floorcraft. Going wider at this point tends to be counterproductive as a third full time lane develops squeezing everyone.
 
#63
In the last four competitions, I've been told pretty explicitly that semis should always be one heat because competitors don't want finals to be recalled from separate heats. Is that not true? The floor was also 70'x40', which is pretty large, imho, and there were at most 16 couples in the semi.
16 couples should be run as quarterfinal, not a semi - even if it was planned to be a semi.
16 gives you a mandatory minimum of 8 in the final, likely more - and you should only be getting to 8 as a result of unluckily divided marks, not by plan.

The only time you should have 16 is in a first round, and even then, on all but a huge floor you really should add another heat and shrink them all by a few couples.

When a semi must be run split (small floor, or division that moves a lot), what you do is run both heats, then put them all on for an additional 30 seconds to give the judges a chance to finalize decisions.

Silver quickstep can be... interesting. What often happens is that the guys gradually discover that they can avoid the bronze crowd along the outside by learning to use the center, and so are used to cruising through the inside area, with things like a V6 / slant six for example. All is great, until you two or three guys who know this trick and have been used to using it alone, all on the floor together... I can recall huddling with a friend in the lineup and deciding who was going to take which corner, because our reactions to certain situations were so similar that we'd always end up on top of each if we were presented with the same obstructions...
 
#64
I recall Tufts one year, and a collective chant from the silver quicksteppers of "two heats, two heats". They were going to put some 20 of us on the floor at once. I'm pretty sure you were there :)
 
#65
Probably not actually... I think I've only competed in bronze and open at Tufts, with a few years in between ;-)

I do recall some issues the first year though - they'd used their newbie team the night before to decide how many couples could fit on the floor, and used the same numbers for all events!
 
#67
Silver W/Q was a transcription error. It's been corrected.

You're right about bronze W/Q, the 6th and 7th place tie was incorrectly broken.
 

NielsenE

Active Member
#69
Silver W/Q was a transcription error. It's been corrected.

You're right about bronze W/Q, the 6th and 7th place tie was incorrectly broken.
It looks like both have been corrected on the website. (Just in case anyone is checking from what was reported earlier)
 

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