This week, the crews who made it to Sakata Mashariki 6 were contacted. 32 crews in all will compete for a chance to win the grand prize. The competition will be stiffer this year, with tougher judges’ challenges, new battles, a refined judging process and us, the judges mentoring the crews later on in the competition.
Since the crews were contacted I’ve received a myriad of comments and reactions from crews who didn’t succeed. The reactions ranged from ignorant to humble, to downright rude, to simply wanting to find out more about the competition. I will post some of the most popular types of responses that I’ve gotten this week with hopes that crews will learn from the audition experience.
1. We were in the competition last year- Just because your crew was selected last season does not automatically mean that your crew will be selected this year. Every year is a fresh opportunity for crews to audition. No matter how well you performed in the past, the selection process is based on how you perform during the audition. If at that time the performance isn’t stellar compared to other crews who audition, you may not be selected.
2. We have auditioned more than once and still haven’t made it- If you have auditioned several times and have not made it to Sakata then it’s time to check your dance regimen. Have you hired an outside choreographer to challenge you? Do you practice with mirrors or record your practice sessions? Does your choreographer understand the art of choreography or are you simply performing trendy dance moves to overused songs? Before you start believing that the whole world is against you make a checklist of areas where you need to improve and begin now. You have a whole year to work on it.
3. We are the best in our area/county- You may be considered the best in your area, and you may have even won a few awards for your performance. Even if this is the case, you need to be honest with how you measure up regionally and nationally. You may be surprised that compared to another region you may be an amateur in your dance craft.
4. The judges gave us good comments-Yea we give a lot of crews good comments. This only means that you listed among the 100 or so crews who were good. Did you also listen to the critiques that you received? More than likely those areas that needed work are what caused your crew to score lower in the auditions. Yea a lot of crews are good but those who are great stand out. How can your crew stand out? Go back to #2 and start acting on those points.
5. The competition isn’t fair-This belief is perhaps the one that kills crews more than anything. As long as you believe that the organizers, producers and judges are not fair then you do not have to do anything to get better in your dancing. You can sit on your butt and relax, hate on us all day because it’s not your fault. Perhaps someone is tribalist and that’s why your crew didn’t make it? Perhaps you’re not well-known so you are the under-dog? Perhaps someone paid off one of the judges to get into the competition? All day you can sit and come up with imaginary scenarios as to why your crew did not make it. Guess what? None of those scenarios have anything to do with dance. Get off your butt, stop talking and hating and practice. Simple.
I understand that Kenyans are so used to corruption happening that any and every competition is met with suspicion and contempt. This also causes a lack of work ethic and discipline on the part of the looser because “it’s someone else’s fault.” At some point, responsibility needs to be taken for your own actions. Honesty must begin to be paramount in conversation and reflection and feelings of entitlement must stop. The dance industry must begin to be the example of hard work, respect, discipline and practice. Let’s start today.