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Eurofurence 25 "Fractures in Time" - Estrel Hotel Berlin, August 14-18, 2019Follow eurofurence on Twitter

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Author Topic: Enter the Arena - Time for change?  (Read 5399 times)

Faolan

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Enter the Arena - Time for change?
« on: 14.04.2016, 16:13:29 »

Hello everyone,

There has been a discussion recently among the dancerfurs about concrete ideas for the future of Enter the Arena, in the hopes of making it an even better show. The purpose of this topic is to highlight these ideas and the reasons behind them, so you, as the person reading this, can add your own input to it, by replying to this message. I will now continue to talk about the ideas.


1. Changing of the Guard:

For years now, we've had a lovely panel of judges that rate the dancers' performances in the way that they see fit. We've had a few different systems for this as well, as you may know. The main topic we've discussed  is the changing of judges. We've had the same 4 judges for 2 years in a row now, and they did an outstanding job. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way.

Judging is one of the hardest things to do in a competition, and also one of the most unrewarding things. You have to pay attention to many different moves in a dance, the way the dancer hypes the crowd and vice versa, the way the stage is used, and so on. We all do this, right? However, only the judges have to award points for each aspect, and they have only have 1.5 up to 2 minutes to do it in. It's all fine when a judge happens to agree with the audiences favourites, but as soon as this isn't the case, hell breaks lose. Judges are accused of not knowing anything about dance, playing favourites, only picking the most beautiful fursuits, and so on. That doesn't really seem fair, does it?

In order to relieve some of the responsibility of our beloved judges, we would like to suggest to relieve 2 of them of their duties, and have them replaced by last year's 1st and 2nd-place, or one of the other dancers should either of those two be unavailable for any reason. A suggestion would be the changing of North and Pinky. North has valiantly served as a judge for many years now, and perhaps he'd like a break. Knowing him, he might actually have other projects he'd like to work on or places he'd like to be. Pinky most definitely deserves a break, because she never ever really sits still at a con. Perhaps it would be nice if she could just sit back and relax, without having to worry about judging. This way, we would still have 1 member on team sausage and 1 member on team taco left to explain all there is about judging to the two new judges.

We think it is important for the dancers to understand what it's like to be a part of the jury panel, and to actually judge someone's performance. This will create a whole new level of understanding, which will hopefully result in less negative feelings and remarks. A change of face may be very refreshing for the audience as well, and if the dancers put on a great act as judges as well, we'll definitely have a great show.

Another reason for us suggesting the top 2 dancers of the previous year, is that it would create room for other dancers to reach those much-desired top 3 places.

Other cons already have this system implemented in their competitions, and it works quite well. However, these are only suggestions.


2. Showcase Judges:

Another way to make sure the people see that our judges can actually dance, is by having 1 or more of them performing a showcase at the beginning of the show. What better way to introduce a dance competition judge? The crowd would already be awake after the showcase, so this task no longer falls on the first contestant, hopefully taking away some of the nerves.


3. Preliminaries:

If we follow the number of dancers in the past 3 years, we can easily see that our happy little group of dancers is quickly growing bigger and bigger. Aside from this being awesome, of course, this could cause problems for Enter the Arena the way it is now. We were pretty much at our max last year, and if more join this year, the chances of preliminaries being held, is pretty much unavoidable. However, this would ensure that the average level of the dancers would go up, and it may provide time for the next item.


4. Battles:

An all-time audience favourite! EF19 was the last time battles were held; we had twelve dancers back then. However, due to the large increase in dancers that joined EF20 and 21, there was not enough time to do battles anymore. If we have prelimaries to such an extend that we'd bring the amount of dancers back to around 12, battles would be a possibility again. However, this is probably a bit too extensive.


I would like to invite you to respond to these suggestions and ideas. A reasoning behind the things you say would be nice, and I would like you to stay respectful.

- Faolan
« Last Edit: 14.04.2016, 16:18:09 by Faolan »
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FreesTyler

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Re: Enter the Arena - Time for change?
« Reply #1 on: 14.04.2016, 17:05:31 »

I do agree to pretty much all of this. Change might be scary, but many good things can come with it. Enter the Arena has become a more popular event and each year there seem to be new and amazing dancers joining in on the fun. To change around on a few things might make the competition more exciting for those that have already come before, maybe even for the dancers, and might also tempt new people to join the show!

On the topic of adding the previous winners as judges I think this might be a fun idea. Faolan has already stated many points about this, so I don't feel like I need to mention them again. Taking two of the dancers out from the comp to judge doesn't necessarily mean to take them out of the performance list as the showcases is indeed a thing. The judges can help hype up the crowd for the competitors.
Not sure what more to say atm since Fao put everything out there so nicely.
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CleanerWolf

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Re: Enter the Arena - Time for change?
« Reply #2 on: 15.04.2016, 22:09:11 »

With nearly everybody having a smartphone nowadays would it be possible to setup a small website with a voting system, so that the audience could vote for their favorite dancer? This doesn't have to replace the judges completely, but it could be taken into account for the end result.

Personally I think that voting is not so important anyways, the dance competition should be about fun in the first place, from what I've seen in the previous years, all dancers performed great, it's always exciting to see how much passion they put into it and that is what should be kept.
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nihil

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Re: Enter the Arena - Time for change?
« Reply #3 on: 16.04.2016, 22:43:32 »

Yes. Knowing your jury knows what they are talking about is important to me. Something can look good from the outside but maybe others have put way more thought and technique into it? The "connection with the crowd" is important but when you are completely new you wouldn't get as much cheering as for somebody who's popular and well-known. It's so different wether you know if it's about making a huge show (pretty suit, jokes, pop music, crowd hyping) or showing your techniques (dance quality speaks for itself), there could be more clarification on that.


I personally think preliminaries are a great idea! I personally have no equipment ready to make videos of myself dancing to send and get in so doing that at Eurofurence seems very nice.
Although this means studying and preparing a dance and the music beforehand without knowing if you'll get in could be frustrating and possibly more work on the spot for the DJ to make sure he has the music ready before the contest. But I personally prefer to do a prelim and find out if I'm good enough rather than finding out by completely being terrible in front of a lot of people. We all want to try and deliver quality I think!

I absolutely adore the idea of bringing back the battles.
 Speaking of which it would be still amazing if there could be a floorwars like American conventions have. Some people are better at freestyling rather than preparing an entertaining show. I also know people who would love to join a contest but don't have a fursuit or can't dance in their fursuits so making a fursuit and nonsuit division would include the whole "dancer community". But this is an idea not very much attached to Enter the Arena.

Something that would make Enter the Arena better in a way (to me) is to give information way beforehand. Information about the rules and how it all works. I want to join but there is no information online at this point.

Long post, possibly sounding annoyed. To make sure you don't get a bitter flavour after reading this: I am super glad effort is being invested in this event! I was thrilled about reading this and I can't wait to either join the contest or watch the contest from a seat again!
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Cheetah

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Re: Enter the Arena - Time for change?
« Reply #4 on: 17.04.2016, 14:31:22 »

With nearly everybody having a smartphone nowadays would it be possible to setup a small website with a voting system, so that the audience could vote for their favorite dancer? This doesn't have to replace the judges completely, but it could be taken into account for the end result.

Well, that means the one with the sexiest butt will always win, even if he doesn't move, and girls would have 0% chance to ever win :)
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Faolan

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Re: Enter the Arena - Time for change?
« Reply #5 on: 18.04.2016, 18:52:50 »

With nearly everybody having a smartphone nowadays would it be possible to setup a small website with a voting system, so that the audience could vote for their favorite dancer? This doesn't have to replace the judges completely, but it could be taken into account for the end result.

Well, that means the one with the sexiest butt will always win, even if he doesn't move, and girls would have 0% chance to ever win :)

I'm not a big fan of a voting system, even though I have the sexiest butt ;3 jk jk. It would be interesting to see whom the audience would've picked as their winners, but I don't think it would be really fair towards the dancers. I want to be judged by people who know what they're talking about, not by people who drool just at the sight of a sexy fursuit, no matter if that would be in my favour or not. ;3

--
Quote
Personally I think that voting is not so important anyways, the dance competition should be about fun in the first place, from what I've seen in the previous years, all dancers performed great, it's always exciting to see how much passion they put into it and that is what should be kept.

It is, and always has been, a competition, which means voting/awarding points is important. The most important point of all is having fun, but that doesn't mean that it's not nice to be rewarded for your hard work. Besides, some of the dancers, me included, are doing their best to win this thing, which ensures that there will be phenomenal performances. If not for the chance to actually win something, we could just as well just add another open dance event, instead of the competition.

--

Quote
Something that would make Enter the Arena better in a way (to me) is to give information way beforehand. Information about the rules and how it all works. I want to join but there is no information online at this point.

Nihil has a very valid point here. New dancers are pretty much thrown in the deep end here. Some information online on this event would be nice.

« Last Edit: 18.04.2016, 19:00:34 by Faolan »
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FreesTyler

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Re: Enter the Arena - Time for change?
« Reply #6 on: 18.04.2016, 19:03:59 »

With nearly everybody having a smartphone nowadays would it be possible to setup a small website with a voting system, so that the audience could vote for their favorite dancer? This doesn't have to replace the judges completely, but it could be taken into account for the end result.

Well, that means the one with the sexiest butt will always win, even if he doesn't move, and girls would have 0% chance to ever win :)

I'm not a big fan of a voting system, even though I have the sexiest butt ;3 jk jk. It would be interesting to see whom the audience would've picked as their winners, but I don't think it would be really fair towards the dancers. I want to be judged by people who know what they're talking about, not by people who drool just at the sight of a sexy fursuit, no matter if that would be in my favour or not. ;3

Don't be delusional Fao, there is nothing sexier than a ratty butt in HD ;)
Being serious again, what could be done with a vote is to just have an extra placing as "crowd favorite", not necessarily with a price other than the title, though that might be a lot of effort for just that.
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Faolan

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Re: Enter the Arena - Time for change?
« Reply #7 on: 18.04.2016, 19:06:21 »

Quote
Don't be delusional Fao, there is nothing sexier than a ratty butt in HD

In your dreams, babe ;3

Quote
Being serious again, what could be done with a vote is to just have an extra placing as "crowd favorite", not necessarily with a price other than the title, though that might be a lot of effort for just that.

I think this is actually a very good idea!
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Shay (Wolly)

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Re: Enter the Arena - Time for change?
« Reply #8 on: 18.04.2016, 19:14:22 »

I really like these ideas and suggestions.
Having dancers in the Jury is a nice touch to it, especially the winners from the previous year.
Issues might arise if the winner(s) won't attend the con the next year, or the first place winner doesn't speak English.
Just two things that popped up in the back of my mind.
Doable, for sure, just requires some planning and communication.

Not a particularly big fan of audience voting, because of fanboying, larger support/friend group and the works.
It might be nice as an audience favorite, but then again the above impact will make the result a bit wonky too.

I agree that it is very hard to find information online about the Dance Comp, the people that run it have busy lives and usually when the post goes live, the chance to ask questions comes with it. That said, I do see that it isn't the best way to deal with it, so I will see if I can write something about the competition and have it stickied somewhere appropriate in the forum.

To help out with the hosting and announcing of dancers or performers, I also would like to suggest a change in questions asked.
That might help too with preparing us and yourself.

I do like the fact you all speak out and help make Enter the Arena a better show for the audience, the organisers and the contestants.
Win, win, win situation!
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Faolan

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Re: Enter the Arena - Time for change?
« Reply #9 on: 18.04.2016, 19:22:42 »

Quote
I agree that it is very hard to find information online about the Dance Comp, the people that run it have busy lives and usually when the post goes live, the chance to ask questions comes with it. That said, I do see that it isn't the best way to deal with it, so I will see if I can write something about the competition and have it stickied somewhere appropriate in the forum.

Thank you so much for being willing to take the time to do this! I'm sure a lot of people will appreciate it!

Quote
To help out with the hosting and announcing of dancers or performers, I also would like to suggest a change in questions asked.
That might help too with preparing us and yourself.

Yes, please :P I've actually had this idea of short video intros for each dancer in the back of my head for a long time. It would require some planning and effort though, so I don't know if this is actually doable. Even just a short video of the camera circling the dancer while he/she is being introduced would be nice, I think.
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Spark Wolf

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Re: Enter the Arena - Time for change?
« Reply #10 on: 18.04.2016, 20:30:13 »

In order to relieve some of the responsibility of our beloved judges, we would like to suggest to relieve 2 of them of their duties, and have them replaced by last year's 1st and 2nd-place, or one of the other dancers should either of those two be unavailable for any reason.

We think it is important for the dancers to understand what it's like to be a part of the jury panel, and to actually judge someone's performance. This will create a whole new level of understanding, which will hopefully result in less negative feelings and remarks. A change of face may be very refreshing for the audience as well, and if the dancers put on a great act as judges as well, we'll definitely have a great show.

Dancers (or people having experience in dance) in the judges panel is always a pro in my book. Knowing different styles and techniques so they can give proper feedback towards contestants.
Also each judge can have a different focus point which they will give feedback to. Dancers rely on this feedback to motivate themselves to work on their technical points so they can give you an even more amazing show the next time!  ;D


If we follow the number of dancers in the past 3 years, we can easily see that our happy little group of dancers is quickly growing bigger and bigger. Aside from this being awesome, of course, this could cause problems for Enter the Arena the way it is now. We were pretty much at our max last year, and if more join this year, the chances of preliminaries being held, is pretty much unavoidable. However, this would ensure that the average level of the dancers would go up, and it may provide time for the next item.

Eurofurence is a long convention considering any other convention in the world. It would be nice to have these preliminary rounds set into place as demand to enter the dance competitions are getting higher and higher. I am a little 50/50 about the preliminary videos we have to send in now:
Yes, it shows you have skills in dancing... but it doesn't show your full potential as you have been practicing along the way in between the videos and the Enter the Arena event.
This is why I think freestyle preliminary rounds OR choreographed preliminary rounds where you have to either showcase your improvisation/freestyle skills or show your routine for the event so that a choice can be made which ones can make it to the finals. This way we also invite even more people to practice and do their utmost best to get into the finals <3


An all-time audience favourite! EF19 was the last time battles were held; we had twelve dancers back then. However, due to the large increase in dancers that joined EF20 and 21, there was not enough time to do battles anymore. If we have prelimaries to such an extend that we'd bring the amount of dancers back to around 12, battles would be a possibility again. However, this is probably a bit too extensive.

Since I pretty much have been in every Enter the Arena dance competition since EF 17 the suggestion of returning the battles is surely a fun one. It pits contestants 1v1 which I saw first hand results in a rush of adrenaline and excitement between the two. It was a nice touch to it but as the time slot is too short we have to choose between the normal competition and battles. What we can do is a separate event for this much like the Floor Wars events at US cons. Gotta say these are hella RAD!!! <3 Fun, adrenaline and companionship! The other thing is that you can also make a non-suit category which allows people without a suit with a passion for dancing to join up also. It's as big of a show as the dance competitions are so I surely advise to get something done with this.


With nearly everybody having a smartphone nowadays would it be possible to setup a small website with a voting system, so that the audience could vote for their favorite dancer? This doesn't have to replace the judges completely, but it could be taken into account for the end result.

Personally I think that voting is not so important anyways, the dance competition should be about fun in the first place, from what I've seen in the previous years, all dancers performed great, it's always exciting to see how much passion they put into it and that is what should be kept.

Good point about the having fun part but without voting there is just no "competition" in the words "dance competition". It may seem like a thing to see who just did better in this competition but as I stated in a reply to Faolan it will help the contestants to give them a certain feedback. If it's only a voting system you have your lovely fanboys/fangirls in the audience or maybe checking out the stream that will obliterate the meaning of any feedback given by a judging panel. If there is like such a voting system for the audience they should just count for about 20% or less in the final scoring to keep things clean.

The passion you speak of here has come from love, care and practice for the state of the art we call "dance" <3 We always want to improve our skills to give the audience an amazing show to watch so feedback is vital for us!  :D


Something that would make Enter the Arena better in a way (to me) is to give information way beforehand. Information about the rules and how it all works. I want to join but there is no information online at this point.

To make it easier for the European dancerfur community I thought about setting up a website so organizers/hosts from the dance events at European conventions such as EF, CFz, NFC, Gdakon, etc etc. can provide you with details for their dance competitions/events and even creating a hub for a possible registration system :)
Of course this can also become a little gallery so that people can get a great impression of the events being held and show pics/vids from previous competitions.


I agree that it is very hard to find information online about the Dance Comp, the people that run it have busy lives and usually when the post goes live, the chance to ask questions comes with it. That said, I do see that it isn't the best way to deal with it, so I will see if I can write something about the competition and have it stickied somewhere appropriate in the forum.

To help out with the hosting and announcing of dancers or performers, I also would like to suggest a change in questions asked.
That might help too with preparing us and yourself.

We are here to help out if necessary! With all the ideas and suggestions given already on this topic it shows we all want the best for these events <3
And of course we do appreciate all the organizers and hosts for the great years they have done their best to make these events just plain awesome! =D
Thank you for all the hard work <3 


With this all being said I am looking forward to what is in store for us next time... Lets all keep enjoying dancing! <3
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Tygs

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Re: Enter the Arena - Time for change?
« Reply #11 on: 19.04.2016, 10:22:46 »

Happy to admit I have attended the last EFs but in terms of feedback based on the comps I have been in...

Judges
At least some judges who know where they're looking at is a must. We have had some dancers previously show amazing technical skills who scored shit because the judges didn't know what the dancers were doing.

Judging by the audience has got to be a no. As above reasons, fans for the suit/maker would ruin it and turn it into a popularity contest rather than a dance competition. It also counteracts any expert judging you've then brought to the panel.

Competition style
I recognise that "battles" are fun for some but not all. Floor wars and battles should be separate from the comp in my opinion as otherwise you'll alienate those who don't like battles. Personally I'm really not a fan :page

Hosts
It's one thing having the hosts make comments, it's another thing entirely having a host who touches up contestants when they clearly say no to the request, so there needs to be ground rules.

The set of awkward questions for an introduction aren't needed, nor is making stuff about people who don't answer the questions. If time is an issue just say who they are and where they're from.
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Tygs

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Re: Enter the Arena - Time for change?
« Reply #12 on: 19.04.2016, 10:25:27 »

Also, novice and pro categories are a must if we're going to encourage new dancers.
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FreesTyler

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Re: Enter the Arena - Time for change?
« Reply #13 on: 19.04.2016, 12:57:14 »

Just throwing in some more thoughts.

For preliminaries, as of now might be a bit of a longshot? Its a lot of extra work when you have to do all the sorting of music and who is actually in the competition while at the con where people are busy. I guess this works out in the US cons because they have their own DJs and stuff and those that deal with the dance comps, only work on those things, while its different at EF. If we need to remove more of the known dancers from the competition to judge the prelims, we might also loose viewers for the show because everyone people are expecting to see again is gone (though if any EtA viewers would comment on theirs thoughts that would help). Right now I think maybe prelims shouldn't be the main focus, but maybe we should just try to make small changes at a time to not overwhelm anyone.

Maybe right now we should just work on what we have, so just change a few things in the competition itself. An update in the judging system, put new faces in with the judges, make sure the information about the event is easy to find for anyone interested, and maybe also just keep the introductions simple. Last year I had used time on filling out the questions, but non of that was mentioned so it kind of was a wasted effort.

If any new dancers who are not sure if they want to enter the dance comp, I hope some of you would comment on this thread and tell us what is holding you back. If its the beforehand prelims (sending in a video over mail), because we don't have a novice/ pro category? Hopefully some insight on that could also help upgrade the event to be more friendly to everyone!

I haven't entered any other dance competition anywhere, so I cant compare much, but I know I really enjoy the friendliness of EtA. The competitors are very supportive of each other, and I feel like even though it is a competition, its much more about the fun of it. That is however my opinion, and if other dancers have a different view then they do. I enter this competition to entertain people and because I enjoy dancing. I feel like we don't need to make the event more "competitive" and that the most important thing is that everyone has fun, and that it is a fun that anyone can join in on. Changing up the event could make it seem fresh, having dancers as judges can make it more interesting for the audience, more helpful for the dancers, and can be opening up new doors for fun things like a judge showcase.

Hopefully that was understandable, I'm horrible at explaining. 
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Re: Enter the Arena - Time for change?
« Reply #14 on: 19.04.2016, 19:34:52 »

A couple of notes I'd offer, generally groups tend to score higher as several people doing a coordinated routine tends to look better than an individual. It's just the way people are liking matching things. Separating groups from individual dancers tends to lead to a more balanced competition.

Secondly, I've taken part in dance contests before. When I have done it's for me to have fun, not to demonstrate specific ballroom moves or aspects of any dance. I have done it for fun and for a bit of entertainment.

The biggest problem would remain, you can't please everyone. Some will want a big dance off, others will want to show how many flips and jumps they can fit in a song.
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Nathalias

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Re: Enter the Arena - Time for change?
« Reply #15 on: 19.04.2016, 21:16:10 »

Well... here some thoughts from someone who is not a dancer, but someone who just likes when fursuiters are dancing. Enter the Arena is one of my favorite events at the EF.

I agree that the battles from earlier competitions where really cool und I missed them a bit at my first EF (20). But today I think a bit different about bringing them back. The battles work really good for some music styles but not for all. It gets worse when two competitors with very different dance styles have to compete against each other. Last year we had some really cool performances (like mydeggi and faolan) whose style not really fit into a "battle format". When one option is to get the battles back and the other is getting more dancers (because of time) and more different styles I would take the second one.

About the judges... while I think they do a great job and have no problem that my favorites are not automatically the winners... I think there is some room for improvement. Manly a bit more transparency. How about using the big projection screen to put up the scores in the different fields for each dancer? It would make it a bit clearer how the judges got to there totals. And maybe there could be some extra prices for the best technics or the most entertaining show.


And a big "thank you" to all the dancers out there, you're great.
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Re: Enter the Arena - Time for change?
« Reply #16 on: 20.04.2016, 04:15:28 »

I agree that it would be nice to offer a judge place for the winner/s of the competition for the next year, I'm pretty sure things like language barriers etc could be arranged. But it shouldn't be binding so if the person can't attend the con or something, there should be someone else to take their place as a judge.

And as for the battles, I would actually really like to enter something similar to the Floor Wars events in some US cons, but maybe not as part of the main dance competition. But is there enough people willing to take part in that kind of event ? Can't know for sure but I know there are a lot of dancers who do (mostly) freestyle (like me, even tho I do prefer choreo personally but I do a lot of crappy freestyle because I'm lazy) and Floor Wars events would be perfect, I'd totally take part (or atleast try to get in haha) if there was such event at EF. I've been on Enter the Arena two times now and I was kinda sad that the battles weren't at the first EF I attended but now when I think about it, I'd prefer the freestyle dance battles to be a separate event.

I agree on novice and pro categories would be a nice thing to add, and it wouldn't hurt to try to have some judged groups in too ? I really want to do a group (or more like a pair) dance with a friend of mine but trying to get the unjudged dance in was kinda confusing and we didn't end up getting any info on how to do one last year. It didn't really bother us as we know the organizers are very busy and prolly just didn't have time to answer our questions but yeah. Group dance category and pro/novice categories would a fun thing to add/try out. But as there are a lot of people who want to attend already, organizing stuff like this would need more extra hands to help out on.

Also yeah it would be nice to have some general rules or something readable on the EF website, and I know this even is not the main focus but it would be nice to get info on when we can apply for the contest etc. ^^'

edit/ Oh yeah I almost forgot, I think audience voting would be a fun thing to add but ONLY for like "audience favorite" place or something ? Not to replace the whole jury.

Faolan

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Re: Enter the Arena - Time for change?
« Reply #17 on: 23.04.2016, 10:41:33 »

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I agree on novice and pro categories would be a nice thing to add, and it wouldn't hurt to try to have some judged groups in too ?

I agree that having novice/veteran categories could be great, but who will determine whether someone is a veteran or not?

I agree that I'd love to see group performances, but with the amount of dancers we have in the show at the moment, this might simply take up too much time,
which brings us to the possibility/necessesity of preliminaries again.
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