The Shuffle is a social dance, that's how it began. A bunch of friends getting together and doing what they love, Shuffling. Simple as that.
Whether it's 2-3 friends hanging out at home or hundreds at a Shuffle event, being with others who have the same passion for Shuffling is a buzz like no other.
There can be dozens of different types of crews, and not all crew members need to be pro shufflers. Some members may not be able to shuffle at all, yet they can be just as valuable a member as the crew stars who win competitions.
Lets have a look at some of the different types of crew members.
A crew can have any or all of these types of members, and one member can do more than one role.
These are the most visible crew members. They'll be the ones who are in the crews shuffle vids and enter competitions.
Often the competition crew members form teams. Shifter Hardstyle Prodigy for example have 50 members and a number of teams, from the most experienced older ones, to starter teams for the younger ones who are in training.
Having different teams in your crew gives everybody a chance to perform at their skill and age level.
Generally new crews will just have one team who are all at the same age/skill level to start with.
> FILM CREW
These are the people who video and edit the performers. They don't need to be able to shuffle, but they do need to have a passion for shuffling and understand Shuffle culture.
The film crew provide valuable feedback to the performers. Together they can view the shuffling and discuss how to make it look better, or have a greater impact.
The end product, usually a youtube vid, is how the world sees the crew, so it is a very important role. Film crews need to keep up with the latest editing styles, software and cam techniques, just as the performers need to keep developing their moves.
All crews need some sort of web presence, a myspace, friendster, orkut page etc, and often a forum, for updates meet ups, comps. Even for posting vids online.
So crews need a good web tech who loves this stuff, and knows how to manage all the online activity.
Online time moves FAST it's a fulltime job just keeping up. So this is often a great opportunity for someone who's not a great shuffler, but is a great tech and can spend a lot of time keeping up with online developments and work with the rest of the crew to make online content work for the crew.
Well of course if you're gonna have a crew, you need some crew artwork. That's where the visual artists come. They will discuss with the crew all sorts of ideas for that big crew logo you want on the back of your hoodies, to the header on your crew page.
Artists understand shuffling really well, as most of the oldskool shufflers were artists to start with. So the crew artist/s will express in a graphic form what your crew is about.
logo's need to work on all sorts of levels, from hoodies, to grungy youtube resolution, it's a fine art (pardon the pun) getting the balance right, and artists need to keep up with changes in styles just as much as the performers do.
Your crew will probably want it's own phats, competition costumes and will want to sell it's own merchandise at some stage. That's where designers come in.
It's a fashion area, so you need someone with fashion design knowledge, an understanding of fabrics, and clothing manufacturing techniques.
Cript Ballas for instance have their own tailor who makes the crews phats. That's a great idea, and the crew designer is the one who understands the demands of wear and tear on clothing, especially clothing that has to perform hard in shuffling and not fall apart in the middle of a comp. Not a good look to have a bit of reflective fabric come off in the middle of the comp finals and trip everybody over on stage
Most crew members will have their favourite tracks to shuffle to. Keeping up with latest tracks and changes in styles is a busy job.
Some crews are now considering working with musicians and composers to write tracks specifically for their crew. As a musician and composer myself, I think that's a great idea. I've spent most of my life writing music for dance crews and dance productions, I love it. It gives the crew a real edge to tailor make the music they shuffle to, and helps them stand out from the crowd with a truly unique combination of music and dance.
The difference between a musician and composer is, a composer writes the music, a musician plays it (like a guitar or keyboard). They can be the same person. A composer is different to a 'producer', a producer generally does not create or write the music, they generally use pre recorded loops and samples and just rearrange them with a computer. The risk with loops is, you can sound just like everyone else. But that's ok when you're starting out.
You may find someone in the crew is great at choreography, they can stand back and arrange the shuffle moves to make an impressive routine.
Often individual shufflers can come up with great ideas, but sometimes these can get lost in the rush, if you don't arrange them and pace them. For instance you'd do a 30 sec shuffle routine differently to a 5 min one. And it'd be different again if you are working with a team of 8 shufflers for a competition. That's where a choreographer comes in.
Most crews will have someone who takes care of the administration stuff of the crew. Someone who is the contact for the crew to answer emails, phone calls etc.
This can become quite a lot of work when your crew gets to 30-50 people. Admin organised information so everyone knows when a practice is, or when you need to pay entry fees to a competition etc.
Admin can be a great job for someone who loves doing that sort of thing - most shufflers loathe it ;)but it needs to be done and done properly. For instance when I wan to contact a crew, perhaps to offer them a contract to be on a shuffle dvd, I look for the person who does the admin. That way I'm pretty confident that my messages will be passed on to the relevant crew members, and my emails will be returned.
> SUPPORT CREW
When you have to get 30 member to a competition on time, you need a support crew. Firstly to make sure every has transport to get there and back, and also transport all your costumes etc. Perhaps even arrange for food if it's an all day competition event.
Often it's girlfriends/boyfriends with a car or helpful parents doing all the running around. It's a great way for them to not only 'feel' like part of the crew, but to actually do something practical, to free up other crew members minds to concentrate on the competitions etc.
Fans are great, they'll support you at events, give you encouragement when you're down or missed out on a place in a comp, and generally be a delight to have around.
Fans want their crews to succeed, in what ever the crews are doing. So make sure you let fans become part of your crew somehow, wearing your crew hoodies, talking about 'their' crew on forums and comments pages, and letting everyone at school know you exist.
There's nothing like turning up to a competition or a Shuffle event and seeing a crowd of friendly welcoming faces who are there to cheer for you, knowing that you're probably scared to death with nerves...
So make fans part of your crew, they're worth their weight in gold !
Global Shuffle Director
Finding a 'purpose' for your crew is important. It has the answer to why your crew exists.
If your crew is just for fun then leave it like that, unless members want to do something different.
If you want to form a pro shuffle crew, you can expect to find it very very hard to get members, because very few people actually want to go pro-shuffling. They just want to have fun and friendship, while learning more shuffle moves.
The demands of a pro crew such as contract obligations etc aren't for everyone, and the demands will only increase. So if you are still at highschool, joining a pro crew may not be for you, because of your workload, or life situation.
The cold hard reality of life is that many want to go pro, but many can't because of life circumstances. It may take many years for your opportunity to do it and you may only get one shot.
They are burdens which many crew members don't want, if you have one or two other crew members who want to train for pro, then that may be a blessing it may be a curse, depending on the people, they may see you as competition and want you out of the crew, they may think you are not good enough and want you out of the crew, the same crew you started up !
There's lots to consider when you are in a crew, firstly everybody else in the crew Sounds simple but just try getting 6 people to agree to the same thing, it's not easy, and that's the task of the crew leader to manage that stuff, again and again and again.
Starting a crew is difficult, keeping a crew running for more than 6 months is very difficult, having some sort of purpose that members collectively want to do, is vital for a crew to continue. Otherwise people just find something else to do and the crew folds from lack of interest.
Global Shuffle Director