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View Full Version : footwork sequences...and levels

iarispiralllyof
02-09-2012, 06:52 PM
Honestly, can someone give me a basic rundown on how to differentiate footwork levels?

I mean obviously we can tell that post-COP footwork sequences are more labored and and the skater is flailing in every direction. Apparently one-foot-skating and multi-directional skating are important factors in showing "difficulty", but I still can't truly differentiate between what makes something level 2 vs level 3 or rarest of all, level 4!

I remember during the 2005 world championships (the first world championship under COP) most of the top ladies skaters had level 2 footwork sequences, but only a year later at the 06 olympics most of their footwork had been upgraded to level 3's...and yet i can't tell much of a difference in terms of difficulty from their footwork a year earlier! am I blind?

Is it just that the more frantic a footwork sequence is the better? And it must have some kind of illusion spin in it?

Also, unlike GOE where I assume they take an average of the judges' marks, how do they come to a consensus on a skater's levels? (This is a really basic question but yes, I am that clueless). I'm trying to really come to terms with IJS and understand it but reading the Wikipedia article from top to bottom still doesn't explain half of it for me.

gkelly
02-09-2012, 07:27 PM
See pp. 4 and 5 of ISU Communication 1611 here (http://www.isu.org/vsite/vnavsite/page/directory/0,10853,4844-185235-202457-nav-list,00.html) (can't link directly) for the current rules about step sequence levels

1) Simple variety (Level 2), variety (Level 3), complexity (Level 4) of turns and steps throughout (compulsory)
2) Rotations (turns, steps) in either direction (left and right) with full body rotation covering at least 1/3 of the pattern in total for each rotational direction
3) Use of upper body movements
4) At least half a pattern on one foot only
5) Combination of difficult turns (rockers, counters, brackets, twizzles) quickly executed in both directions (at least twice within the sequence)

STEP SEQUENCES
Types of turns (executed on one foot) : three turns, twizzles, brackets, loops, counters, rockers.
Types of steps (executed on one foot whenever possible) : toe steps, chasses, mohawks, choctaws, curves with change of edge, cross-rolls, running steps.
Simple variety must include at least 7 turns & 4 steps, none of the types can be counted more than twice.
Variety must include at least 9 turns and 4 steps, none of the types can be counted more than twice.
Complexity must include at least 5 different types of turns and 3 different types of steps all executed at least once in both directions.
Use of upper body movements means the visible use for a combined total of at least 2/3 of the pattern of the step sequence any movements of the arms, head and torso that have an effect on the balance of the main body core.
Combination of difficult turns (rockers, counters, brackets, quickly executed in both directions requires at least two turns in each direction.

In other words, to earn level 2 or higher the sequence must have a minimum number of different turns and steps and also one or more other features. For level 4, there have to be 5 types of turns and 3 types of steps executed in both directions and also 3 of the other 4 features.

One of those other features is upper body movements, so that's where illusions and "frantic" arm and torso movements come in. The quick turns for feature 5 might also lead to the impression of franticness.

I can usually guess the level of a spin in real time based on number of features, which I can recognize pretty easily.

The features for step sequences are harder for me to see right away. I do know the difference between rockers, counters, and brackets, but when I see them I usually think "That was one of those difficult turns. Now which one was it?" and have to think about which edge the skater was on before and after the turn and which way the body rotated. In the middle of quick step sequence, the skater may have done six more turns by the time I figure out what that first one was.

As I understand, it's almost impossible even for a single highly trained technical specialist to count all the different features in a step sequence in real time (even worse for pairs or dance when there are two skaters); all three members of the tech panel each have a task to focus on specific features. So it's not surprising that we laypeople can't do it by ourselves either.

At best we may be able to say "I saw some difficult turns and several different kinds of steps, and I saw upper body movement, and I saw a sequence on one foot, and I saw rotation in both directions, so it could be level 4 if the skater got credit for all of those features. But I couldn't keep track of exactly how many different turns on each foot and exactly how many rotations in each direction. If there weren't quite enough, the skater could end up with a lower level -- even level 1 if the edges were too shallow for the panel to give credit for 'simple variety' of different turns."

iarispiralllyof
02-10-2012, 12:56 AM
Thank you SO much. That was an amazing post.

It's interesting because great care must be put towards creating a program that can maximize all the levels..and yet even skaters renowned for their footwork often have it inconsistently levelled (ie: Daisuke will have a level 4 in the lp but only a level 3 in the sp). I wonder if that's due to inconsistent execution on the part of the skater or inconsistent judging..

smarts1
02-10-2012, 02:36 AM
^ It's really inconsistent judging as opposed to the execution of the skater. There is a really fine difference in features between a level 3 and level 4 step sequence.

gkelly
02-10-2012, 02:43 AM
and yet even skaters renowned for their footwork often have it inconsistently levelled (ie: Daisuke will have a level 4 in the lp but only a level 3 in the sp). I wonder if that's due to inconsistent execution on the part of the skater or inconsistent judging..

Probably some of each.

And if the step sequences aren't identical from one program to the other, it could also be that one sequence is better designed to ensure the levels than the other.

Inconsistency in the calling (by the technical panel, not the judges) could be due to different levels of competence or strictness/leniency between panels. Between competitions it could also be due to different viewing angles in different rinks.

gkelly
02-10-2012, 02:51 AM
^ It's really inconsistent judging as opposed to the execution of the skater. There is a really fine difference in features between a level 3 and level 4 step sequence.

That fine line could very easily be in the execution of the skater.

Variety must include at least 9 turns and 4 steps, none of the types can be counted more than twice.
Complexity must include at least 5 different types of turns and 3 different types of steps all executed at least once in both directions.

Say the skater plans 10 different 1-foot turns in the sequence, 1 in each direciton of 5 different kinds including threes. That would just meet the criteria for "complexity" needed for level 4.

In one program, he changes edge on the entry to one of the counters or slows down one set of twizzles so that the actual turns come out as three turns and are called as such; therefore the skater does not have both directions on 5 different kinds of turns. Everything else meets the criteria for level 4, but he doesn't have "complexity" of steps and turns, only "variety," according to these definitions. So that one iffy turn cost him a whole level according to the rules.