Positive : new skills, and skaters are pushed to work on their basic and technique to have quality over quantity.
Negagtive : I miss watching a program as a whole. I mean, I have the feeling to watch elements after elements, and that we forget the overall quality of a program.
About disciplines : ice dancing is just so different, it's almost another discipline. There was ice dancing before IJS and after IJS. I don't know what to think since we see amazing qualities of ice dancers (vs. artistic skaters) with those footwork sequences, twizzles ... but at the beginning, ice dancing was supposed to be dance on the ice. There's no more real blues, quickstep, tango, samba, rhumba, waltz ... but it's not new.
I've felt for a while that the actual programs of the skaters at the very top, especially in the men's event, are far superior to the programs of the skaters at the top under 6.0. (Dance is the exception) It's the rest of the field that suffers and makes for harder viewing becuase they're attempting far more difficult footwork and spins than they are capable of.
The biggest change in ice dance is now an error on one element, not to mention messing it up completely, probably has the most disastrous effect on score and placement of all four disciplines. The technical parts completely out way the PCS, at a time when so much emphasis is placed on PCS in the other disciplines, especially men's.
Examples: Faiella and Scali's 8th in the SD at Euros becuase she screwed up the twizzles or Crone and Poirier 10th in the SD at worlds becuase she was off on the twizzle. Hell, missing a position on a dance spin is supposedly what cost Denkova and Staviski a chance at a medal back in Torino.
Last edited by casken; 10-31-2011 at 08:16 PM.
In general, I like CoP in the short program. I don't find short programs to be as artistic as before, but I don't mind as much since it's the short program, which has always been about required elements in terms of technical level and detail and I like that skaters close in points are still a threat in the long program (not just the top 3).
It has made free programs anything BUT free. 7 or 8 jumping passes, 3 spins, a spiral, and footwork. Basically, more required elements. Remember the wonderful jump combinations/sequences we used to see like 1-foot-axel into 3 salchow? Remember Ilia Klimkin and his crazy spins like a 3sal out of a flying camel. Remember when a spiral flattered the skaters form and flexibility and lasted as long as the musical phrase did? Remember would occasionally take huge risks and could throw in jumps (like Midori's 3A in 1992 which would have been given a +SEQ value deduction and made another jumping pass invalid in CoP) Remember watching a spin that simply had one beautiful position with good centering that didn't rock onto an unsteady edge, or contort into a hyper-flexible position to get points?
In the old system, you used to see skaters "let go" and surrender themselves to the performance. This doesn't exist today, as skaters have to be so focused to maintain each level, count each rotation, make sure each jump has perfect rotation, count their combinations, etc. No freedom whatsoever. I wish we could keep the scrutiny of the sp, but take SEVERAL steps back in the long program and change the judging plan. Just give a single mark for the categories jumps, spins, footwork, MITF, plus the PCS Categories. Instead of scrutinizing each element, judge the content as a whole. It will give skaters some breathing room.
PAIRS: This has become a lost art form in many ways. I get very depressed watching old pairs programs. The beauty in pairs skating was it's simplicity IMO, or the ability to make things look simple. Two bodies performing elements in perfect unison, making it look as though they aren't trying. I have yet to see a high level sbs by any team that rivals some of the best in the old system, at least in terms of aesthetics. Tacking all of the silly tricks (edge changes and flexibility) goes against the nature of a man and woman skating together, which is all about finding the middle ground and making things look natural and easy. The ease and flow, without frenetic movement, is what has always separated Pairs from Dance IMO. I don't like seeing my pairs skaters look like ice dancers...
Footwork sequences last forever - Bad
Fugly spins to get points - Bad
Lip and Flutz crackdown - Good
Underrotation crackdown - Good
When IJS first came out, I didn't think I'd like it. But, I am now convinced it was a great step forward for judging. I think I've seen a lot less "gifting" of scores/placements with IJS compared to 6.0.
I am glad that the factored placement, one-by-one, etc is gone and now the skater with the most points wins. I also like that someone can come from behind to win or medal. A skater no longer has to be in the top 3 to "control their destiny".
I like that dance is now judged on technical merit and not on what country you're from or if you've waited your turn. Dance standings used to be so predictable and it is less so now. This makes it so much more exciting.
For singles, I'm glad that spins and footwork have greater impact on scores. I also like that skaters who do not do the hardest jumps can do what they do well and are rewarded for it.
I feel like pairs fared the worst under IJS. Footwork sequences are slow and labored as are pair spins. I also miss those multiple jump sequences.
It has profoundly changed ice dancing (not for the better, in my opinion).
Prior to CoP I always thought of singles and pairs as element-driven and dance as choreography-driven. Pairs and singles start out thinking what jumps they will tackle this season and how they can upgrade their other elements and work from there. I always imagined that ice dancers started with music. Perhaps I am wrong, but I imagine T&D came up with a concept and music for “Bolero” and K&P did the same with “Air,” and then they actually began choreographing a free dance around the concept. Obviously there were rules, but they were not overly restrictive in the free dance. If the music called for you to turn, you could turn. If the music called for a position to be held, then it was held.
Eventually, there were required elements, and every team had to insert spins and twizzles whether the programs called for it or not. There was still some freedom though, to add difficulty in subtle ways that worked with the program. For example, Denkova & Staviyski had that beautiful back to back spin in their “Baroque” OD and Winkler & Lohse did their twizzles in the “Cabaret” OD with a Charleston flourish. It was up to the judges to decide how that difficulty added to the technical mark and impacted the presentation. 6.0 judging for ice dancing was based on a holistic feel for the dance.
CoP has fundamentally changed the structure of ice dancing because now the dance is primarily based upon the elements. I’m not saying anyone does this, but it’s now possible to choreograph an entire FD before even choosing the music, which IMO would’ve been unheard of 10 years ago. Now it’s not just that there are elements, but that the rules for getting levels on an element are so strictly defined that you have to move in a certain way whether the music calls for it or not. You don’t just have a required footwork sequence, but specific edges and turns you need to hit to get a level 4, and of course the skaters would rather get the high level than match it with the music. The music may call for a lift to be held and the position appreciated, but the rules may require you to change positions 3 times at that moment to get a high level. You have to grab your blades or put your hands above your head during a twizzle, not because it goes with your concept, but to get the levels. Witness the SD, where the skaters literally have to fit a whole section of a CD into their program and then choose music to go around it. That's not so different from what a lot of them do with their footwork in the FD.
The dances are a lot more homogeneous today, mostly slower/romantic programs that are very open in between the elements. It's not my cup of tea.
It allows young talented couples to bypass the old "wait your turn" system - which I HATED and has made ice dancing more of a sport in that you're no longer sure who'll finish where just by looking at the entrants. And even when you think you know, you can still be surprised.
It has also made it harder for collusion, bloc judging, and general shiftiness to influence the marks. It splits power between the judges and the technical controllers. And it publishes the protocols so everyone knows exactly where the scores came from.
The 6.0 was just too nebulous for ice dancing. Individual judges had too much power, nothing was published justifying or explaining the marks and it was often difficult or impossible for fans to understand where the marks were coming from. Now it's more in line with the other disciplines - with elements included in the program and clear guidelines on marking.
I think you are right that the artistic quality of programs has suffered under CoP - but I dont believe that is intrinsically due to CoP. I think the focus on the elements has encouraged coaches to choreograph the programs themselves rather than hire a professional. And the result is what you see. Mostly programs that look like what they are - a collection of elements vaguely put to music and strung together with a few connecting moves. This is not what I would call a FD, but all too often it passes for one nowadays.
But it doesnt have to be like that. I have seen some amazing dances under CoP that I think rank with the best of 6.0. But with one exception they have all been done by people who are choreographers - not coaches. I think including all the elements makes it more challenging to create something that feels like an artistic whole- but it's not impossible. It's just beyond the ability of most of the coaches working today - unfortunately.
It's turned most performances into slop.
A well designed system could have worked but IJS is very poorly designed (and never sufficiently beta-tested).
Two worst features:
- rewarding "difficulty" over technique so that an awful spin that checks the difficulty boxes gets more points than a perfect spin that misses a box or two.
- selective disproportionate penalties (so that a fully rotated fall gets more points than very minor underrotation) or has this been addressed yet?
- too much is still too subjective (PCs)
I've very sympathetic to the ideas behind the IJS but I hate, hate, hate how they've been implemented.
In singles, I dislike the endless, meandering step sequences and the multiple edge/position spins. I'm fine with the crackdown on jump technique. I think having more choreographic content in the programs is great, but feel that a lot of it is cluttered and not really relevant to the program, and don't like the emphasis on upper body movement. I thought Brian Joubert was absolutely correct when he compared edge-driven content and the upper body stuff:
(source)I have to say that transitions in edges do add a lot to skating. When you watch skaters from the past on YouTube, like John Curry or Robin Cousins, you can see that they did skate many edge transitions, and it was beautiful to watch. But additional arm movements do not bring nearly as much, at least I feel so.
Basically, I like the idea of CoP but have a lot of problems with the way it's being implemented right now.
For example, the layback that Cohen would perform back in 2002 would earn less points than say Elene Gedevanishvili's, because it's "less difficult" despite being superior.
I hate that no one ever does a layback that doesn't end in a catch foot or biellmann. There is nothing wrong with a spin that has one position that is fast, centred with a beautiful position.
For example, about spiral sequences for the ladies. You had almost no point for a classic but beautiful Nancy Kerrigan spiral. But you had points for a change of edge spiral with an awful body line, or a dog peeing spiral.
I have never liked CoP and so far have seen nothing to change my mind. I like how there is less skate, skate, jump. I like the development of SOME more interesting footwork in Mens.
I like the crackdown on edges and incomplete rotations, but there is no earthly reason that that could not have been done under 6.0. Dance has become interesting only in who can do the most fugly lifts. When I think back to the T&D, K&P days I could just cry.
Ugly spins in all disciplines, simple elegant moves have disappeared.
And the number hash that is now the Kiss & Cry. Good bye accessibility to the casual viewer. No more immediate wild excitment when the 6.0 goes up on the board, just squints and side conferences until the standings flash up.
All in all, this long time fan could miss an entire season and not be too upset.
I hate, hate, hate the the serpen-strai-cular step sequences we get with IJS in singles and pairs (not sure about dance).
None of the step sequences are straightline, circular, or serpentine any more. Seemingly now that doing half of the step sequences on one foot gets points (something I do agree with) it means you get a fairly decent straightline step sequence on one foot, then the mandatory double back most of the way back up the rink to then make room to put in all the rest of the necessary turns in both directions with spastic arm/body movements to get higher levels. The pattern on the ice is that of drunken insect at a picnic, not anything that can be described as circular, straightline or serpentine.
About the spins in singles and pairs. I kind of think that the bullets for levels need to be revised every quadrennial. When back to front spins started counting for levels it was rare to see them, now every skater includes at least one back to front combo spin in their LP and SP. So I question how difficult this truly is now that more or less everyone demonstrates they can. Since it is a hell of a lot uglier and always requires a re-centre on the change, can we not get rid of that bullet now for levels? Everyone has proved they can do it, everyone has proved you cannot do it without re-centering the change, nearly everyone has shown that the free leg transition to the front spin ends up looking ugly (and yet it doesn't seemingly affect the GOE for the element) so I wonder what the point of it is anymore, back to front or front to back, who cares anymore?
Pairs - I think the levels have killed the beauty of the death spiral and the lifts. In the lifts, the catch-foot kitchen sink changes, and the stop-the-rotation and make the audience scared while the man is in a precarious spread eagle or doing bloody cross overs are just and just don't look good. Also some of the twisting, summersaulting, nearly landing, but not really, one last flipping twisiting dismount back the other way bfore landing type landings just seem over the top for the sake of point whoring. I miss the days of a top pair couple executing a single position beautifully extended laso lift that went from one oend of the rink to the other with fast clean mohawks from the man.
The sameness between programs is not a problem for short dances IMO -- there's actually more freedom now than in OSPs or most versions of the OD.
But is there a way for the rules and guidelines to transcend that for free dances?
Fewer elements for points in the FD, maybe a choice between twizzles and dance spin instead of requiring both?
Another optional kind of element that could be used in place of the above or in place of one lift or step sequence?
"Choreo" elements that earn points for quality but don't have levels?
Changing the factors for some or all of the program components so that excellence in global qualities can override lower levels on the elements?
Training to encourage judges to use wider ranges between components and really reward a well-constructed program even if the skating quality is mediocre by comparison -- or vice versa?
Antmanb, you reminded me of one thing I forgot to mention - the hideousity now known of as the death spiral. Points apparently go to the most awkward looking concoction.
In general, many fine elements have been grossly distorted to try to make them difficult. Some things are hard for a reason - they have no business being attempted.