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  1. #1

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    ISU Ice Dance Seminar

    This week I have been attending the ISU Ice Dance Seminar being held here at Australian Nationals (in between judging and other duties). One more day to go. But it has been very interesting and made me realise why dance judging is so difficult.

    Won't say much about it but if you have any questions please ask and I will see if I can answer them.

    BTW - Massimo Scali is out here with the Australian team Dani & Greg. Got to meet him today. What a nice guy (and such a cutie! )
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    This week I have been attending the ISU Ice Dance Seminar being held here at Australian Nationals (in between judging and other duties). One more day to go. But it has been very interesting and made me realise why dance judging is so difficult.
    This caught my attention. Would you just expand a little bit on what made you think that? Thanks.

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    Then because of its "judging difficulty," is that perhaps part of the reason ice dance was always "prejudged" in days past.

    ITA, please expand on what it is about ice dancing that makes it more difficult to judge than other events. Is it the difficulty of seeing precisely what two pairs of feet are doing on the ice together?

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    For myself there is so much to look at and consider with the components. Even on elements which are clearer to evaluate you need to make sure they are working with the phrasing of the music (as your GOE should be no higher than a -1 if it isn't). And then on the short dance there is the detail that you need to look for. In the patterns if a foot placement or edge is wrong then you have to consider that. And it is watching not only two pairs of feet but bodies as well.

    Also you really need to look at the timing on steps - look at the feet, not the bodies. We watched a lot of programs and I was quite amazed by how many times skaters were off the beat with their steps. There can be a tendency for skaters to go with the phrasing, so it looks like they are skating to the music, but they not using the beat. I was counting very hard, even though for me music is probably one of the easiest things I understand out of all the components.

    The best thing I have gained from this is objectivity. You have to look at something, whether you like the music or not, and ask yourself is it appropriate for what they are doing to the music and are they fulfilling the criteria. Just not liking what they are doing is not necessarily a reason to mark skaters down. But that is why I am doing the seminar because there are times I don't understand the decisions. And I want to be a better judge.

    As with all judging though, you also need to be clear about your base values and what your deductions are from those.

    Our problem in Australia is Nationals may be the only chance to get to judge dance so you have to take advantage of the opportunities.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    Was the seminar just for judges, or was it for technical specialists as well?

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    Thanks so much for your insight! If you don't mind - I may ask you a few questions as the season goes on?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DORISPULASKI View Post
    Was the seminar just for judges, or was it for technical specialists as well?
    It was for judges, focusing on GOEs and components, along with some other things, such as refereeing.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Accordion View Post
    Thanks so much for your insight! If you don't mind - I may ask you a few questions as the season goes on?
    You may certainly ask questions. Hopefully I will be able to answer them.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    AussieW, you are a gem. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and willingness to share your experience and perspective from the other side of the coin. Hopefully, this will bridge the divide. I don't live in Melbourne but now that 'my kid' has moved and settled down in Melbourne, I am likely to visit Melbourne more often. Perhaps some day, to watch a fs competition in Melbourne too (I passed by a skating rink on the way to the airport). I think FS Australia needs a better website (or it already has one?). I had tried to google for some information, but the website which appeared was dated.
    Prosperity makes friends, adversity tries them. – Publilius Syrus

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    Okay - here is my first question! V & M were soundly beat in the GPF short dance - not on levels so much as is usually the case with these 2 but on GOE and PCS for the most part. Can you give any insight on this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Accordion View Post
    Okay - here is my first question! V & M were soundly beat in the GPF short dance - not on levels so much as is usually the case with these 2 but on GOE and PCS for the most part. Can you give any insight on this?
    Here are my thoughts.

    In terms of components, I think D&W do have the edge. There was a lot more choreographic content in their program and if anything it was probably better executed. There were also a lot more transitions in their program. It is hard to figure out from the Youtube clips if the timing was spot on, but I would also say that V&M, particularly in their waltz section, we working more with the phrasing of the music rather than the timing.

    In terms of GOEs, V&M were down in the Yankee Polka sections (going by the GOEs of the judges). I also thought that D&W did better twizzles. Whilst both couples had a distance of more than two arm lengths between each other on the twizzles, it was much more noticable with V&M. I think +2s were more appropriate but I think a judge could justify a +1 on those. Although I wouldn't have given D&W more than a +2 either for the distance.

    On the NtMiSt, both were very good, but again D&W had the edge in terms of expression and timing.

    I hope that explains it but I think I understand why D&W are ahead on both PCS and TES.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    Here's an additional thought from someone who has seen close up how the panels work (but not as a judge).

    There is so much to do as a judge that they miss a lot of what is being done on the ice. Early in the season when all the programs are new and unfamiliar they miss a lot of what is happening on the ice because they are so focused on the elements and judging how they were executed and that, I find, is often reflected in the PCS. Sometimes when I see their marks being entered and I watched the program as a viewer I scratch my head wondering what they are watching as the skater with the strong elements gets higher PCS scores (being very general here) than the skater with a few bad landings but much better overall skating and I think how unfair to not recognize that. But when I've sat behind them observing them hitting the touchscreen after each element I see that they are missing what the beautiful skater with a few rough landings is showing. So focused are they on the elements that they miss much of what is in front of them so when it comes to the part where they enter their PCS they are on a high from the skater who hit all their elements beautifully and just run with that feeling in the PCS.

    I think this must be magnified even more in ice dance and I think it's why things are often very different between GPF and Worlds. By the time worlds rolls around judges are more familiar with all programs having seen them a number of times and there is more time to sit back and actually see what the skaters are putting on the ice.

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    ISU Ice Dance Seminar

    Quote Originally Posted by bmcg View Post
    ...There is so much to do as a judge that they miss a lot of what is being done on the ice...
    Under the 6.0 system, I have often wondered how judges could possibly evaluate a program with all the details they would need to observe (especially before slow-motion video). It seemed likely they would give experienced skaters the benefit of the doubt, and base the scoring of what was missed on reputation. After the implementation of COP, the details of the scoring becomes much more obvious to the public (who are now armed with DVR and Youtube). Hence it would make sense to split some of the duties with a technical panel. Otherwise, reputation scoring to fill the gaps could have become too obvious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcg View Post
    So focused are they on the elements that they miss much of what is in front of them so when it comes to the part where they enter their PCS they are on a high from the skater who hit all their elements beautifully and just run with that feeling in the PCS.
    To add another point to this, it is a sport. Whilst we want to see great art, we have to give credit when skaters do things well or fulfill criterias. It might not necessarily be something that spectators are happy with, but if judges are judging as they are meant to, then endeavouring to have more objectivity is something we need to consider.

    I do appreciate your comments with regards to understanding the jobs of judges. Many people do not do that.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    I have a question about the Key Points in the Short Dance. I know that you give a level to the two sections of the Yankee Polka, but how do the Key Point influence the score? When I look at the protocols I see that a score is given to the level of the YP, not the Key Points. If I have a level 3, how does the score change if I hit all the three points in that section, or if I don't hit any of them?
    Uhm I hope my question was clear
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    The level gets identified by the Technical Specialist and is called separately to the key points. Not being a Technical Specialist I am not quite sure how it works, I just know it gets called. I did some data entry on dance recently.

    We had a very young dance team at Australian Nationals in Primary (Basic Novice according to the ISU rules). Even though they didn't meet any key points, they still got called a Level 1 on their Pattern Dance sequences. That is because if the sequences were invalid they wouldn't have got any GOEs. So they still got feedback via the protocol on their GOEs (which is the judging side of things). Some times you have to be flexible for the sake of the skaters. If you had a really large field of dancers you might do it differently, but when there is only one or two teams it doesn't hurt to bend the rules a bit.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    To add another point to this, it is a sport. Whilst we want to see great art, we have to give credit when skaters do things well or fulfill criterias. It might not necessarily be something that spectators are happy with, but if judges are judging as they are meant to, then endeavouring to have more objectivity is something we need to consider.

    I do appreciate your comments with regards to understanding the jobs of judges. Many people do not do that.
    To add more. Yes it is a sport and a bit part of the sport are skating skills. I have seen many instances where skaters with higher jump content get higher skating skill points over a skater with beautiful skills but unable to do the harder jumps. It's not subjective that the jumper had much weaker skills than the other skater, it was fact but it was not noted. My conclusion is that after each element is performed they are busy marking that element and by the time they look up we are ready for the next element. Just felt this needed repeating because what I´m talking about is not about scoring to keep the audience happy, it's about not being able to view the program and much of what is included in PCS scoring correctly. I think it's almost impossible to really appreciate a program when you are distracted scoring the elements but I think it gets easier late near the end of the season because you are more familiar with the programs and able to discover more each time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcg View Post
    My conclusion is that after each element is performed they are busy marking that element and by the time they look up we are ready for the next element. Just felt this needed repeating because what I´m talking about is not about scoring to keep the audience happy, it's about not being able to view the program and much of what is included in PCS scoring correctly. I think it's almost impossible to really appreciate a program when you are distracted scoring the elements but I think it gets easier late near the end of the season because you are more familiar with the programs and able to discover more each time.
    Totally agree. It is also not just putting stuff into the computer but you have to take notes too. Although you do get used to writing whilst watching the skater. Although with judges getting to see skaters, it depends on their assignments throughout the year. They may get to Worlds without having seen any of the skaters competing. Their only viewing could be clips on Youtube which definately are not the same as watching live (another thing I discovered from the seminar).
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    The level gets identified by the Technical Specialist and is called separately to the key points. Not being a Technical Specialist I am not quite sure how it works, I just know it gets called. I did some data entry on dance recently.

    We had a very young dance team at Australian Nationals in Primary (Basic Novice according to the ISU rules). Even though they didn't meet any key points, they still got called a Level 1 on their Pattern Dance sequences. That is because if the sequences were invalid they wouldn't have got any GOEs. So they still got feedback via the protocol on their GOEs (which is the judging side of things). Some times you have to be flexible for the sake of the skaters. If you had a really large field of dancers you might do it differently, but when there is only one or two teams it doesn't hurt to bend the rules a bit.
    Thanks!
    A grumpy Canadian will always be nicer than a polite Milanese

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu View Post
    I have a question about the Key Points in the Short Dance. I know that you give a level to the two sections of the Yankee Polka, but how do the Key Point influence the score? When I look at the protocols I see that a score is given to the level of the YP, not the Key Points. If I have a level 3, how does the score change if I hit all the three points in that section, or if I don't hit any of them?
    Uhm I hope my question was clear
    Let me see if I can help. The performance of the key points correctly define the level (much like requirments in a spin). If the team completes 75 percent of the sequence but none of the key points are correct, then they get a level 1. The key points are called as performed with a yes or no. When the defined key points are executed at the same time (such as the blues choctaws) then the TS normally takes the lady and the ATS takes the man. As the segment is concluded the TS calls the level. Completion of all three key points (3 yes) is a level 4, 2 yes a 3 and 1 yes a level 2. The Key points are recorded on the protocol after the level. 1YP3+kpYYN means that the team received a level three on the sequence of the Yankee Polka on the judges side of the rink. They were successful in executing Key points 1 and 2 but the man had some difficulties executing steps 22-24 correctly. I hope this helps.

    AussieW - who was the moderator for your ISU seminar?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emmett View Post
    Let me see if I can help. The performance of the key points correctly define the level (much like requirments in a spin). If the team completes 75 percent of the sequence but none of the key points are correct, then they get a level 1. The key points are called as performed with a yes or no. When the defined key points are executed at the same time (such as the blues choctaws) then the TS normally takes the lady and the ATS takes the man. As the segment is concluded the TS calls the level. Completion of all three key points (3 yes) is a level 4, 2 yes a 3 and 1 yes a level 2. The Key points are recorded on the protocol after the level. 1YP3+kpYYN means that the team received a level three on the sequence of the Yankee Polka on the judges side of the rink. They were successful in executing Key points 1 and 2 but the man had some difficulties executing steps 22-24 correctly. I hope this helps.

    AussieW - who was the moderator for your ISU seminar?
    Yes, I think I have understood it now!! So basically the level is given by the number of correct key points, right?
    Thanks!
    A grumpy Canadian will always be nicer than a polite Milanese

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