Eight Components of the Presentation Mark
When assigning the presentation mark, each of the following elements is taken into consideration before arriving at one number:
1. harmonious composition/conformity with the music chosen
2. variation of speed
3. use of the ice surface
4. ease of movement/sureness
5. carriage and style
7. expression of the character of the music
8. unison (pair skating)
1. Harmonious Composition/Conformity with the Music Chosen
This is essentially the overall "look and feel" of the program. Judges must determine if the skater or team is skating in time with the music, and in the case of pairs, with one another. Is the music used fully in terms of placement of highlights? Is the choreography suited to the music and the skater?
2. Variation of Speed
While general speed is assessed under the technical merit/required elements mark, variation of speed is considered in the presentation mark. Judges look for a change in speed of movement (long, sustained movement and short, sharp contractions), ease and variety of acceleration/deceleration, all of which will be dictated by the chosen music. A program should strive to incorporate changes in speed of skating and movement.
3. Utilization of Ice Surface and Space
A program should cover the entire ice surface, using a variety of patterns, directions and levels (low, medium and high). Skaters should avoid programs which rely heavily on circular and straight line patterns. Highlights should be distributed evenly over the entire ice surface (i.e. not all in between the two blue lines, nor in one or the other end-zone). Again, use of pattern, direction, level and placement of highlights should be dictated by the chosen music and/or theme.
4. Easy Movement/Sureness in Time to the Music
In this component, judges are essentially looking for the ease with which the skater or team performs. Balance, strength, rhythm, timing and flow are all assessed. Skaters performing choreography and highlights with apparent effortlessness will be rewarded with a higher presentation mark. Michelle Kwan is a good example of a skater who generally performs with such ease.
5. Carriage and Style
Skaters should perform with erect carriage and strong line. Variations in line and carriage in relation to the music/theme are acceptable, so long as they are still aesthetically pleasing and have proper alignment. Flexibility is also considered in this component.
Ideally, skaters and coaches, when choreographing a new program, venture to try something new - something which will advance the sport of skating beyond the present. Originality is rewarded through innovative movement, program concept (theme and/or music selected), or choreography. A skater who often "pushed the envelope" and took skating in a new direction was Canadian champion, World and Olympic medallist , Toller Cranston. More recently, Ukrainian skater Dimitry Dimitrenko has become quite well known for his creative and innovative choreography, style and movement.
7. Expression of The Character of the Music
Judges assess whether the skater demonstrates an understanding of the character of the music and uses the whole body in order to interpret the chosen music theme. Judges must determine whether the choreography is being performed because that is what the coach has indicated should be done at certain points in the program, or whether the program is skated with feeling. Choreography and movement should be inspired from within.
8. Unison (Pairs)
Unison is a key component of the presentation mark for pair teams. Skaters should have similar technique (jumping and spinning) and basic skating styles and demonstrate an ability to skate as "one". Judges determine whether or not the skaters are always within reach of one another or if they are scrambling to get in time with one another, continually searching for the other. While skating in time with one another, the pair needs to skate in time with the music, with similar performance levels. Excellent examples of pair teams who have the ability to skate seemingly as one unit are current World Champions Jamie Salé and David Pelletier, current Canadian pair medallists Kris and Kristy Wirtz and, of course, former World and Olympic champions Ekaterina Gordeeva and the late Sergei Grinkov.