Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Sylvia, Oct 31, 2011.
Inspired by a discussion started in the Skate Canada forum -- here are 2 posts:
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.
I agree, but because we want Ice Dancing to be an Olympic sport, ISU had to make sacrifices.
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.
I agree with almost everything you're saying and I understand exactly what you mean - but I still wouldnt trade CoP for 6.0. CoP allows us - the fans and audience - to understand exactly why the marks were given and where couples need improvement. The elements system lets you compare directly between couples, and lets you compare each element to a check list specified in the rules.
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.
Could you please give me an example of awful and perfect spins? I can't understand what you mean by rewards difficulty over technique? Doesnt difficulty show technique? Thanks.
I agree; I often feel like I'm watching a pairs program with dance elements, which IMO is not what dance should be about.
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:
Basically, I like the idea of CoP but have a lot of problems with the way it's being implemented right now.
A classic layback with the free leg where is should be with a low back position in that position for the entire spin is going to earn less point than a lay back with a less than desirable position if the skater adds a "feature" like grabbing the foot/hair cutter etc, even if the first type of spin is faster with a more "correct" position.
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.
You get more points with an awful spin with change of edge than a perfect classic scratch spin. For example, the forward inside spin with the free leg bended to help to maintain the inside edge. Hope I'm clear.
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.
I do agree, although I also think that the focus on elements in the scoring strongly encourages teams to focus on elements when constructing their programs and also makes the construction of every program have more in common with every other team's program under that year's rules.
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.
There have been enough beautiful CoP programs for me to believe that it is possible to put together a CoP program that doesn't look like a collection of elements. I do wonder if it is rewarded enough to make it generally worthwhile. What happens with the next generation of choreographers not trained under 6.0? Certainly in gynastics the well-put together floor exercises are non-existent, and they are well ahead of figure skating in the codification of difficulty.
Yes, I agree that we have masterpieces under CoP. But, as said previously in this thread, the problem is more for the "not so good" skaters, who try too hard.
What are they supposed to do?
Simpler programs, simpler elements (including easier jumps), to allow themselves to skate cleaner and with better overall control?
How could that be encouraged? More points for quality (GOEs) than for difficulty (base mark/levels) on elements? More rewards for clean programs and confidence than for intricate transitions?
If these skaters are going to place in the middle and lower ranks anyway because of their overall skill level, how should they try to compete against others with comparable skill levels?
If you're a so-so skater competing in IJS competition, to what extent do you aim at creating a satisfying overall experience for yourself and/or spectators, and to what extent do you aim to place as high as your skill level allows? How can the system be designed to make those two goals complementary and not mutually exclusive?
Thanks to you and the other poster - now I see what you're saying. I agree that CoP needs fine tuning. Maybe they could give options on elements like either do a spin with "feature" or a spin in "classic" position [defined] held for a certain amount of rotations? I also think they are too strict with the UR calls - esp for ladies.
I dont think CoP is perfect as a system, but I certainly feel it's WAY better than 6.0 was.
I think part of this could be addressed if the PCS marks were more strictly interpreted according to the rules. There are supposed to be separate marks for things like choreography, interpretation, timing, musicality, transitions etc - but all too often these marks become subsumed into general marks of 8's or 9's across the board - regardless of what the program looked like.
I think judges need to be re-educated to give each PCS mark in isolation based on how the program fit the criteria in that category - not bunch the marks together like they couldnt be bothered to differentiate them.
Once some top couples started getting 4s and 5s in some of those areas - which IMO is what they deserve - I think coaches would start addressing some of the problems you listed. They might even think of calling in outside help and hiring an actual choreographer.
One name : Ivana Reitmayerova.
I loved her programs in 2009, she tried her best and seemed happy with it. So did I. Ivana Reitmayerova 2009 Worlds LP
IJS has been made for that, too. GOE might be used for quality. But it's not. You will rarely see a 3Sal with +3 if 3Sal is the most difficult triple in the program.
Anyway, it's very difficult, since you will always have skaters to say : "I tried harder, and I'm not 1st..."
I think the two goals will end up being mutually exclusive, especially outside of say the top 10-15 at worlds. Outside of the very top of the field, skaters will battle with elements that aren't 100% in practice, and they will do it in order to rack up points, they will painfully wobble round two Bielmann rotations in a spin just to get the extra bullet. They will put elements that have just started being sucessful in practice in order to give them competition mileage. If they were constantly concerned with the clean or aesthetically pleasing programme, they would never risk developing the elements they do in practice.
The only way to make both goals work together would be to use the GOE correctly on spin and step elements (I think they are used pretty well in jumps) or change the system on spin and step elements so that the GOE penalties for doing hard spins slowly and travelling will always net you less points than doing a fast and easier spin which is centred.
The trouble is, that to strike the balance between the technical and the aesthetically pleasing will require more subjectivity which seemingly a lot of people do not like. I don't think there's an easy fix.
Arguably though, if the hardest jump a skater has is a triple salchow, then they are unlikely to be performing that jump so well that it merits a +3, if they were performing the jump with a difficult entry, very high or arm over head, with incredible flow out of the jump and transition to follow, they would likely have the skills to perform harder triples too.
Looking at the youtube link there is very little about her jump that would make think of giving her anything other than 0 or +1 maybe on the basis that the flow throughout the jump seemed good (but not exceptional) and it looked like quite high while she was in the air.
ETA: in the protocol she got two +2s, two +1s and the rest 0 and got 0.8 boost to the jump http://www.isuresults.com/results/wc2009/wc09_Ladies_FS_Scores.pdf
I think it has hurt pairs more than any other discipline. As others have said, death spirals have become hideous, but what's more, the ladies no longer have to demonstrate nearly the same core strength as they did before. When the guy changes arms and pivot positions, she ends up twisted to the side and no longer has to maintain the arch. And the catchfoot positions in lifts, ugh! And I really hate seeing every team do two lasso lifts because group 5 have the highest base value; I'd like the rules to state only one lift from each group is permitted. I miss the days when a second death spiral was permitted, because a great death spiral is a thing of absolute beauty.
I also think that three-jump combinations are stupid in both singles and pairs at the senior level; an extra double toe loop should not be a differentiating factor above the novice level.
Does anyone else remember Kavarikova&Novitsky's (i think 95 worlds) LP where they had an (albeit short) clockwise rotating death spiral in the programme and then later on they had a much longer anti-clockwise rotating death sprial
The other death sprial peeve I've ranted about previously is people getting credit for the "difficult" shoot the duck entrances to the death sprial. Why that can garner extra points is beyond me when it is inifintely harder to go down into a death sprial from a classive entrance, than already being at ice level in a shoot the duck
Steps have changed from taking all of 5 seconds to 55 seconds but at least there is more meat and change in direction now. Unfortunately the musicality of steps have gone from an average of about 70% to about 25%. There's only one Lambiel and one Takahashi.
I like the current requirements on spirals: still have to hold them, but no more focus on ugly catch foots and much more focus on speed, edge quality, coverage and positions.
Spins have become bigger and more difficult, but I don't think overall speed and quality has increased mostly because everyone is too focused on levels. IMO GOE on spins still mean too little compared to jumps. HATE Biellmanns. HATE most sit spin variations. I miss an effective simple layback or scratch spin. And, if there are only 3 spins compared to 7/8 jumping passes, each spin should be worth more.
Focus on edge changes and under-rotations of jumps is a great thing, so is downplaying the value of difficult combos. Again, GOEs mean too little compared to base values of the jumps IMO.
PCS is a great way of analysing / judging skating qualities. Theoretically judges can send signals to skaters for them to work on certain areas. The judges just need to apply them better (e.g. not within the corridor, based on reputation, or marking transitions that aren't there).
The great thing about an accumulative math system is you can work it. You can plan all your jumps and spins and steps to the highest difficulty to compensate for weaker PCS, for example. Whereas before, there are only 2 marks that sum up technical merit and presentation and it's hard to know if the effort made had been duly rewarded.