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Thread: Why is it so hard to break the level 4 mark of step sequence?

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    it's olympic season :D bethissoawesome's Avatar
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    Why is it so hard to break the level 4 mark of step sequence?

    Especially for ladies, why is it so hard to break into the level 4 mark for the step sequence? I remember Mao Asada's step sequence for her SP for 2008 Worlds was absolutely breath-taking (in my opinion), but still a 3. You see many 4s in spins and spiral sequences, but never step sequences. Any opinions?

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    Custom Title antmanb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bethissoawesome View Post
    Especially for ladies, why is it so hard to break into the level 4 mark for the step sequence? I remember Mao Asada's step sequence for her SP for 2008 Worlds was absolutely breath-taking (in my opinion), but still a 3. You see many 4s in spins and spiral sequences, but never step sequences. Any opinions?
    I'm guessing and being flippant because i can't be bothered to look at the exact wording of the what is required for level 4 step sequences but to paraphrase i think to get a level four you more or less need to constantly make spastic movements with your entire upper body, arms and head for the majority of the step sequence. While this does make it fiendishly difficult (and virtually impossible) it also makes for extremely ugly step sequences, which, let's face it should be judged by what's going on below the ankle.

    Just because it is more difficult to execute step sequences while your upper body appears to be suffering from fits, it doesn't mean we should be subjected to it. (tongue firmly in cheek)

    What would up the difficulty for the skaters is if the audience were to throw things at them while they performed...maybe that could be the new level 5?

    Ant

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    Custom Title demarinis5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antmanb View Post
    I'm guessing and being flippant because i can't be bothered to look at the exact wording of the what is required for level 4 step sequences but to paraphrase i think to get a level four you more or less need to constantly make spastic movements with your entire upper body, arms and head for the majority of the step sequence. While this does make it fiendishly difficult (and virtually impossible) it also makes for extremely ugly step sequences, which, let's face it should be judged by what's going on below the ankle.

    Just because it is more difficult to execute step sequences while your upper body appears to be suffering from fits, it doesn't mean we should be subjected to it. (tongue firmly in cheek)

    What would up the difficulty for the skaters is if the audience were to throw things at them while they performed...maybe that could be the new level 5?

    Ant

    That would be my explanation of Level 4 Footwork. Well said.

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    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    I think it is because of all the requirements. Pretty much every turn in the book has to be done and on both feet. This a very good use of the upper body as well as decent speed is tough. even when it is done, it is tough for the judges to make note of all the steps and turns, so even if a level 4 was completed, the judges/technical caller (not sure who marks the level of the sequence) might miss something and call it a level 3.

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    L'art pour l'art Medusa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antmanb View Post
    While this does make it fiendishly difficult (and virtually impossible) it also makes for extremely ugly step sequences, which, let's face it should be judged by what's going on below the ankle.
    I don't think that the step sequences that were awarded with Level 4 are particularly ugly. Don't get me wrong - I don't think that these Step Sequences rules are the best and there are lots of unattractive step sequences out there.

    There were several skaters with Level 4 last season
    • Verner at NHK both CiSt and SlSt in the SP, SlSt in the SP at Europeans
    • Takahashi at 4CC the CiSt in SP
    • Lysacek SlSt in the LP at GPF
    • Buttle CiSt in the SP at 4CC
    • Kostner SlSt in the LP at NHK


    I loved Verner's in his SP, Takahashi's were great, Lysacek got level 4 at GPF because he really powered through that sequence and I thought it was amazing to watch, Buttle is known for his great choreography and attention to the details. What's not to like about these step sequences?

    Perhaps the attempts to get Level 4 can look ugly - but the ones that really got Level 4 were in the character of the program (IMO) and really awesome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinymavy15 View Post
    I think it is because of all the requirements. Pretty much every turn in the book has to be done and on both feet.
    Yes, and with rotations in both direction, quick changes from steps to turns and/or vice versa, and full upper body movement. A lot of requirements.

    This a very good use of the upper body as well as decent speed is tough.
    The speed would be covered in the GOE, though -- if the skater has to do all of that slowly to make sure it's all accomplished, they could still earn the coveted level 4. Of course, if they end up with negative GOE that could make it worth less than a simpler sequence done better.

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    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    According to one of the tech people I know well, the tech team "splits up" calling footwork features - so for example the TC starts with variety of steps and turns, the TS goes with rotations and upper body usage, and the ATS goes with quick changes of direction so that one person isn't trying to call the footwork from a feature standpoint.

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    Custom Title antmanb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    I don't think that the step sequences that were awarded with Level 4 are particularly ugly. Don't get me wrong - I don't think that these Step Sequences rules are the best and there are lots of unattractive step sequences out there.

    There were several skaters with Level 4 last season
    • Verner at NHK both CiSt and SlSt in the SP, SlSt in the SP at Europeans
    • Takahashi at 4CC the CiSt in SP
    • Lysacek SlSt in the LP at GPF
    • Buttle CiSt in the SP at 4CC
    • Kostner SlSt in the LP at NHK


    I loved Verner's in his SP, Takahashi's were great, Lysacek got level 4 at GPF because he really powered through that sequence and I thought it was amazing to watch, Buttle is known for his great choreography and attention to the details. What's not to like about these step sequences?

    Perhaps the attempts to get Level 4 can look ugly - but the ones that really got Level 4 were in the character of the program (IMO) and really awesome.
    I was purposefully being facetious when i replied, however, i do praise the fact that COP has brought to the fore the importance of step sequences. And while i do appreciate the fact that skaters have to spend more time training the step sequences and executing turns and loops which hadn't been seen for a while, i'm not sure i fully agree with the upper body movement requirements for the levels. Furthermore i absolutely hate the fact that the straightline step sequence has become a mini sperpentine just so that turns are called correctly and the fact that all pairs split far away from each other to do half of the "straightline" step sequence in (usually badly performed) mirror image.

    I think the points for the step sequence should be recalculate so that the step sequence where more ice is covered is given more points, so serpentine would be the highest scoring, followed by circular and finally straightline. Did there not used to be penalities for a straightline step sequence not being "straight" (similar to the circular step sequence needing to be circular and closed)? I think that should come back in. If the skaters wish to obviously execute turns that require lobes to show off the edges then let them execute the more difficult serpentine step sequence.

    Equally i realise that if this happened then it would probably mean the death the of the straightline step sequence just like the serpentine has been killed off. Maybe rotating the allocation of points on a year by year basis would not be so bad.

    Ant

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    I would say, it is all about the right and left directions in figure skating. I consider that to be called Technique - a description not used much in figure skating but very much used in other forms of Dance.

    Much of the step sequences that I see are all in the favored direction of the skater with a cursory attempt to the less favored direction, and not always a repeat of the original step sequence. It's not easy but understandable since figure skating is not taught to "dance" in both directions.

    The above may not be what all Level 4 is about but it certainly shows difficulty.

  10. #10
    Custom Title antmanb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    I would say, it is all about the right and left directions in figure skating. I consider that to be called Technique - a description not used much in figure skating but very much used in other forms of Dance.

    Much of the step sequences that I see are all in the favored direction of the skater with a cursory attempt to the less favored direction, and not always a repeat of the original step sequence. It's not easy but understandable since figure skating is not taught to "dance" in both directions.

    The above may not be what all Level 4 is about but it certainly shows difficulty.
    I'd have to disagree with you Joe. The comment from all coaches that i heard (certainly here in the UK) is that now you have to do steps and turns in both directions in order to score well. I think the level features for step sequences in particular include requirements with regards to exeuction of turns in both directions from the get go.

    Also if you take a look at the requirements for moves in the field tests, all of them require the skater to show the skill in both directions and forwards and backwards.

    The set dances in ice dance all go around the rink in an anti-clockwise direction, however within that direction the turns and steps go in both directions.

    Ant

  11. #11
    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Ant is correct and I was going to say almost the exact same thing. AND for the Moves in the Field tests, the requirement (at least at Intermediate and higher) is that those two sides be almost equal in quality. Also, the skating skills mark was intended to include both directions (CW and CCW) and fwd and bkwd skating.

  12. #12
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    I agree with both of you about the Rules, but as the rules go, i would have to see the skaters actually working both sides of the directions throughout their sequences. And not just a moment to show a little of the non-favored side.

    The 'flow' of dance (not speaking of Skate Dance) goes from left to right and right to left throughout the choreography. That's obvious in dance performances in the theatre.

    The Rule for Level 4 is correct, and I shall definitely watch to see how much that is carried out by top skaters.

    Oh, so much to look for in a competitive routine.

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    Custom Title rosee's Avatar
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    IIRC, in Manleywoman Skatecast, Oleg Vasiliev while talking about his role in the Technical Committees was saying that they had hard time fixing real rules for Step Sequences because it's not something you can really describe...

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