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Thread: Ice Dancing PCS Rules 2011-2012

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Ice Dancing PCS Rules 2011-2012

    After reading all the different comments in the FD and SD threads for GPF, and also the thread where Maxim Trankov, long time pairs competitor, has trouble understanding his score, I thought it would be interesting to see whether I could put together a thread that would help all of us get a better feel for the scoring system, at least for Ice Dance. Even Scott Moir is slightly misinformed: nothing in PCS grades who is the best artist-the words artistry, and artistic are not mentioned (although some of the graded characteristics are also characteristics of artistry, some are not, and the word "artistic" is used to help define the word finesse).

    I'm sorry to say, that I really don't follow the singles with the same fervor that I save for Ice Dance, so I'm going to do Ice Dance Rules. I hope some one of the singles' experts here will do the same for singles.

    The recent Grand Prix Final was a superb chance to compare how a single panel of judges and a single tech panel graded both juniors and seniors, so that a larger range of scores can be examined. Furthermore, all the competitors' programs are on youtube.

    So here we go. I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to chime in, because I'm just a fan, not a real expert. However, I would like to assume that the judges are experts!

    It's Not Yer Father's Artistic Mark Any More: PCS in Ice Dance.

    There are five categories. The first, and perhaps most important, is Skating Skills. People complain that all 5 program components are indexed off skating skills, and that skating skills is overwhelmingly measured by speed, power, and acceleration, even though the description of Skating Skills includes a lot more than just "Power/energy and acceleration". As an armchair judge, you are hampered in judging speed. However, if you concentrate a bit on how much the advertisements on the boards are blurring, when the skaters are skating straight down the ice and not at an angle to the boards, you will be able to make a decent guess about which teams are the fastest.

    Skating Skills, and the other PCS components are judged by the judges after they have viewed the entire program.

    Furthermore, you should remember that during the program, the judges have had to be concentrated more on the elements than anything else, because that is what they have been grading.

    Here's what's included in Skating Skills:



    Skating Skills, source Rule 611 b, i, ISU Communication 1677

    Definition:

    Overall Skating quality: edge control and flow over the ice surface demonstrated by a command of the skating
    vocabulary (edges, steps, turns etc.), the clarity of technique and the use of effortless power to accelerate and
    vary speed;
    Criteria:
    • Balance, rhythmic knee action and precision of foot placement
    • Flow and effortless glide [V&M's strongest point]
    • Cleanness and sureness of deep edges, steps and turns
    • Power/energy and acceleration [D&W's strongest point]
    • Mastery of multi-directional skating
    • Mastery of one foot skating
    • Equal mastery of technique by both partners shown in unison
    To qualify for Skating Skills between 9.0 and 10.0 [OUTSTANDING] as both D&W and V&M did, you need

    • deep, quiet, sure, seemingly effortless edges
    • deep/fluid knee action
    • elegant and precise steps/turns
    • seamless use of all directions
    • effortless acceleration
    • extensive skill range for both

    The Shibutanis fell near to this range.

    To qualify for Skating Skills between 7.0 and 7.75 [VERY GOOD], you need
    • strong, sure, confident edges
    • strong, flexible knee action
    • polished & clean steps/turns
    • very good use of multi directions
    • ability to accelerate easily
    • wide skill range 75% of time for both

    This is the range that Zhulin seems to have claimed the Shibutanis deserved.

    To qualify for Skating Skills between 4.0 and 4.75 [AVERAGE], you need:
    • shallow edges with variable edge quality and knee action
    • average range of steps/turns, multidirectional 50% of time
    • skill level similar abilities
    • consistent speed and flow 50% of time

    To appreciate what "Skating Skills" actually grades, I thought it might be interesting to dig up some examples of teams that did not make the JGPF or the GPF. I included only one extra competition (Tailinn), so that it would minimize the number of judge panels involved.

    Here's a program with 2.61 Skating Skills
    Hanno Tammo & Geido Kapp of Estonia
    21st at JGP Tailinn in the FD
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kp6MsCXF-m8

    Here's a program with 3.32 Skating Skills
    Natalia JANCOSEK / Petr SEKNICKA of Slovakia
    17th at JGP Tailin in the FD
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=it3kPaXmChI

    Here's a program with 4.64 Skating Skills:
    Kalisak & Kalisak of Poland
    10th at JGP Tailinn in the FD
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDkpjoayHXk

    Here's a program with 5.43 Skating Skills
    Kaitlin HAWAYEK & Michael BRAMANTE of USA
    8th at JGP Tailinn in the FD
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VogSPyM6wU

    ================================================== ======
    The following teams were at the JGPF. The Panel of judges is exactly the same as the panel of judges for the Senior GPF
    Anastasi Galyeta & Alexei Shumski of Ukraine, Skating Skills 6.18
    5th in the FD at the JGPF
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPO9jOHLTts

    Victoria Sinitsina & Ruslan Zhiganshin of Russia, Skating Skills 7.61
    1st in the FD at the JGPF
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96WOkIQTmdA

    Now here are the Senior Grand Prix teams' free dances, arranged in increasing order of their skating skills:
    Please watch them as if you are only comparing skating skills. You might even try turning off the sound, since skating skills does not include any references to the music.

    S&S [Sun Valley Serenade soundtrack] 7.93
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taTL0BGnFos
    B&S {Faust] 8.04
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B2QopWoSdA
    W&P [Je suis malade] 8.32
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DW_2GiYw3V4
    P&B [The Pharoah & his Mummy] 8.79
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M69Rhf7DsFA
    D&W [Die Fledermaus] 9.57
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sj2k6cfD-cc
    V&M [Funny Face] 9.61
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJXhEkhO1NU

    So where would you place the Shibutani's?

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    Rooting for the divas with Kwanford Spun Silver's Avatar
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    Taking a step back - Doris, why are you giving so much attention to Zhulin's opinion as the Shibs didn't in fact get such low marks? Do you think his influence could cause them to get dumped by the judges in the future?

    But as always, thank you for your valiant efforts to build up an educated audience (and group of posters) for ice dance! You deserve an award!

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    Thanks once again Doris for your diligent, comprehensive and sober work to educate us about ice dance. It's invaluable.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    TRANSITIONS AND LINKING MOVEMENTS

    You know those things the judges were kind of not looking at while grading the elements? Well now they are supposed to give a grade for them.

    In ice dance, Transitions & Linking Movements are the highest weighted PCS component, with a weight of 1.75. Skating Skills are weighted at 1.25, and the other 3 components are weighted at 1.0, so Transitions is a really big deal for dancers.


    Transitions and Linking Movements Source Rule 611 b, ISU Communication 1677
    Definition:
    The varied and or intricate footwork, positions, movements and holds that link all elements and constitute the
    distinct technical content of the dance;

    Criteria:
    • Variety
    • Difficulty
    • Intricacy
    • Quality
    • Balance of workload between partners
    Variety of holds (not excessive side by side and hand in hand)
    To qualify for a Transitions & Linking Movements mark between 9.00 and 10.00 [OUTSTANDING]
    • difficult, intriguing, varied network of edges, steps, turns, holds for both
    • one move flows seamlessly into the next
    • creative pattern and lobes
    • creative linking of Pattern Dance Elements and rest of the dance (SD): 100%

    To qualify for a Transitions and linking steps mark of between 7.0 and 7.5 [VERY GOOD]
    • variety and complexity of pattern/steps/turns/holds for both
    • fluid and intentional movements from one move to another
    • varied use of holds with face to face positions
    • creative linking of Pattern Dance Elements and rest of the dance (SD): 100%


    To qualify for a Transitions & Linking Movements mark between 4.0 and 4.75 [AVERAGE]

    • an equal proportion of simplicity and difficulty
    • one partner has some sections with simple workload
    • varied use of holds with several face to face positions
    • creative linking of Pattern Dance Elements and rest of the dance (SD): 50%

    Note that the Transitions and Linking Footwork we are discussing is not what the skaters could do, but what they actually did do, on the day.

    In fact, this was the PCS category where D&W did the best. The teams finish in the same order, as they did for skating skills, other than reversing the order of V&M and D&W. Note that a waltz fits more comfortably into the requirements for transitions and linking steps than a tap dance-staccato steps with the partners not in hold at all do not count much for transitions, however, difficult they are, at least if the judges follow the rules. Face to face holds with long gliding edges are preferred, apparently.

    Note that the Shibutani's transition & linking movements score is significantly lower than their skating skills mark. The judges obviously found their program to be rather lacking in transitions.


    And here's the grading of Transitions & Linking Footwork at the GPF:


    6 S&S Sun Valley Serenade 7.68
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taTL0BGnFos
    5 B&S Faust 7.86
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B2QopWoSdA
    4 W&P Je suis Malade 8.14
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DW_2GiYw3V4
    3 P&B The Pharoah and His Mummy 8.54
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M69Rhf7DsFA
    2 V&M Funny Face 9.36
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJXhEkhO1NU
    1 D&W Die Fledermaus 9.50
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sj2k6cfD-cc

    And here's some transitions grades from the JGPF
    Galyeta & Shumski had the lowest. (5.82)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPO9jOHLTts

    Sinitsina & Zhiganshin had the highest. (7.25)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96WOkIQTmdA

    Again, I suggest watching with the sound turned off. Watch for hand to hand skating, separations, posing sections where the skaters are performing but not skating, areas where the skaters are running around on flat edges. All the time they spend doing that does not significantly build their transition score.

    As in singles, although it is not as explicit as I would wish, watch for interesting movements that lead into and out of elements. Those will perhaps influence the transition score positively.

    The effect should be to weave the elements together with the non element transitions into a seamless whole.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    I'm focusing on the Shibutanis because they have received severe criticism from some experts, but also significant praise from others.

    The rest of the arguing is whether D&W and V&M should be ahead. The judges don't seem to agree, so the argument devolves into skating's version of the "Great Taste" "Less Filling" beer commercial.

    I think it leaves fans not very informed. It's like getting into an argument about which way is "up" or "down" on a flat road.

    There is some room for actually applying the rules in the case of the Shibs, rather than avoiding applying the rules, as in the case of Plush & transitions or Evan and his skiddy axel, or just not knowing what to do, like the judges and D&W and V&M (IMO, because both teams are magnificent in different ways).

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    I just notice at least one thing, however minor, D/W out twizzle everyone. Their speed is amazing.

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    Wow, this is awesome!!! Thanks Dorispulaski for providing us with this information. It's extremely helpful!

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    Since I first saw the video from Finlandia, Funny Face has come across as lacking in difficulty. For me, there's too much posing, side by side choreography. V/M fans endlessly argue that they just make it look too easy, that it is a very difficult program. Can someone with more of a clue than me, comment?

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    I think the complaints about the program lacking difficulty should be taken with a grain of salt and should be examined in context. Objectively, the program is far more difficult than any on the circuit this season except D/W's. It has very good speed, variety of tempo and rhythm, difficult (if somewhat awkwardly performed) lifts and good transitions. However when you compare it to both D/W's program and what the rules explicitly ask for, then there is room for just enough nitpicking to make a difference Relative to D/W, V/M have more stops, rests and posing sections. IMO, this should definitely affect their transitions mark and possibly their SS and CH marks. For a team of their caliber, there should be more continuous movement even in the rests and posing sections. On the other hand, D/W's program is a more natural fit for the current set of rules. It flows effortlessly. That is not to say that V/M can't pull ahead with a few well thought out tweaks to the areas I mentioned. If I know them, they will spend the next couple of weeks addressing those concerns and show up at nationals ready to take on the world. 4CC and Worlds will be tons of fun to watch.

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    idk I think the stops help with the characterization of Funny Face. Their FDs are very different so you can't really compare. One is music-driven while the other is character-driven.

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    ^Yes but that is where people can muddy the waters when it comes to evaluating programs. Characterization is great and I agree that the pauses do aid the creation of an effective mood. But that is a separate thing entirely from the difficulty of the program. It's part of why I get so irritated at times when fans go on and on about the fantastic eye contact and connection V/M have. Yes it's true it exists and that it is superior to other teams, but ice dancers don't skate with their eyes or longing glances. Fans are too often willing to equate effective communication of mood with difficulty. As Doris pointed out at the beginning of the thread, the idea of so called artistry is a hold-over from 6.0. The word carries great emotional weight with fans and it neatly wraps up a particular concept of skating into one word. But the truth is, it no longer applies in the same sense to skating. Like it or not, but it is true. PCS now assesses distinct categories which all aim to see how any such design of a program works to actually enhance the skating itself as a primary goal. Mood, character, etc. are really secondary unless the skating itself is good. I'm not saying V/M's skating is not good. It's superb. It's just that I believe the system calls for more of it from them, rather than more posing.

    BTW, I'll bet you that even though the rules may not assess a specific penalty for the amount of posing, the judges are likely still timing every pause in each program to help in grading PCS.

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    There are pauses too in D/W's FD, but the music doesn't stop so it kind of hides it. OTOH, V/M's pauses in the program coincides with the change of music which definitely highlights the pauses in FF. I think this is why Marina said that FF has the more complicated choreography. They need to work on the pauses to make it flow better.

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    Thanks for the class in Skating Rules 101, Doris! I still don't think I'll be able to follow the judges' reasoning, but now I know how to apply the rules they use.

    It makes me realize how hard it is to be a judge these days. You can't just decide you like something. You really have to look at every iota of the program. And what does this say about the demands of being a choreographer!

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    I think the pauses in D/W's FD are never full stops (please correct me if I'm wrong) and they get right back into the flow of skating. V/M stop, pose, usually do some sort of movement while standing still and then get back in to skating.

    Thank you for the explanations. I think that losing the FD and GPF could be the best thing for V/M as it will force them to reevaluate their programs. They are good imo, but could be great. (I'm particularly referring to the FD, I think everyone's SD is a lost cause.)

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    So I only looked at the programs for skating skills. I would say that the Shibs should have been ahead of B/S and closer to W/P. When you turn off the music and just look at their blades, it's quite the revelation. I feel that B/S's dramatic music in a way actually covers up their relatively shallow edges.

    That said, I am impressed with the improvements of both W/P and P/B. I know it's been a long road for the both of them, but I was impressed with how much they both have grown technically over the years. I really think those two will vie for bronze this year. Just looking at their edge quality, it was cool to see how much effort they've put in just that area alone.

    And the Shibs definitely do not deserve 4s, at least in skating quality. I would say they should have been in the low 8s at least.

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