I can't say I've been thrilled with the grading of this year's Junior SD's so far. Of course, I can't say I've been super thrilled with any of the SDs either.
In the interests of trying to understand the judging for the Junior SD this year, I thought I'd write up what I found out about them, with examples, and solicit everybody's comments on what you've seen so far. The ISU has thoughtfully posted every Junior SD on youtube on the ISUJGP2011 channel, so if you haven't watched them as they occurred, you can see them all.
I'm hoping that some really knowledgeable people will be moved to chime in.
The Blues was invented by Robert Dench and Lesley Turner, and was first performed in London, Streatham Ice Rink, 1934.
The music chosen by a team must conform to the blues requirements, which are: Music - Blues 4/4 Tempo - 22 measures of 4 beats per minute - 88 beats per minute
The Steps 5-7 of the blues must be executed correctly by both the Man and the Lady for the first key point.
These steps are: a Right Back Outside Edge, a Left Forward Outside Edge, a deep Cross Roll to a Right Forward Outside Edge, followed by a Swing Roll.
4 of the key points are Closed Choctaws, 2 executed by the man, and 2 executed by the lady in steps 12 & 13 of each of the two Blues Sequences. Key point two is the Lady's choctaw, Key Point 3 is the Man's Choctaw.Step 5 is a strong 4 beat backward outside edge for both partners with the free leg extended in front and brought back to the skating foot just before they step forward for step 6. It should be noted that this step commences on the third beat of the measure. Step 7 is a deep cross roll on which the free leg swings forward then returns besides the skating foot for the next step.
For both, they start from a Left Forward Inside, do a Closed Choctaw, and exit on a Right Back Outside Edge, which takes 2 beats.
A youtube poster has kindly posted Torvill & Dean's Blues CD from the 1994 Olympics with the steps written in, more or less as they are done. (They placed 3rd in this dance there). Watch the dance with full screen turned on to see the step labels.Steps 12 and 13 form a closed choctaw and both edges should have the same curvature. The free leg should be held back and brought to the heel of the skating foot just in time for the turn. The choctaw is turned neatly with the new skating foot taking the ice directly under the centre of gravity.
Torvill & Dean had not done Compulsory Dances for ten years before they decided to come back to amateur skating for the 1994 Olympics. The stillness and closeness of their upper bodies, and their timing are still wonderful, but the steps are not quite as crisp as they would have been 10 years previously.
Grishuk & Platov placed first in the CD at the 1994 Olympics. Unfortunately, there are no step labels on this video, but there is a very nice slow motion replay:
Usova & Zhulin placed second at the same event:
The same poster who posted the Torvill & Dean video also posted a video of Virtue and Moir skating the Blues compulsory dance in the World Junior Championships 2005, also with labels for the steps, showing what a good junior couple can do with the dance:
With luck, at this point, you should be able to spot the key points as they come up. We'll now move ahead to this year's junior couples.
Here's the rules for evaluating the key points:
Technical Handbook for Pattern Dances
The four Closed choctaws are to be done this way:
The requirements are correct edges (that is, that the step should land on the correct edge, and not land on the flat and roll over onto the edge, or just be on the wrong edge. The edge must be held for the whole duration of the step. The Choctaw must be executed correctly, and the placement of the free foot is quite fussy.A Choctaw in which the instep of the free foot is brought to the heel of the skating foot until the free foot is placed on the ice behind the heel of the skating foot. Following the weight transfer the immediate position of the new free foot is in front of the new skating foot (example: Steps 12 and 13 of the Blues) Rule 604, § 13.b).
Zenkova & Sinitsin received credit for all 3 key points in their first blues sequence at Courchevel JGP. Their dance begins with the Blues as their first element.
This year the rules have changed. All the steps comprising a key point must be on the right beat of the music, and must be held for the correct number of beats.
A sad example is the program of Poulin and Servant, who did not receive credit for any of their key points for their SD to "Mars vs Venus by Usher; Without You by David Guetta ft. Usher" because every one received a T, signifying the step was done correctly, but the timing was all wrong.
Because the beat is not particularly clear in their music, it is difficult for the judges to evaluate, and, yes, for the skaters to hold the steps for the required number of beats, and for the technical panel to be sure they have done so.
In the Technical Handbook for the Pattern Dance, the following questions are asked:
Unfortunately, audio replay is not available at this time, so it is almost impossible to challenge a Timing call on a key point.Question: The definition of “Closed Mohawk/Choctaw” reads that “the free foot is placed on the ice behind the heel of the skating foot”. How strict does the Technical Panel have to be on this requirement?
Answer: The Technical Panel can consider this requirement is met if the foot is placed on the ice anywhere between the instep and the toe.The feet do not have to be touching, but should be as close as possible.
When the document says the turn must be Correct, it means not only that the edges must be clean and correct, but that the turn must not be jumped or scraped.
Additionally credit is not given for a key point if it is not executed on the correct beats or is not held for the correct number of beats. If the step is done correctly, but the timing is wrong, the key point will show as T in the protocol. If the key point is not done correctly, whether the timing is correct or not, it will show as N in the protocol. If the key point is correct, with correct timing, a Y will be shown.
When the key points are executed simultaneously, as all 3 are in this dance, the lady's steps are called by the Technical Specialist and the Man's Steps are called by the Assistant Technical Specialist.
Key Point for both man and lady: called by the Technical Specialist. The Technical Panel may be organized so the Assistant Technical Specialist has the duty to double check one of the partners and the Technical Controller has the duty to double check the other partner.
At Courchevel, 5 couples did not get any credit for any of the key points.
Two couples got credit for only one key point.
Five couples, including Cizeron & Papadakis, Edwards & Pang, the Hasegawas, and Korotitskaia & Spiridov received credit for two key points.
One couple, Evdokimova & Bazin , coached by Coach Sudakov, earned credit for four key points.
Finally, Zenkova & Sinitsin, coached by Alexander Zhulin, received credit for five key points
At Lake Placid, two couples, including Poulin & Servant did not get credit for any key points.
Four couples, including Aldridge & Eaton and Bruser & Lum, received credit for only one key point.
Two couples, including Morozova & Zhirnov, earned credit for two key points.
One couple, Yermak & Khimich of URK, coached by Angelika Krylova, earned credit for four key points.
One couple, Pogrebinsky & Gudis coached atWheaton Academy, received credit for five key points.
and Kosigina & Moroshkin, coached by Gorshkov & Shpilband, received credit for all six key points.
One problem that I haven't yet seen (although Poulin & Servant skated perilously close to it) is the music violation for having the wrong tempo:
If a music violation is called:
This requires a two point deduction. The responsibility for this deduction is decided as follows:Question: A couple performs one Section/Sequence on a different Rhythm than the specified one. How should Judges consider this situation?
Answer: If during part or whole of one or several Sections/Sequences the Rhythm is different from the specified one, Judges and Referee will press the deduction button for violation of music
The tempo is checked by the Referee.Referee together with the Judges Panel decides on violations of music requirements. The corresponding deductions are applied according to the opinion of the majority of the Panel which includes all the Judges and the Referee and no deduction in case of a 50:50 split vote). The Judges and Referee will press a button on their screen to apply the above mentioned deductions
The referee may impose a one point deduction.From the first Step of the Pattern Dance, the Referee will time the duration of the number of beats necessary to perform the Pattern Dance. In case of doubt, the Referee will check his
findings with video replay, using the duration of one or several Sequence(s). The Referee will also take into consideration whether the Tempo was constant throughout Pattern Dance and,
when necessary, will apply the deduction for Tempo.
I can't help but feel that Pechalat & Bourzat may be opening themselves up to tempo deductions, if their SD music choices are actually what they have currently announced, for example.
But back to the Juniors, do you feel that the calls have mostly been correct so far?
I have found some of them puzzling.