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


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;
  • 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

Here's a program with 3.32 Skating Skills
Natalia JANCOSEK / Petr SEKNICKA of Slovakia
17th at JGP Tailin in the FD

Here's a program with 4.64 Skating Skills:
Kalisak & Kalisak of Poland
10th at JGP Tailinn in the FD

Here's a program with 5.43 Skating Skills
Kaitlin HAWAYEK & Michael BRAMANTE of USA
8th at JGP Tailinn in the FD

================================================== ======
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

Victoria Sinitsina & Ruslan Zhiganshin of Russia, Skating Skills 7.61
1st in the FD at the JGPF

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
B&S {Faust] 8.04
W&P [Je suis malade] 8.32
P&B [The Pharoah & his Mummy] 8.79
D&W [Die Fledermaus] 9.57
V&M [Funny Face] 9.61

So where would you place the Shibutani's?