I'll start this with a run down of the senior SD
This and the following couple posts were made in the Nebelhorn thread. I thought the subject might be of interest in general, so I copied it to the Edge, and am using the posts to start a new thread.

Now that we've seen quite a few SD's, what are your thoughts?:

A perusal of the senior SD description in the ISU documentation shows that teams need to pay close attention to the following sections of the Golden Waltz,
because performing each of these step sequencess correctly, according to the guidelines, gives you one level:

Here's the link to the ISU Communication 1621, which contains the Short Dance guidelines:

The levels in the first section of the GW are based on:
1. Man's and Lady's steps 1 -4 (walk around three turns)
2. Man's step 15, cross behind followed by left forward inside edge, open Mohawk
3. Lady's step 15, cross behind followed by a left forward inside edge into a bracket
4. Lady's step 21, the Shoot the Duck and left forward outside three turn, ending with front coupees. The lady must have both her skating leg thigh and free leg "at least" parallel to the ice, straight and extended forward.

The levels in Section 2 of the GW are based on:

1. Man's steps 26a-2c, the part that includes the man doing a pivot and a spread eagle.
2. Lady's steps 30b (the twizzles & the layback position)
3. Both man & lady, steps 34-35, with the swing open Choctaw
4. Both man & lady, steps 39-40, which includes a left front inside Open Choctaw.

The requirements are very picky in the second section, generally about exactly prescribing the position in the layback & foot placement in the Choctaws. They also require you to hit the edges required, which I don't think is picky, but isn't necessarily easy.

They are also picky in the first section (which teams did better on at Nebelhorn), particularly where the lady has to have both her thigh and leg parallel (not just almost parallel, as in previous year's decriptions) to the ice in the shoot the duck step (step 21), so getting level 4 there is not a gimme.

I tried rewatching V&M's, F&S's, P&B's, and D&W's GW from Worlds last year, but the camera work was so bad, it was really hard to tell how their levels should be placed using this year's criteria.

I think teams need to pick the GW part of their music very, very carefully, so that it helps them as much as possible.

Getting level 4 in both segments gives you 14 points in base value. 6 points for the first section, 8 points for the second section.

Level 1 in the second section is only 3.5, Level2 is the lowest seen so far on the first section, and that's 4.0. So you are conceivably looking at 6.5 points difference there for the GW segments, if a team is not careful & accurate with them

That said, it's a compulsory dance. All the senior teams should be able to perform it correctly, so I am not in the least offended that highly ranked teams are getting dinged for doing it wrong. And it is consistent with COP that technical level is dependent on did you do the the thing correctly, and GOE is did you do it well? They are not the same things.

Here's Natalie's & Fabian's SD from Nebelhorn. They did section2 prior to section 1. (Section 2 is the section that they were given only a Level 1 for)

While it is easy to spot the 1st section (about 1:35 to 2:12) the second section is not as clear. And I expect for sure they got dinged for the Lady's twizzle/layback step. Natalie kind of jumped her twizzles, and the layback wasn't all that stable. Perhaps Fabian's toe pick didn't pick in properly in the spread eagle step. It's hard for me to tell, because the view is partially obstructed. However, I'm not spotting anything all that wrong with either of the choctaw steps, so I can't tell you why they got level 1 rather than level2.

As to GOE, that applies to all the steps, not just the 8 sections included for tech level.

Zhiganshina & Gaszi (GER) got level 4's for both GW sequences in their Cirque du Soleil SD

This shows that you can do a dance technically correctly without doing it well enough to score huge GOE in the current COP SD format.