The Blues Pattern Dance & 2012-13 Rules | Golden Skate

The Blues Pattern Dance & 2012-13 Rules


Wicked Yankee Girl
Jul 26, 2003
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.

Moving onward:

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.

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.

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.
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.

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.

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.

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,11040,4844-204918-222141-173514-0-file,00.pdf

The four Closed choctaws are to be done this way:

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).

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.

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:
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.

Unfortunately, audio replay is not available at this time, so it is almost impossible to challenge a Timing call on a key point.

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:

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

This requires a two point deduction. The responsibility for this deduction is decided as follows:

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 tempo is checked by the Referee.
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.
The referee may impose a one point deduction.

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.
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Wicked Yankee Girl
Jul 26, 2003
It's probably not kosher to reply to my own thread, but getting a Y for all key points gives you a base score of 7.0 for one Blues segment, while getting N or T for all 3 key points gives you a base score of 3.0. Consequently, you can lose 8.0 points total for not getting any of your key points right.


Record Breaker
Jun 27, 2003
I haven't been following along with the juniors yet this year (do I ever really?!) so I haven't been able to comment...

I'm more interested to see how some of the seniors seem to be getting away with non-Polka music, but that's another thread for when that season starts I suppose :laugh:


Wicked Yankee Girl
Jul 26, 2003
I'm putting together a Polka Pattern Dance thread.

I may put it up in advance of people actually skating it and getting credit.

These are part of the Ice Dance Reference set of threads that I've been putting up and moving over to Reference inside The Lutz Corner after people stop being interested in them.


On the Ice
Mar 22, 2004
Poor me, with just one pair of eyes I'll have no basis for disagreeing with the marks. By the time I could study the slowmo, provided the feet are always on camera, the season would be over. I will, however, do my best.

ETA: It's easy enough to tell when there is no discernable dance beat, but it seems music deductions might be rare.
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Wicked Yankee Girl
Jul 26, 2003
I'm getting there, with the help of the pause feature on youtube.

If you're missing the playlists from the ISU, here's the data and playlist from Lake Placid

Lake Placid SD Playlist, in order of Skate

And the protocols, if you'd like some assistance in guessing where in each dance the Blues Pattern Dance will be skated:

1. Bruser & Lum CAN
1BL2+kpNNT 3.00
2BL1+kpYNN 5.00

2. Pogrebinsky & Gudis USA
2BL3+kpYNY 6.00
1BL4+kpYYY 7.00

3. Kosigina & Moroshkin RUS
2BL4+kpYYY 7.50
1BL4+kpYYY 7.50

4. Aghai & Partanen FIN
1BL2+kpNYN 4.83
2BL1+kpNNT 2.83

5. Yermak & Khimich UKR
2BL3+kpNYY 6.33
1BL3+kpNYY 6.08

6. Aldridge & Eaton USA
2BL2+kpNNY 5.58
1BL1+kpNNN 3.42

7. Poulin & Servant CAN
1BL1+kpTTT 3.33
2BL1+kpTTT 3.08

8. Allik & Bellantuono EST
2BL1+kpNNN 2.83
1BL1+kpNNT 2.67

9. Morozova & Zhirnov RUS
1BL2+kpNYN 5.33
2BL2+kpYNN 5.00

10. Heritage & Fast USA
1BL1+kpNTN 3.00
2BL2+kpYNN 4.83

11. Colfato & Tessari ITA
1BL2+kpNYN 4.50
2BL2+kpTYN 4.50

At this point, the Playlist plays the FDs.

So if you were ranking the scores for the Blues Pattern Dance alone:
1. Kosigina & Moroshkin 15.00
2. Pogrebinsky & Gudis 13.00
3. Yermak & Khimich 12.41
4. Morozova & Smirnov 10.33
5. Colfato & Tessari 9.00
5. Aldridge & Eaton 9.00
7. Bruser & Lum 8.00
8. Heritage & Fast 7.83
9. Aghai & Partanen 7.66
10. Poulin & Servant 6.41
11. Allik & Bellantuono 5.50

Note how different this is from the overall SD placings:

1 Evgenia KOSIGINA / Nikolai MOROSHKIN RUS 59.44 33.66 25.78 6.46 6.29 6.46 6.54 6.46 0.00 #3
2 Alexandra ALDRIDGE / Daniel EATON USA 53.48 26.67 26.81 6.75 6.50 6.75 6.83 6.67 0.00 #6
3 Daria MOROZOVA / Mikhail ZHIRNOV RUS 47.22 24.41 22.81 5.92 5.67 5.63 5.88 5.46 0.00 #9
4 Andreanne POULIN / Marc-Andre SERVANT CAN 45.95 22.50 23.45 5.92 5.71 5.92 5.92 5.83 0.00 #7
5 Elliana POGREBINKSY / Ross GUDIS USA 45.41 26.84 18.57 4.83 4.46 4.58 4.75 4.58 0.00 #2
6 Lolita YERMAK / Alexei KHIMICH UKR 45.02 24.66 20.36 5.17 4.92 5.08 5.17 5.08 0.00 #5
7 Noa BRUSER / Timothy LUM CAN 43.06 22.25 20.81 5.17 5.04 5.25 5.21 5.29 0.00 #1
8 Madeline HERITAGE / Nathaniel FAST USA 41.93 21.75 20.18 5.17 4.83 5.08 5.13 5.00 0.00 #10
9 Sara AGHAI / Jussiville PARTANEN FIN 38.31 19.33 18.98 4.88 4.54 4.75 4.83 4.71 0.00 #4
10 Johanna ALLIK / Paul BELLANTUONO EST 37.24 18.92 18.32 4.75 4.46 4.58 4.71 4.42 0.00 #8
11 Jasmine TESSARI / Stefano COLAFATO ITA 35.09 18.92 16.17 4.21 3.92 3.96 4.21 3.92 0.00 #11

And here's the SD playlist from Courchevel:

And the results of the SD

1 Valeria ZENKOVA / Valerie SINITSIN RUS 52.91 27.30 25.61 6.45 6.25 6.35 6.40 6.50 0.00 #5
2 Gabriella PAPADAKIS / Guillaume CIZERON FRA 52.25 26.20 26.05 6.55 6.30 6.50 6.50 6.65 0.00 #11
3 Madeline EDWARDS / Zhao Kai PANG CAN 46.53 25.40 21.13 5.30 5.10 5.20 5.35 5.40 0.00 #4
4 Victoria HASEGAWA / Connor HASEGAWA CAN 45.68 25.10 20.58 5.15 5.00 5.10 5.30 5.15 0.00 #2
5 Sofia EVDOKIMOVA / Egor BAZIN RUS 45.29 24.60 20.69 5.20 4.90 5.20 5.20 5.30 0.00 #13
6 Daria KOROTITSKAIA / Maksim SPODIREV UKR 45.00 24.00 21.00 5.40 5.00 5.15 5.40 5.25 0.00 #1
7 Lorraine MCNAMARA / Quinn CARPENTER USA 44.54 23.80 20.74 5.00 4.90 5.30 5.25 5.40 0.00 #9
8 Holly MOORE / Daniel KLABER USA 42.98 22.60 20.38 4.95 4.75 5.25 5.20 5.25 0.00 #3
9 Viktoria KAVALIOVA / Yurii BIELIAIEV BLR 40.86 21.30 19.56 5.05 4.75 4.85 5.05 4.75 0.00 #6
10 Estelle ELIZABETH / Romain LE GAC FRA 39.19 19.10 20.09 5.00 4.80 5.15 5.15 5.00 0.00 #10
11 Sofia SFORZA / Francesco FIORETTI ITA 38.91 16.70 22.21 5.55 5.25 5.65 5.60 5.65 0.00 #12
12 Charlotte DYSON / Paul DREDGE GBR 27.43 14.70 13.73 3.55 3.25 3.45 3.55 3.35 1.00 #7
13 Laura ABTS / Maarten BUCKENS BEL 26.14 13.98 12.16 3.30 2.95 2.95 3.10 2.90 0.00 #8
14 Victoria-Laura LOHMUS / Andrei DAVODOV EST 22.23 10.10 12.13 3.20 3.00 3.00 3.15 2.85 0.00 #14

And the protocols
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On the Ice
Jan 25, 2004
I have watched quite a few competitions this year and I think the callers are so obssessed with the timing on blues and polkas this year that teams with basic edges are getting similar marks as teams with far superior edges and patterns. Maybe by end of year the overall quality will factor more back into marks?
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Wicked Yankee Girl
Jul 26, 2003
The rules only give overall quality points for the SD as a whole, as part of a PCS component, and for pattern size, depth of edge in GOE. Right now, for the pattern dance sequences, the focus is on doing the pattern correctly, with the steps done correctly on the correct beats. If you check the scoring, a team is better off to be a little slower (which means a smaller pattern and perhaps shallower edges, so long as those edges are correct), and hit all their key points.

The first thing to get in an SD pattern dance is the levels. The GOE is not as big a point difference as just getting the levels. And to get the levels this year, the timing as well as step correctness, is necessary.

When a team's getting all 6 points on both sequences is the time to get more over the ground speed in the pattern, which is of course, what makes the pattern bigger. Getting a GOE of +3 on a YP sequence where you hit zero key points does not score well at all.

Check the Skate America protocols for the Yankee Polka, or any of the JGP protocols for the blues. The following is the Yankee Polka from Skate America:

4YP1 or 4YP2 with all 3 key points hit is 7.00 base. Doing it with all +3's only buys you an additional 1.5 points = 8.5 points maximum.
3YP1 or 3YP2 with 2 key points hit is 6.00 base. With all +3's is 7.5 points
2YP1 or 2YP2 with one key point hit is 5.00 base. +3's on that again is an additional 1.5 points = 6.5 points maximum
1YP1 or 1YP2 with no key points hit is 3.00 base (Z&G at Skate America had one sequence with no key points)= 4.5 max.

If you miss all the key points due to timing problems (easy to do if over pushing for speed in as quick tempo'd a dance as the YP) your max score is 4.5 (and if your timing is glaringly bad, you won't get +3 from judges, nor should you. You probably get the base value at best). If you do the YP correctly and on time, but not particularly outstanding pattern size, worst case would be the base level of 7. So it's clear where teams should put their emphasis, even though old style CD judging gave more credit to pattern size and character of the dance, today that isn't how it's done. Chances are, if you had great polka character with a small, utterly correct pattern with perfect timing throughout, you might get +1, and so 7.5, or 0, and so 7. So you would be risking 4 points for a gain of no more than a point, point and a half. Not a good bet for any team to make.

The rules are set for this season, so that's how they are.

I would not have been surprised before this season started if the pattern dance were gone after 2014...however, this year's SD's, both in the senior & junior ranks, are entertaining enough, and the enthusiasm of the crowds are liking them, and the coaches wish to retain a pattern dance for seniors & juniors...I think now it will stay. In that case, I have no clue how the rules will be gerrymandered around in subsequent seasons; they might be rewritten to have a wider range of GOE's to take into account pattern size/speed/depth of edge more than the current rules support.