I have yet to compete, so I can't offer any comments from personal experience by any means, but I stumbled upon this link one day and found it interesting. It's from the web site from the Emerald Ball 2011. The judges' comments are interesting.
I know a judge who was an amateur champion. When there are many couples on the floor, the first thing he looks at is footwork ie: heel leads in the waltz and viennese. Mess that up and you are out of the running right off the bat.
Re: Judging Posted by belleofyourball 1/13/2011 10:43:00 PM
I don't know what people say they are judging...but when watching a comp this is what seems to me to be what's being judged...
I think judges look for all of the things everyone else said...but I think they also look at whether or not 'you've paid your dues'
When at a couple of the major comps I've noticed that when you get to the final rounds the girls all have the same gorgeous legs and figures. The guys have the same body shape. Some of that is due to work but like legs...you can't change the shape of your legs.
I think that the chemistry between the partners is something essential that gets overlooked. The emotion has to look believable.
Also if the judges are looking at the same choreography over and over again....I believe they get bored because many of the same judges, judge all the major competitions.
If one looks at top flite Amats or Pros, one should remember, yrs of practice have gone into developing a toned body .
On the other hand, there was a couple that danced as Amats in the late 40s early 50s in the UK, where the man was "portly " and the lady very slim. They became the SE Uk champions .
Scrivener once made an interesting comment..he said that Silhoutte was an important part of HOW we display ourselves on a dance floor .
Being an adjudicator is about "opinions".. thats why we have an odd number in major events ( it should create a majority ) .
AS to paying dues , of course, if one is seeing the SAME couples over and over during the course of a yr, then it does simplify the task to some degree ( not always ) in fact, to some degree it helps .
The more difficult thing to adjudicate are the " newcomers " ,especially when there are heats that are sometimes on a crowded floor .
And if anyone thinks its an easy task, then think again ( it can be very tiring mentally and physically ), standing for hrs on end .
Re: Judging Posted by phil.samways 1/15/2011 11:16:00 AM
I've had a very limited experience of judging at a lower level - almost 'fun' competitions. The first thing i looked for is the general shape of the couple - good posture and poise - the 'top line'. This stands out, even on a crowded floor. I believe most judges do this. After all, you can't move very freely on a crowded floor in the early rounds. But you can look good. Dancing out of time is a complete no-no of course. Judging is a very difficult task and obviously very subjective. Rather like deciding which is the 'best' car!
Phil Samways. I cant find your correspondence regarding the Skating System in judging so I will put it here. You might like to look at How a dancer can lose when the majority of judges mark them to win.. Dancesport UK Interviews and Articles. Harry Smith- Hampshire cites a case where this did happen but doesn`t go into how.
I have had coaching lessons with many adjudicators and ask every one of them what they look for.
Number one is topline. They can tell the most from it. If your footwork, frame or timing is off they can tell just by looking at your topline. If everyone is equal there then they will look at the feet. If equal there then they will look into styling, etc.
Judges mark the dancers who "offend them least" according to the late Scott Montague.
I do not believe that people are marked or not based on their body. However their dancing CAN be overlooked because they are not wearing costumes that are appropriate for their body. Both men and ladies should keep their problem areas covered. Ladies should always be in panty hose unless they are extremely tan and toned. Even then, I'd still recommend it. Everyone's legs look better in hose, plus it keeps the spanks from riding up which is a MAJOR distraction from your dancing.
Other big no-nos: hair in your face, nude colored spanks (everyone spends the whole time trying to figure out if you're wearing any, and miss out on your awesome dancing), glitter (just looks like sweat under the lights).
As far as seeing many of the same people called back, there are a couple factors. One is because they probably deserve to be there. Judges do call also call people back that they know, that is true, but its not a politics thing generally. It's because they know their dancing. If they have someone that they already know if a fabulous dancer in a semi-final they are going to call them back without really watching them. This allows them to spend more time watching the dancers they don't know to see who else deserves a call back. When it gets to the finals then they'll spend more time with each couple.
Without a good top line you might as well pack your bags and head for the door. The top line is is the first thing that a judge will see as they look across the floor. Lets not forget. For the man, it is all about standing up straight. Remember a male dancers spine does not finish at the base of the skull. It goes up through the head and up to the ceiling without a bend in it. Lifting the chin too high creating a kink in the back of the neck is also a fault which we see too often.
The top line is very important! Without it there is very little point attending a competition. You might think you have a good top line, but the problems become evident in dance's like the quickstep. I have seen couple's where the woman is much better than the man, because she is not thinking of the technical elements to creating a good top line. As anonymous states it is about keeping a straight back and not stretching the head and neck to high as to create a kink in the spine which then looks ugly. For me, this is why technique is one of the things I look for!
It may interest you to know that, most top flite prof ladies NEVER wear them.. why ? because the feet cannot " grab " the shoe as effectively.The champions of old , seemed to manage pretty well without them !( they weren't invented )
The P/hose thing , is a fairly new addition to the comp. field,( for those that do choose them, if any ) and Tights worn by ladies, particularly in latin, is far more suitable .
Also interesting what the Judges you spoke to gave as a "priority ".. having been ( and still am ) a Champ. adjudicator, there are several aspects that carry equal " weight " .. Top is one , but only a part of the bigger picture .
Re: Judging Posted by belleofyourball 6/19/2011 1:01:00 AM
I hate P/hose in terms of dance. You slip and slide and you can't grip the floor or hold any accuracy in your feet. You may as well spray grease on your feet.
If you need to hide something you can go with fishnets. They aren't slippery, they hide the imperfections and you can get them in a million colors.
It's quite simple. What judges look for is which couples have had lessons with them. Unfortunately there are many that look for the couples that have contributed to their wages in some way.
Dancesport competitors need to be great politicians paying like senators vast monies for campaigns to even get a look in. Some adgjudicators are fair and I suppose as unbiased as they can be. But too many accounts of both past and present competitors prove the corruption that is sickingly prevalent in this arena. The corrupt judges maintain it and the fair judges just accept it. Why would they question an established system that pays their wages. Real life accounts, personal experience even supposed private conversations overheard between prominent judges and students regarding results of future comps not even danced yet, has convinced this dancer that competitive ballroom is at its creative end.
Bottom line. People who can afford the inflated prices of these prominent teachers/adjudicators will be marked into finals. Couples who make the finals are talented, skilled and probably work very hard. Do the best get through or even win? Hmmmmm. Money over skill. Influence over talent.
We might as well consider running for office. It's starting to smell like politics more and more. Shame, because ballroom dancing is rich both in its history and diversity.
Hi, I had this conversation many years ago with a well known coach, I asked if she found that some couples came to her hoping to buy her marks. She replied of course, but the trouble is I've 23 top couples who I see regularly, and I can only put six into a final.
Re: Judging Posted by phil.samways 7/19/2012 4:27:00 AM
I've come to realise that you can't 'please' a judge, because they all have different things they look for and different preferences (it may be the lady's shoulder lines or timing etc). All that can be done is to minimise anything which may 'offend' a judge. I believe that you don't earn credits in a competition - you earn debits, and the couple with the fewest debits wins.