Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3...

Our scene: a USFS test session for pre-silver and lower ice dancers plus a variety of moves in the field testers.

The deal:  There are three judges.  You need passing scores from two to pass.  I'm testing two of the simplest dances. The Dutch Waltz and the Canasta Tango.  I feel good about one.  The other not so much.

I put it out there.

The outcome:  Three judges saw three different things.  Judge Nr 1 loved both dances and gave me passing marks for both technical and timing/expression.  Judge Nr 2 hated the DW but passed me on the CT.  Judge Nr 3 hated every minute of what I put down.  Well, maybe not everything--she did indicate that my timing was "ok" on the CT.

Bottom  line:  I passed the CT but will have to retest the DW.

Judges comments (DW):

Judge Nr 1: technical--"correct progressives, edges shallow but most defined as O.S.; good flow, P". (pass); timing/expression--"on time, P".

Judge Nr 2:  technical--O.S. edges are mostly flat.  Right foot O.S. edge is deeper than left. R (retry)."  timing/expression--"ahead of the music in several places. R"

Judge Nr 3: technical--" edges and patterns flat, no curvature to lobes, unison lacking. R"  timing/expression--timing rushed so a little ahead of the beat. R"

CT comments:

Judge Nr 1: technical--"shallow but correct; weak on free leg extension, P.";  timing/experession--"right on, P."

Judge Nr 2:  technical--"good pattern, please turn out free leg; ok pattern, some shallow edges, P."
timing/expression--"well timed.  P."

Judge Nr 3:  technical--"edges & lobes flat; stepping rather than stroking, R."  timing/expression--"timing ok, P".  (NB: one needs to get a passing score for both technical and timing/expression or the overall result is a fail.)

I'm sure that the comments do somehow accurately reflect my skating today.  The DW has always been my least favorite dance and I think it's because it's a six beat dance--you have to hang out on an edge like forever.  The CT is a four beat dance and things happen quicker, which is a good thing for short attention spanners like moi.

So it's back to the drawing board on the DW.  This helps keep my coach gainfully employed.

Now, the best part of the deal was watching the pre-silver skaters test the 14-step, the foxtrot and the European Waltz.  All the test takers were female and about two thirds of them had lined up Ian Lorello (a local male ice dancer, formally a Team USA member and currently a coach for the New Ice Age ice dance troupe) as a partner.  Ian danced with woman after woman without taking a break.  Awesome skating.  See if you don't agree:


  1. When I do the DW, my coach, and older guy, will skate with ne, for which I am geareful.

    1. Hi Helene: A good coach and partner makes a big difference.

  2. Replies
    1. Subjective judging in ice dance? I, I simply don't know what to say. I'm shocked! Shocked! To be candid, one must entertain the notion that perhaps friendly judge Nr 1 was the outlier rather than the two judges who were more critical of my performance. If my edges had been deeper and my timing had been closer to the beat I probably would have received passing marks from those judges (or at least one of them) when I skated the DW. My coach has warned me on several occasions that I'm rushing the music and yesterday the majority of judges saw that as well. Having gone through the process I know what I need to improve in order to go forward!

  3. Congrats on your Canasta Tango, George. I do think the Dutch Waltz is a challenging dance, both for the rhythm (I tend to rush waltzes too) and for those alternating swing rolls. And that end pattern always mystified me. Next time for that one--and you'll be adding in the Rhythm Blues, I expect?

    1. Thanks Jo! Never a dull moment with this ice dancing lark!

  4. Wow George! Never a dull moment indeed.

    Am I picky in noticing that the lady skater has a black costume, tights, heel & sole, yet has white boots?

  5. Accordion3: You're asking a member of the wrong gender to weigh in on the subject of the lady's costume--especially as it relates to shoes. I was focusing on Ian's skating! But since coach A. was my test skating partner I can supply the following info for the sake of comparative analysis: she was wearing her black "tango" dress (don't ask me what makes it a "tango" dress), plus black tights, and her white Harlick boots) so maybe black with white boots is some sort of de rigueur thing that's off my radar screen. I wore my usual black athletic pants (they fit comfortably over all the hip and knee padding I always wear), a decent (aka, clean mostly) shirt topped off with a dark grey sweater. BTW, coach A. sews all of her costumes--never buys a thing. Looked good to me.

  6. Despite being one of the first dances the Dutch Waltz can be really hard if you try to get powerful, deep edges on that end pattern. And as you point out, if we got the dances that quickly our coaches would be out of a job! You got a spectrum of opinions on your judging. They can judge those first dances with only one judge, you could have made out better-- or worse-- under that scenario.

  7. Hi Mary: Thanks for the input re:judging. Yes having one of those three judges could have been better, worse or the same! As we looked at their comments afterwards, my coach said that friendly judge Nr 1 is generally the hardest of the three (!) so go figure.