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Re: Unfair judging
Posted by Janet
2/22/2004  11:46:00 AM
My husband and I have been competiting for 15+ years, so I have a few opinions on judging.

First, we work with a coach that judges throughout the US, and he judges us often. I dread when he is a judge because he knows all our weaknesses and in fact judges us harder then the other competitors. Then there is that "What the hell were you doing" after the comp is over!! There may be the perception that we have an edge as we speak with the "judge" throughout the comp...but it is just not so.

Next, you are generally dancing with 6 or 7 couples and are judged in 30 seconds. There is no way you can be fairly judged during this time. First they look at your top lines, and your foot work may be horrible, yet still come in 1st place.!
My partner(husband) and I dance for ourselves and we know when you walk off the floor that we were dancing to the best of our abiity , and improved from the last comp....This is the real test. The judging is secondary. I know it does stink to do your best, feel great and score poorly. You just need to get beyond that and always remember it was only 30 seconds of your whole dance career.

Re: Unfair judging
Posted by Dragon
2/22/2004  12:42:00 PM
I appreciate your comments, and do understand everything you've said. I've been there too.

What I don't like, which has nothing to do with you, but perhaps more to do with the nature of making a complaint, is the fact that most people assume a complaint implies personal injury. I wasn't dancing, but did witness what I think was true bias. Most likely, if I had been dancing, I would have kept my disappointment to myself, since complaining reveals a bruised ego.
Re: Unfair judging
Posted by Janet
2/22/2004  6:57:00 PM
Point well taken. Hey,I always feel like I am a better judge when watching on the sidelines with no pressures. I too often wonder at times why the scores have come out a certain way.
Re: Unfair judging
Posted by Jonathan Atkinson
2/23/2004  1:49:00 AM
It would seem that the people in control are quite happy to leave things exactly as they are.

There inlies the real problem.

Re: Unfair judging
Posted by Laura
2/23/2004  1:58:00 AM
If it were possible to create new judges, that could start to make a difference.

Whatever happened to USABDA's plan to start training and certifying amateur judges? I recall hearing about it perhaps three years ago. As far as I know only former US Amateur Standard Champion Steven Holt has been certified.
Re: Unfair judging
Posted by Jonathan Atkinson
2/23/2004  2:18:00 AM
Anybody can become a judge. Certifying is easy enough. The question is whether or not they'll get any work.

Re: Unfair judging
Posted by Laura
2/23/2004  3:02:00 AM
To get certified back in 2001 under that USABDA program that was being talked about you had to have been a Championship-level athelete, meaning that you've earned too many points to dance in any level except for Championship. That's not just anybody.

Even if organizers of NDCA-sanctioned competitions wouldn't hire a USABDA-certified judge, I could imagine that USABDA-sanctioned and collegiate competitions would. Of course, there was that big stink that some Canadian judge raised either last year or the year before when she found herself serving on the same panel as a certified amateur judge. Maybe that's why USABDA's amateur judges program has died a quiet death?

My point is that people have tried to change things. It hasn't succeeded because (a) enough people want to keep things the way they are and (b) no one has come up with an alternate idea yet that inspires anyone to change point (a).

People often say that coaches shouldn't judge. That's a valid point, but no one yet has figured out where to get non-coaching judges from. Also people are VERY hung up on titles in this sport. Competitors don't react well to having no-name judges who might be very impartial, very responsible, very knowledgeable, and well trained. They don't react well because if the person doesn't have a few important titles behind them, then they are considered a nobody who knows nothing -- no matter how much they really do know! Meanwhile, when someone is unhappy with their marks, they turn around and blame the judges. Someone was trashing a World Champion on a twin of this discssion being run on another bulletin board. It seems no matter what is done someone complains.

Is there any solution to this problem at all? How big is the problem anyway? I've been dancing in Pro/Am and Amateur events for 6 years and I think the problem on the lower levels (syllabus, Novice) is more of grumbling by people who don't realize what it takes to be a winner than a big problem of nepotism-like favoritism. I don't speak for the Professional or high-level amateur events, because I've never danced in these and so have no experience. But when college dancers are complaining about block judging and other political stuff I have to wonder. I've helped to organize small to medium sized amateur competitions and I must say that we try very hard to get judges who we respect and who we think the people who participate in our events respect. Some of the ones I pick I don't particularly like to dance in front of, but I know their reputation for fairness and respect so we hire them for the good of the entire competition and not to benefit anyone in particular.
Re: Unfair judging
Posted by rhinestonecowboy2004
2/24/2004  3:21:00 AM
The answer is simple. They are biased! There is no other reason.
Re: Unfair judging
Posted by Martina
2/24/2004  3:31:00 AM
When I was dancing at basic-level competitions judged by 5 judges, I used to get very mixed marks. There were always 2 same judges from my country, and 3 judges from other countries that always changed.
I didn't take lessons with any of them.

Two domestic judges would ALWAYS give us the lowest possible marks, and foreign judges would place us somewhere between 1st and 3rd place.
So I would get (let's say fro Rumba):
2 1 2 7 7

and so for each dance

Even today I don't know why these two domestic judges hated us so much. Ok if we were given 4th or even 5th place from them - but always THE LAST.

If there was semi-final, we would never get a single mark for the finals, and t+from other 3 judges we'd get alkl - but sometimes that wasn't enough to make it to the final.
Re: Unfair judging
Posted by Nancy K. Damico
3/14/2004  1:14:00 PM
When I was competing in the 1980's this was common practice. Studio owners used competitions as a way to encourage their students to sign on for large blocks of prepaid lessons. By "fixing" competition results, those unsuspecting students were enticed to spend and spend and spend. This may not be the current practice everywhere, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did rear its "ugly head".

I would encourage you to continue to question these practices whenever you encounter them, join USABDA and try their competitions as I did not experience this kind of preferential judging in that arena.

Finally, be aware that some partnerships have a reputation in the ballroom dance community. They do tend to place higher, however, there place has been earned through experience. When you gain experience you too will find your position at competitions improve and if not, get a new coach. It is possible to stay with one teacher too long.

I wish you well in your ballroom dancing. Demand honesty! it is your right!

Nancy Damico

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