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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.

--J
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
Re: Unfair judging
Posted by Blacksheep
3/15/2004  3:11:00 AM
I was a new competitor, with only two years training and in my first competition at the Valantino Tango Contest held at the Hollywood Palladium in 1952.
Three Judges on a stage overlooking the dance floor called out numbers of dancers that had monitors physically escort eliminees off the dance floor, until only five couples remained.
When the final dance took place with the remaining five couples dancing at the same time, an Aplausameter was used to determine 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.
The Machine determined who the audiance admired the most, regardless of these artificial standards used to score and to force dancers to look like robots trying to outdo each other with 'standards' that turn an art form into a mechanical frozen rendition of the dance, and disregard the natural individual expressions that helps the dance evolve into a higher esthetic level.
I loved the results of that Valentino contest.
Black Sheep
Re: Unfair judging
Posted by blankpro
3/15/2004  7:27:00 AM
That's pretty funny - the audience judging a sport by 'applause'. Well, let's take it all the way - let's have the audience vote on the teams that will go to the superbowl!

Competive dance is just that - a competition as to who is the best that day with those dancers. Factors such as looks, audience glitz, etc are not supposed to enter into it. Judges (who have the trained eye for the performance) take into consideration accuracy and quality of movement, crafting and such. Skating, for instance, has been popularized to the point that the casual watcher can SOMETIMES see past the costume and makeup and look at the skating, but rest assured - everyone who watches sure has an opinion.

I certainly would NOT want someone to judge my craft based upon the populist notions that govern 'watching art' -

It's always been in contests - the 'monday morning' quarterback' who knows what 'really' should have happened.

Remember, in 1952 in the USA, dance quality was so low as to be nonexistent on the world scene. Dance teaching at that time was limited to the newly created Fred Astaire chain studios, and the old-time Arthur Murrays. Remember, Arthur Murray's theory was that technique needed for dance was too hard for the average Joe, so he created a 'syllabus' based upon 'magic steps' that were foot movement patterns - taught by the 6 week wonders of the time (that's what chain studio teachers are known as)...

Within a few years (1961), English style dancing was introduced to the USA, forcing many 'teachers' to relegate to the 'social only' crowd, and serious quality dancing to begin. Until the mid 70s, there were no American couples on the world scene. Even now, thanks to the damaging presence of the 'local dance studio', so few people make it out of the beginner group classes into something that begins to look like the artform that captures the world's eye (20,000 people in a stadium in Germany, 10,000 in Japan) that the USA is not usually considered a serious contender for many events on the world scene....
Re: Unfair judging
Posted by blankpro
3/15/2004  7:31:00 AM
No offense, but the standard must have been pretty low for you to win a contest (your first) after only 2 years of 'training'. But then again, tha audience probably couldn't tell the difference - just like today. Looks and 'groupthink' sway the minds - they certainly weren't looking at the quality of dance.

Like I said - no offense, but 52 years ago looking at dancers on a stage from, say, 300 feet away, who in the WORLD could tell if you were dancing well, anyway?

Re: Unfair judging
Posted by Realistic Expectations
3/15/2004  12:28:00 PM
I have been dancing in Pro-Am competions for almost 7 years and have found over time that the judging can be biased and politically influenced. It basically boils down to one thing, how much money you can afford to spend on exposing yourself to the dance community. ie; how many dance lessons & coachings, how many competitions you do in a year, how many dances done at a single competition, how many costume changes. These are just a few of the monetary factors that contribute to ones chances of winning or losing. Then there are the other things , is your instructor well liked? How much time between working and family do you really have to practice. For instructors ,coaches,judges & professional world champions dancing is their occupation, their life. For me dancing is all about having fun & I cannot worry at a competition that I have paid a considerable sum of money to have that sense of fun destroyed because I haven't sucked up enough or paid enough for a score. I compete against myself and my last performance some of which are wonderful and some which are not so wonderful. There will always be unfair judging so I let them do their job and I do mine which is to dance as well as I know I can. If you're only dancing for the win you may never truly enjoy the dance itself because then it becomes work instead of recreation and fun.
Re: Unfair judging
Posted by dancing mouse
3/16/2004  6:36:00 AM
Well...it stands to reason (and I'm not a studio owner, teacher, nor do I make a living from the dance world) that the more money you spend on lessons and the more competitions you are in, the better your dancing abilities are going to be. Just like any sport, the more experience you have, especially in games or events where it counts, the better you're going to become.

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