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Friday, 7 February 2014

What's in a Step Sequence?

More precisely, what’s in a level 4 step sequence? 

Let's take a look back at the ISU Handbook for Ice Dance Technical Panels 2013 for the criteria the Technical Panel uses in assigning a level to this element.

Types of difficult turns

Double Twizzle, Bracket, Rocker, Counter, Choctaw, Outside Mohawk “skated on distinct and recognizable edges and in accordance with the description in Rule 604”. 

The one-foot turns have been bolded. 

Extra Features (specifically for the Not Touching Step Sequence): 

Spread Eagle, Lunge, Shoot the Duck, Ina Bauer, Toe Steps, Dance Jump, or a combination of those, not exceeding one measure of music.



How are GOEs Determined for this Element?

Let's have a look at the criteria the Judges use in determining the appropriate GOE for this element.


We have selected an example of a step sequence performed by Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir that we feel is the strongest execution of this element. They have elected to do a midline sequence for their Not Touching Step Sequence. Although they received a perfect score for this element at Skate Canada (a level 4 and maximum GOEs from all but one judge, whose mark was discarded in the final score), we have selected their version of this element from the 2013 Grand Prix Final, for which they also received a level 4 and many GOEs of +3.
Here is the protocol from this event. 

Here is a video of the step sequence only:

video


Below we have broken the step sequence down into its component parts. We have provided gifs slowed to 40% of the original speed for each turn.

They begin the sequence with Virtue performing a left forward inside counter turn and Moir performing a right back inside counter. That means that Virtue is traveling clockwise on a left forward inside entry edge and turns her blade counter-clockwise to exit on a left back inside edge traveling in a counter-clockwise direction; Moir is traveling clockwise on a right back inside entry edge and turns his blade counter-clockwise to exit on a right forward inside edge traveling in a counter-clockwise direction.



They move into a transitional step (dance jump) which is followed by a left forward inside open choctaw for Virtue and a right forward inside choctaw for Moir. That means that Virtue has a left forward inside entry edge, then brings her right foot forward and exits on a right back outside edge; Moir has a right forward inside entry edge, then brings his left foot forward and exits on a left back outside edge.



They then move directly into a double twizzle, with Virtue turning clockwise and Moir turning counter-clockwise.



They use a transitional step (toe step) into a left forward inside counter for Virtue and a right forward inside counter for Moir. Virtue is traveling clockwise on a left forward inside edge and turns her blade counter-clockwise to exit on a left back inside edge traveling in a counter-clockwise direction. Moir is traveling counter-clockwise on a right forward inside edge and turns his blade clockwise to exit on a right back inside edge traveling in a clockwise direction.



They then use a transitional step in which they change direction and enter into a left forward outside swing Mohawk. They enter on a left forward outside edge, swing the free leg forward, and exit on a right back outside edge.



They each stay on the right foot and move from back inside to back outside edge before changing feet into a toe step turn which they exit on right back inside edges that curve clockwise. They then take one toe step into right forward inside brackets, the first turn in their one-foot turn section. They enter on right forward inside edges traveling counter-clockwise, turn their blades clockwise, and exit on right back outside edges traveling counter-clockwise.



They each stay on one foot and change over to right back inside edges (that travel clockwise). These right back inside edges are their entry edges for their next counter turn. They each turn their blade counter-clockwise to exit on right forward inside edges traveling counter-clockwise.



These right forward inside edges traveling counter-clockwise become their entry edges for their rocker turns. Each turns their blade counter-clockwise to exit on right back inside edges traveling clockwise.



They complete the one-foot turn section with double twizzles entered into on right back outside edges.



Some general notes on this step sequence:
They enter into it from dance steps. They have chosen a mirror pattern where they part and then converge in the first section and a matching pattern for the rest of the step sequence. Note the difficult transitional steps between the outside Mohawk and the third counter. Also note how they exit their final double twizzle on right forward inside edges and each stay on one foot to decelerate at the end, gently sliding into a stop, after which they immediately pick up their speed. The long, sweeping curves of their blades (entry and exit edge curves), the deep knee bends, the stability of their blades, the stability of their upper bodies as their knees are doing the work, and the effortless speed they maintain throughout this element make this element worthy of excellent GOEs.


4 comments:

  1. Virtue/Moir have the best side by side midline step sequences of ANY team competing today. They get their power from the knees and that's why they seem to flow in and out of each edge seamlessly.

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  2. Thank you so much! No one ever takes the time to break down a step sequence like this. I've never seen it done. Thank you for showing that ice dance fans can be interested in this as a technical sport.

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  3. have you all heard of this? too bad v/m wont be rewarded for their skating
    http://www.canada.com/olympics/news/russia-u-s-have-vote-swapping-deal-to-deny-virtue-moir-ice-dance-gold-says-lequipe

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  4. This is the best breakdown of skating turns I've ever seen. Thank you so much for the work in doing this!

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