Ballroom Dance > How do judges call back correct # of couples from more than one heat

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by 5678dance, Apr 29, 2014.

  1. 5678dance

    5678dance Active Member

    In the early rounds of competition, how do judges generally manage to call back the correct number of couples from multiple heats? I raise this question because I hear people talk about whether or not they were fortunate enough to be in an "easy" heat (compared to being on the floor in another heat that is dominated by competitive couples) but I'm wondering how much of a factor this really is in results.

    So for example, do judges try to call back equal number of couples from each heat (EG call back 12 from 2... so call back 6 from each heat?) or do they try to strategize and leave more or fewer spots open for the 2nd heat, or later heats?

    Further, does the first dance and therefore the first overall glance at the two (or more) heats influence how many to call back from each heat, then, by the 2nd dance? (ok well these 4 couples were in the last heat so I have to make sure to leave 4 spots open by that heat.... etc)

    These are just some general musings of late :) Judging seems difficult......

    And of course, you can never attribute results on one particular thing, this I know. I'm just wondering what it's like to think like a judge!
  2. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member



    Basically this weekend we were told call back 32 from 4. So we called back 8, 4 times. You just kinda trust that the heats are evenly seeded. If after all 4 heats you realize that is true you stick to it for the next few dances. BUT you could get to the end and say "ACK that first heat was actually really empty and EVERYONE from the final heat needs to be recalled!" so then during the next dances you call back 3, 8, 8, 13. Or the opposite. The first heat is heavy so you then adjust and do 13, 7, 6, 6 or some variant....

    It is generally russian roulette. You are guessing. And it is really a shame that the first round is not really about calling back the right couples but instead calling back the right amount.

    I think more people should "guest judge" at comps like MIT. There should be a way for people to get to come out on the floor with me, and try to write down the numbers too. Not that the marks would count... but just to give some people the experience of what we do.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  3. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

    I was watching some of the live feed from the MIT comp, and it looked like the runners were collecting papers quite often. So if you are indeed told "Recall 24 from 3 heats", and they take one of your papers after the heat is done, you are kinda stuck calling back 8 each time, which, as has been mentioned, stinks if you're in a heat with a cluster of ready-to-point-out couples.

    In that vein, I prefer the couple #s to be randomly generated versus assigned alphabetically. Otherwise you know that leaders "Jones" and "Johnson" are more than likely gonna be on the floor at the same time initially.
  4. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    If it is recall 32 from 4, the runner picks up the papers after the 4th heat.
    stash likes this.
  5. stash

    stash Well-Known Member

    Runners (I have been one a lot) pick up papers after all the heats have gone through for each dance. So if it's a multi-dance event (i.e. W/T/F/Q), I would pick up sheets four times, no matter how many heats there were.
  6. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Interesting that this should come up here... I was at the Indycar race last weekend thinking of this same problem. They divide qualifying (at road course races) into two groups, drawn from a hat, and the top six from each group advance to the next round. The two groups are drawn randomly, but it often happens that one group is regarded as "easier" than the other. Last weekend, of the cars from the top teams, most wound up in the second group, and the result was that two drivers expected to advance didn't make it. In racing, that's accepted as being luck of the draw (mainly because no one has a better idea).
  7. atk

    atk Active Member

    Is that something open to everyone (amateur and pro alike)? What does it involve? (should I have spawned a new thread? :) )
  8. IlyZislin

    IlyZislin Active Member

    Absolutely! Having to judge teaches you soooo much as a competitor. (At least it did teach me)
    ACtenDance likes this.
  9. dlliba10

    dlliba10 Well-Known Member

    It's something that can be done even from the stands. Just grab a piece of paper and a pencil, listen to how many you need to call back, and play along. Try to score the final too and see how your results match up to the final tally. It gives you a whole new perspective on the competition.

    I've definitely been in the "tougher" heat multiple times. At Nationals, our heat was full of so many extraordinary couples simply by chance of who got randomly assigned what number that I'm convinced that if we had the luck to be in the other heat, we would have made the next round (we were off by a single mark). It's always a crapshoot though. I was in the "tougher" heat this past weekend and *did* make it into the next round by a comfortable margin.
  10. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Unevenly balanced heats are really only a problem for quarterfinals and larger. By the time a large event has reached a semifinal, the judges should have seen the couples many times and have an idea of the quality of their dancing in general, and vs. the other couples. If an event starts from a semi, it shouldn't be a problem, since all couples should be on the floor at the same time.
    dlliba10 and stash like this.
  11. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    I thought the numbers are assigned as people submit their entries. So late entry = high number, and that usually means 2nd or 3rd heat.
  12. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

    It is sometimes interesting to look at the evolution of marks from first round to Final. The couple that ultimately wins can clearly get enough marks to advance, but perhaps not from every judge, for various reasons. Then when the field gets smaller, you see an unbroken row of "X"s from all judges asking them to be recalled.

    re: number assignments - I've seen it done alphabetically, and I've seen it random. And I do believe if you register late, you usually end up with a higher number.
  13. mindputtee

    mindputtee Well-Known Member

    Not always. Some competitions randomize the numbers after entries close, or assign the numbers alphabetically when registration closes. Some comps do it by entry number, and if someone registers late (like at the comp or something) they will just get the next number available, so a high one.
  14. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    with multi heat events, many comps will randomize the groups.
  15. dlliba10

    dlliba10 Well-Known Member

    Nationals was randomized, at least. I know because my partner and I asked Daphna why my number was higher than a friend's when we all registered in the same group. A lot of college comps go alphabetically, though. I know we did when I ran my team's comp in 2012.
  16. Wannabee

    Wannabee Well-Known Member

    This goes back to why I like sports where subjective judging is not involved so much. I had a series of heats when I was a competitive swimmer. There are typically eight lanes open for any one final race. Everyone has to qualify by swimming in a quarter or semi final for one of those 8 lanes. I remember thinking I was in a pretty tough heat and that I was going to have to swim fast to make the final. I finished 6th in my heat. Turns out I had the 6th fastest qualifying time for the final and NO ONE from the second semifinal heat made the final. No one can deny the clock, even if everyone fast is in the same heat.
    debmc and nikkitta like this.
  17. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

    In ballroom, you'd have to have ALL of the dancers on the floor at once, and that can get really really ugly. And dangerous :eek:. Occasionally I've seen comps do that for Champ Standard just for Waltz so the judges can see everyone together.

    edit to add: *after* they had already danced in separate heats
  18. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 New Member

    Hmmm, how to make this work? Couple that finishes the dance first wins?
  19. Mengu

    Mengu Well-Known Member

    I've seen judges jot down some numbers temporarily (provided they are using paper and not electronic) during a heat, beyond what they need to recall, in case they can't find enough people to call back from the next group, and then cross them off as needed. Different judges have different methods... Electronic pads make it harder (or impossible) to take such notes. But they really don't have a lot of time to be analytic about it.

    It is also not terribly unusual to get the sheets from the judges, and notice instead of 24, a judge wrote down 23 numbers, or wrote down a number that doesn't exist... It happens, you just roll with it. We have multiple judges to level things out. Big heats are fairly imprecise for determining couple A is better than couple B because one made the quarter final and the other did not. The more judges there are, the better it gets, but no single judge is going to get it perfect, they do the best they can, under the conditions they are in.
  20. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Can't say about other electronic scoring systems, but O2CM has a feature where judges can flag a couple for potential, just like jotting their number in the margin.
    Bailamosdance likes this.

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