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  • What do judges like?

    What type of moves do judges like to see? Ex running or stepping high, almost like marching kind of, or twirling in place, or twirling while moving, or footwork like criss crossing or what?
    This is only my second year fancy dancing and my first year contesting. Sometimes when places are announced, I disagree but that is understandable. All people see things differently. But what do you look for when you judge teen fancy?
    Thanks, and looking forward to reading replies.

  • #2
    I seem to have judged a FEW contests across turtle island and can possibly help you.

    It depends on the individual judge. The honest reality is: MOST judges will pick someone they know. I have been guilty of this grave offense once or twice in my career.

    Less knowledgable judges will pick the dancers who have big names and travel the powwow circuit. This is always "safe" if they don't want to be accused of not being "dance literate."

    Good Arena Directors and Head Judges council the judges to be fair and lay rules to obide by. If the judge is worth anything, they will not look at who the dancer is but judge their dance style. After all they are judging a "dance contest."

    Knowledgable judges will look at the number of different moves that a dancer uses as she contests. Also someone who dances consistantly with no effort being shown, makes a big difference. Compared to someone who is outta shape and shows it.

    Up North here, dancers are judged according to how well they dance during the intertribals. Top fancy shawl dancers give it their all to every song. If a shawl dancer is sitting on her chair or in the back talking to her friends for most of the powwow, this is noticed. Many young people should be aware of this.

    Spinning is okay and gets you noticed. But, if that's all you got, it isn't gonna get you picked. Have different kinds of spins and use them in different patterns.

    If you want to get a judges attention. Put on a show right in front of them. Watch your spacing. If all the girls are bunched up, find a space of your own - that is still in the judges view (but make sure you have the stamina to "jam like spam")!

    Did that help you?

    [ August 25, 2001: Message edited by: powwower ]
    pwow

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    • #3
      Well, I found that judges do vote for the big names. (which I don't think is fair). They also usually go for the ones, unfortunately, "show off" in front of them.
      But me personally, when I judge I look at everyone.. and if I like their style and they stay on beat, and do not spin 24/7 I'll usually vote for them.
      & if there are other judges out there reading this.. Please please please when you do judge be fair. Do not always look at the "nice outfits" there are a lot of good dancers who have outfits that does not look like everyone elses. & Please do not vote for the well known name.. That's just... well I guess the best word is weird. I'm sure there are other dancers who are good and are not well known.

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      • #4
        Hi,
        I am a fancy shawl dancer and i think judges do go with people who they know or big names. but some of them actually judge by talent. DOn't twirl as much and make some new footwork up and you will be fine. Another thing is if you are out of shape (i am just getting out of that mode) Take it easy at first but try your hardest and try to dance in every intertribal so you won't get points taken off from teh judges. You may think they don't see you but they see you when you atleast expect it
        ~ayita~ :D
        ~NATIVE PRIDE~

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        • #5
          People are always reluctant to explain as to why they won't vote for the big name. How does a person get to be "big name"?
          You dance hard all the time. You make sure your outfit is the best that you can make it.
          You keep your outfit in the best shape. You have nice beadwork (not applique or drawn on stuff) You practice, practice, practice.
          You stay in shape. You don't complain about the outcome of a your category. You don't watch your feet. You don't worry about what the person next to you is doing. You dance with confidence. You greet everyone and mean it.

          That's why those big names become big names. They work at it.
          Granted, some are just snobbish a-holes, but most that I have met are pretty good people.
          By the way, I am NOT a big name. I just know some.

          Just an observation. :)

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          • #6
            I hate to post what I am sure is an unpopular opinion, but I have to say it. Whatever category you are in, nice outfits are a part of winning. It takes tremendous work to build an outfit. It takes hundreds, thousands of hours if you do it yourself, or it takes hundreds of hours of work, saving, being patient while you wait, etc, if you hire someone else to do it for you. The outfit is a part of it, just like the dancer's style, footwork, timing, etc. I don't agree when people say, "Don't just vote for the nice outfits....there are plenty of good dancers who don't have flashy stuff." Well, in my opinion, those people have to work a little harder then, put in some more time to get the nice stuff. Everyone who has nice outfits started out the same way.....not having much, but worked their butts off to get the nice stuff. It has alot to do with paying your dues, putting your time in, before judges will look at you. If you have a nice outfit, then the judges will know how hard you worked, that you have alot of pride in yourself and your appearance, and that you have put your time in to learn what looks nice and what your own particular style is. I know the outfit is not everything, but if you are asking about judges then you are talking about competition dancing, and a nice outfit that will catch the eye is part of it.

            As for moves, that all depends on what is the "flavor of the month." I remember when any dance category was about footwork....spinning and running around in men or women's fancy was frowned on....people would say they weren't dancing. They used to tell us that whatever move you did on one side you had to do it on the other. That is surely not the case today in men or women's fancy from what I've seen and from who wins nowadays. I'm still a big footwork fan when I judge because it takes alot more energy to do footwork than it does to run and spin. I think I'm in the minority now, but there are still pockets of judges in places who still judge that same way.....they look at footwork. My advice to you would be to have high energy, be able to do your footwork while moving well around the arena, have a good knee lift and a few different types of spins. Keep moving, don't get stuck in one place, and keep your arms up. Just my two-cents from an old dancer!

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            • #7
              I was about to ask this very same question! I haven't been looking at the boards much lately. Thank you for asking the question and thank you for answering! I know all the input has helped me out a lot!
              Miss T.
              I didn't do it, honestly. I have burned all the proof.

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              • #8
                I just wanted to say that I liked the responses from powwower, Kiwehnzii and twocents1 and I agree with them.

                I've judged quite a few contests and what I look for is nice footwork with original steps, a nice and neat outfit that shows pride and dedication, grace (some girls can look like they are floating) and someone who looks like they enjoy dancing. Not everyone has all of these things and that's why the champions are champions. We don't say Michelle Kwan wins in figure skating just because she's who she is. Let's face it, she's good at what she does. Just like a lot of dancers continue to win because they're good at what they do. That shouldn't stop anyone from competing and having fun. Just my thoughts.
                Not better. Not worse. Just different.

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                • #9
                  Hey lngftr, where you been? Good to see you back! :)

                  Two-cents

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                  • #10
                    Hey, thanks, twocents1. I've been out traveling, living out of a suitcase. lol... Been doing training for work up to Canada and down to Wyoming, headed down to South Dakota for softball tournament and pow-wow and then had a conference and Tribes pow-wow up here. So I'm finally slowing down and recuperating. Glad to see you guys are still here and keeping it real!
                    Not better. Not worse. Just different.

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                    • #11
                      I think it is a combination of things. You got to be in shape, you got to be able to jam, you got to have the beat, you have to have style, You have to be able to dance hard, no matter who is singing. You have to know songs. You have to be light on your feet. You have to have fast feet. You have to be able to go from warp speed to dead stop and stop on a dime. You have to have outfits, pretty shawls, nice beadwork, lots of it, because no matter what you all think, that catches the judges eye. Get some attitude, throw in some fancy foot work and you will have a champion that wins everywhere, like Shelly Eaglemen-Bointy. Ruby told me to say that.
                      Sahnish

                      "There is nothing more dangerous than ignorance in action."

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                      • #12
                        I just wanted to drop a quick note and say thanks to everyone for there comments. I've been dancing for years, and its good to be reminded of the important things. I love to dance for many reasons and I hope that is apparent in my dancing. Everyone's comments really helped me... and now I'm more , I feel rejuvinated. I'm going to start focusing more on my beadwork and practicing, among other things. Thanks again for all the tips!
                        Peace, love, and bear grease

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                        • #13
                          i have been around a while, and seen a few good, and a few bad dancers. the bottom line is that the best arn't their just to show off, or look cool. they dance because they love it. because it is in their heart and are proud to be who they are and show it by being the very best that THEY can be. yes your outfit matters, after all if you don't have enough respect to take good care of your regailia, then how much can you really love what you are doing? steps and fitness also fit into this catagorie, self respect, be the best that you can prersonaly be, show that you love what you do and are proud of who you are, and the recognition will come. and along with it, places at comps. hope this helps, and good luck.
                          nik

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                          • #14
                            This topic is wonderful!
                            I always like to know things I can do to look better in the arena ... I used to travel with a drum , so I always had elders screaming "DON'T DO THAT!" lol Or "Quit looking at your feet!?!" :D But ever sence I stopped traveling and things with them I have kinda (but not alot) forgotten to not look at my feet , smile , keep my arms up , and things like that. But then again I don't pow wow as much as I used to lmbo!
                            I am in decent shape , even for my "size" (about 160 lbs) ... I will admit I need to run more and stuff ..... But this topic helped to remind me that this November pow wow is coming up and I need to start getting back into shape and practice , practice, practice!
                            Oh god! And regalia! Jeeze! It takes me a year to make leggings *is exagerating* I guess I had better kick my butt into high gear and get it done before Nov. ... They kinda frown upon you going out in your boxers and leggings! And they don't beleive the excuse "My dog ate my dress!" LMAO!

                            [ October 06, 2001: Message edited by: LadyDove2 ]
                            ~*Dove*~

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                            • #15
                              To re-open this subject.

                              "Don't just vote for the nice outfits....there are plenty of good dancers who don't have flashy stuff." Well, in my opinion, those people have to work a little harder then, put in some more time to get the nice stuff. Everyone who has nice outfits started out the same way.....not having much, but worked their butts off to get the nice stuff. It has alot to do with paying your dues, putting your time in, before judges will look at you. If you have a nice outfit, then the judges will know how hard you worked, that you have alot of pride in yourself ~ TWO-CENTS1 ~

                              I agree with what two cents was saying, but I guess it just breaks my heart. I sit there and watch the Jr's and Teens Fancy, and I see that they give'er out there. They put their heart and soul into their dance steps. I think that they're very very good. Most often I see these girls out there during the intertribals, and grand entry, dancing their butts off, while the others save their stuff for competition. I also watch them during their competition and they completely give'er. I mean it's totally awesome to watch them. They even have smiles on their faces while they dance. & that just breaks my heart, because they aren't even given a chance because of all the so called "flashy" outfits. :( I don't know.. maybe my glass is half empty today (opposed to beinghalf full)

                              But hey.. what if their outfits are nice & "flashy" to them, but to you it isn't? I mean isn't beauty in the eye of the beholder?


                              :Angel2

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