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Ok...Without naming names and please not wanting a debate BUT I have been to 2 regionals this year so far one of them today and Im looking at the top of World Class and big scores and not getting it. I thought World guards were supposed to push the envelope. The winners I have seen Independent as well as Scholastic are far from setting new standards. I see tons of tossing, some with tons of drops and I know it's not just about drops.

I know lots of people in the audiance go nuts with tosses and tricks and so do I but Come on. Is it just me? hmmmmmm I saw more interesting shows and more pushing the envelope in A class.

Just my thought.

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Today's winterguard shows, especially at World level, tend to be boring and similar for very concrete reasons.

Back in the '70's they judged by the Tic System - judges just counted all the mistakes they could spot and subtracted a set amount for each tic from a starting score of 100. You could get zeroed out. This seriously discouraged any kind of risk-taking or creativity, and it was finally dumped.

Mid-'80's into the '90's, General Effect dominated the scoring system - GE being interpreted very broadly as entertainment value and the judging sheets rewarded such things as having a unique style, good show pacing (having well thought out high and low moments) and emotionally engaging the audience. The oriental design philosophy that "less is more" was often heard.

But there was always a cadre of folks who strongly objected, claiming that groups that did more equipment work should automatically get more credit. One old-timer liked to call this cadre "The Gun Club", probably because they seemed to most strongly object to all-flag shows scoring well and making WGI finals, even in World Class.

In this decade The Gun Club has been in the driver's seat. We've gone to a sort of reverse Tic System with a boneheaded philosophy that "MORE is more", automatically. Judges have been instructed, "It's like a piggy-bank - for every new skill you spot you drop another coin into the group's 'piggy-bank'." Ensemble work only demonstrates a few skills. No matter how ridiculously clean it is it's only going to earn a few "coins". But have all the performers doing completely different individual choreography and you can make "bank" with the judges, even if it looks like messy chaos to the audience. Forget "low" moments in show pacing, they don't earn anything - just floor-it from beginning to end. And GE judges have been told that it's all about "what makes winterguard unique - our equipment work", which tends to turn them into additional, but less than expert, equipment judges, who are more likely to recognize and credit weapon tosses than more nuanced choreography, so it's toss, toss, toss ad nauseam.

The current scoring system is almost as stultifying as the old Tic System, with a sort of perverse reverse logic. It's not the fault of the designers or judges, who are just doing what they've been told to do. Blame The Gun Club on WGI's board and their staff that writes the scoring system.

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Judges have been instructed, "It's like a piggy-bank - for every new skill you spot you drop another coin into the group's 'piggy-bank'." Ensemble work only demonstrates a few skills. No matter how ridiculously clean it is it's only going to earn a few "coins". But have all the performers doing completely different individual choreography and you can make "bank" with the judges, even if it looks like messy chaos to the audience. Forget "low" moments in show pacing, they don't earn anything - just floor-it from beginning to end. And GE judges have been told that it's all about "what makes winterguard unique - our equipment work", which tends to turn them into additional, but less than expert, equipment judges, who are more likely to recognize and credit weapon tosses than more nuanced choreography, so it's toss, toss, toss ad nauseam.

Um. Where did this information come from? Is it something you came up with on your own?

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Um. Where did this information come from? Is it something you came up with on your own?

Let's see . . . reports from the dozens of judges I know about what they've been told in training seminars, complaints from instructors and designers I know that they can't design the kind of shows they want to because the system won't reward it and they can't buck the system because it wouldn't be fair to the kids. This is pretty common knowledge and old news in my end of the colorguard world where people have been complaining loudly about these aspects of the system for many years. I do a lot of road trips every year in cars full of judges and the piggy-bank analogy is used all the time when (after a show) judges talk among themselves about how they rated and ranked guards. The WGI Adjudication Manual talks about evaluating "range and variety" of demonstrated skills - which inherently means keeping some kind of general estimate count and comparing totals. How on earth else are judges going to compare and contrast range and variety and decide who has more and who has less in order to rank and rate them? Do they actually keep a reverse Tic sheet? No, but they're inherently expected to keep a mental estimate - hence the omnipresent piggy-bank analogy.

I've been involved in WGI competition for over twenty years and spent a couple years on the WGI board. Every change in the judging system ignites controversy and the change to the current system was very controversial. I've heard all the aspects of the current system that I mentioned before debated hotly for many years. And the judges have to go through extensive retraining to understand all the ins and outs of the new system - and have to talk about it extensively among themselves and with other people in the activity to make sure they understand it. Which means they talk about it endlessly in front of me.

If you think my explanation of the current judging system is wrong, there's an easy way to prove it. Write an all-flag predominantly ensemble winterguard show, stage it and enter it in WGI World Class. I'd love to watch it but I wouldn't bet beans on its chances of scoring well.

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Let's see . . . reports from the dozens of judges I know about what they've been told in training seminars, complaints from instructors and designers I know that they can't design the kind of shows they want to because the system won't reward it and they can't buck the system because it wouldn't be fair to the kids. This is pretty common knowledge and old news in my end of the colorguard world where people have been complaining loudly about these aspects of the system for many years. I do a lot of road trips every year in cars full of judges and the piggy-bank analogy is used all the time when (after a show) judges talk among themselves about how they rated and ranked guards. The WGI Adjudication Manual talks about evaluating "range and variety" of demonstrated skills - which inherently means keeping some kind of general estimate count and comparing totals. How on earth else are judges going to compare and contrast range and variety and decide who has more and who has less in order to rank and rate them? Do they actually keep a reverse Tic sheet? No, but they're inherently expected to keep a mental estimate - hence the omnipresent piggy-bank analogy.

I've been involved in WGI competition for over twenty years and spent a couple years on the WGI board. Every change in the judging system ignites controversy and the change to the current system was very controversial. I've heard all the aspects of the current system that I mentioned before debated hotly for many years. And the judges have to go through extensive retraining to understand all the ins and outs of the new system - and have to talk about it extensively among themselves and with other people in the activity to make sure they understand it. Which means they talk about it endlessly in front of me.

If you think my explanation of the current judging system is wrong, there's an easy way to prove it. Write an all-flag predominantly ensemble winterguard show, stage it and enter it in WGI World Class. I'd love to watch it but I wouldn't bet beans on its chances of scoring well.

You are so right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been told the same .

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if you wanna see a world class show that is pushing the envelope AND reaping the rewards watch onyx. their show is the most layered and fresh show i have ever seen. they are doing movement i thought impossible from people who havent been trained for years in dance. and their equipment book is absolutely powerful and gorgeous. and they aren't just chucking equipment in the air. i have watch them several times live and a few times on fan network and i dont see them just throwing a bunch of tosses. it seems onyx is more about movement and doing something new this year and they are executing wonderfully. the crowd response may not be roof rattling but that is probably more because the audience is left speechless. i myself get goosebumps every time. Onyx...you've made me a huge fan!

another show that has taken me by suprise is blessed sac. while i enjoyed watching their show last year at championships i wasn't IN LOVE!!! this year is definately different. i absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE thier show!!!! subtly beautiful and the movement is AMAZING!!! im expecting good things this year from them.

SCV- exact opposite of sac. looooved their show last year. not so much this season. im immediately drawn in by their floor...but quickly find myself going back to looking at it over and over. the work was drawing my attention and the floor was too distracting. im hoping it is better live. i want to be a fan so bad :D

Edited by mr_mike09
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if you wanna see a world class show that is pushing the envelope AND reaping the rewards watch onyx. their show is the most layered and fresh show i have ever seen. they are doing movement i thought impossible from people who havent been trained for years in dance. and their equipment book is absolutely powerful and gorgeous. and they aren't just chucking equipment in the air. i have watch them several times live and a few times on fan network and i dont see them just throwing a bunch of tosses. it seems onyx is more about movement and doing something new this year and they are executing wonderfully. the crowd response may not be roof rattling but that is probably more because the audience is left speechless. i myself get goosebumps every time. Onyx...you've made me a huge fan!

I agree, Onyx is excellent this year. But... I have to say I got a little bored after watching an entire show of ripples, even though it is all impressive choreography that they are executing pretty darn well. I just wish they did some more ensemble work, that's my only complaint!

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I agree, Onyx is excellent this year. But... I have to say I got a little bored after watching an entire show of ripples, even though it is all impressive choreography that they are executing pretty darn well. I just wish they did some more ensemble work, that's my only complaint!

The ripples are no different than what any previous Onyx guard had in their show. Go back and watch some of those shows, there are lots of ripples. It's my guess that their design team likes the atheistic that ripple work brings to the program they are creating.

I have friends who also share your opinion, but personally, I kinda like the ripple work...especially as it relates to this program.

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Let's see . . . reports from the dozens of judges I know about what they've been told in training seminars, complaints from instructors and designers I know that they can't design the kind of shows they want to because the system won't reward it and they can't buck the system because it wouldn't be fair to the kids. This is pretty common knowledge and old news in my end of the colorguard world where people have been complaining loudly about these aspects of the system for many years. I do a lot of road trips every year in cars full of judges and the piggy-bank analogy is used all the time when (after a show) judges talk among themselves about how they rated and ranked guards. The WGI Adjudication Manual talks about evaluating "range and variety" of demonstrated skills - which inherently means keeping some kind of general estimate count and comparing totals. How on earth else are judges going to compare and contrast range and variety and decide who has more and who has less in order to rank and rate them? Do they actually keep a reverse Tic sheet? No, but they're inherently expected to keep a mental estimate - hence the omnipresent piggy-bank analogy.

I've been involved in WGI competition for over twenty years and spent a couple years on the WGI board. Every change in the judging system ignites controversy and the change to the current system was very controversial. I've heard all the aspects of the current system that I mentioned before debated hotly for many years. And the judges have to go through extensive retraining to understand all the ins and outs of the new system - and have to talk about it extensively among themselves and with other people in the activity to make sure they understand it. Which means they talk about it endlessly in front of me.

If you think my explanation of the current judging system is wrong, there's an easy way to prove it. Write an all-flag predominantly ensemble winterguard show, stage it and enter it in WGI World Class. I'd love to watch it but I wouldn't bet beans on its chances of scoring well.

I would have to agree with this for the most part, I have heard the same thing from judge friends and other instructors.

The only thing I would say to anyone making such strong statements is to sign your name..it gives credibility. Way too many anonymous people on here...if you are really sure and stand by your words, sign your name.

Thanks.

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I would have to agree with this for the most part, I have heard the same thing from judge friends and other instructors.

The only thing I would say to anyone making such strong statements is to sign your name..it gives credibility. Way too many anonymous people on here...if you are really sure and stand by your words, sign your name.

Thanks.

The problem with signing real names is that this a very sensitive activity where people almost never say anything negative in public (probably because parents would overhear) then carp like mad in private. In this kind of environment people are very thin-skinned and take umbrage at the least provocation, reading insults into all but the most innocuous statements. And nobody currently active can afford to risk stirring up resentments that could come back to bite them and units they could be associated with.

Was I really "making such strong statements" or is everybody just hypersensitive in this activity, possibly yourself included? Well, my original point was that people should stop blaming designers and judges for a certain amount of predictable sameness that has come to characterize many shows, especially World Class - the root cause is the current nature of the judging system. In World Class, judges have come to expect an endless demonstration of sky-high tosses - especially from units trying to make or stay in the top fifteen (the really top competitors are, of course, granted more artistic license). These consume lots of time, especially when, to demonstrate range and variety, they are done in all different sequences and patterns (demonstrating multiple skills simultaneously) . . . and then the show's over. OK, maybe that's a bit exaggerated. Throw in an ensemble flag closer.

A Class, despite a growing occurrence of six and seven rotation tosses, looks different because the judging score sheets emphasize demonstrating excellence in basic skills and even give much higher weighting to excellence over vocabulary. With judges not expecting as much stuff to be crammed into a show and not expecting the often frantic pacing of World Class, the designers have much more opportunity to program in highs and lows and extended ensemble work, etc. And they have a huge incentive to make their shows entertaining, appealing and memorable, in a conventional sense, because they need to make the judges remember them and pick THEM out of a huge pool of competitors whose basic skills often don't differ all that much.

I believe this was what the original poster was trying to get at. Here again I would note that the judging system and the private advice of good judges and successful designers are in close alignment in A Class, but they differ by actually reflecting reasonable public expectations and appreciation.

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