C H R I S T I A N B A L L R O O M B I O G R A P H Y L E A D E R S H I P
    SERVICE IN LEADERSHIP
      PAVEL & SVETLANA
      TIMOTHY MASON
      EASIDANCE BALLROOM
     

Virtual Competitions
Timothy Mason interviewed by Martha A. Harper, June 2021

Conversations with several high-level dance professionals prompted this interview on virtual competitions. Events are rapidly being scheduled, but international travel is still somewhat restricted. The questions and comments below include consideration of organizers, adjudicators, and both professional and amateur competitors. Special thanks for time and responses from Timothy Mason.

Timothy and Michele Mason moved from England to the United States in 1990, represented the US in International Standard in major world championships, winning virtually all of the North American championships. They have been featured on television, including the PBS Championship. They are qualified examiners for the DVIDA Dance Association and are highly respected judges for the National Dance Council of America. They currently own and operate Easidance Ballroom, Tampa, Florida. https://easidanceballroom.com

Money

Martha: After the break in economy due to covid-19, there is an eagerness to restore cash flow for organizers and adjudicators through virtual competitions. Professional and amateur dancers are also sensitive to finances as many lost jobs and studios. They are selective where they invest their limited funds as they strive to refresh dance training and competition activities. Are the virtual competitions effective for all parties?

Timothy: So many businesses and people's livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic that everyone has had to adapt and think outside of the box to try to survive, and therefore for the competition organizers the virtual comp was a way to offer dance to the competitor and at the same time for them to generate some income.


Competitions

Martha: Are the dancers informed and assured of ranking and reporting across events for championship credits? Is it made clear to them if they choose not to participate in a virtual event that they will lose credits or points? (To competitors: Be sure to check with organizers regarding title and championship credits before registering for a virtual competition.)

Timothy: I cannot speak for who sponsors the events; that is information the organizer would have.

 

Judging

Martha: Is the scoresheet adjusted to carry more weight or percentage in designated areas since adjudicators are not actually on the floor with the dancers? Entrance has always been a serious part of competition preparation. How do you accommodate for that? Some dancers may be together or in separate locations. Do adjudicators allow for differences in floor size which affects choreography and movement? A major part of Professional or Pro-Am competitions is the performing and expression to the audience. Are you able to compensate for that energy in a virtual set-up?

Timothy: I don't think the entrance comes into play. Yes, you can sense the posture of how someone walks onto the floor. But no decision is made until there is music and a qualified assessment can be made. With everyone submitting their video from their own location, some competitors did a better job with the atmosphere and background. Whether there is an audience or not the dancers should be expressive within the dance, so whilst a different set up it still comes down to quality of dance.

 

Technical Set-up

Martha: How is the music synced for all dancers to score musicality equally? Who checks in advance to be certain adjudicators have hardware substantial to see the total picture? Is there an extended time allowance as computer screen size varies and camera focus may not provide equal viewing?

Timothy: I can say for the virtual judging I did for the Emerald Ball that we were told the technical requirements we would need before accepting the invitation. There were then 3-4 choices of a training session to go over the judging virtually. The technical support was there on the day if needed and the presentation was fabulous. A big congratulations to Wayne Eng, with the competition operating both live in person and for those who wanted the virtual competition. I cannot comment on the technical set up on the organizers side, but again I can reiterate that the presentation given to me as a judge was first class.

Go to Russian translation...

Copyright © Martha A. Harper
This web site was created by Denis Parfyonov