Judging is the process of scoring, marking or ranking competitors. Judges scores are then combined to produce an overall ranking to decide which competitors might go through to the next round or win a trophy.
Strong Ranking versus Weak Ranking
A judge has to produce data that is used to rank all the entries in a heat or round. There are two types of ranking:
- A Strong Ranking is a ranking without ties.
- A Weak Ranking is a ranking with ties.
Judges need to be able to rank all competitors in the time available. This then determines the type of ranking used for each round. The higher the number of entries the harder it is to rank the entries within the time available.
Where there are 8 entries or less, a judge can comfortably produce a strong ranking.
For more than 8 entries, judges use a weak ranking. Two common variations used in dance competitions are:
- Yes or No (Selected or Not Selected). This is equivalent to ranking competitors between 1 and 2 with ties allowed.
- Yes, Maybe or No (Selected, Alternate or Not Selected). This is equivalent to ranking competitors between 1 and 3 with ties allowed.
In some dance competitions, competitors are ranked across the entire round as opposed to within a heat.
In theory with strong ranking, one judge could theoretically judge an event, however with weak ranking one judge would produce ties. By having many judges and combining all their weak ranks we can come up with a strong ranking.
In practice many judges, usually seven, are used to judge the competitors. This also has the added benefit of reducing effects of any potential judging bias. Judge bias is inevitable in every sporting competition, in some ways this is even beneficial so long as the organiser chooses judges carefully. In Modern Jive competitions where the style itself is influenced by many other dance styles such as Ballroom, Salsa, West Coast Swing etc. we do not want judges from one particular style.
For finals we are aiming to get an overall strong ranking in order to award 1st, 2nd and 3rd places. Judges are required to give a strong ranking which will provide enough information to separate the entries.