Poll Results: How Should a Jack & Jill Contest Be Judged?

Jack & Jill Poll Results


Well the results are in on our first poll. The question asked was:

Should Jack & Jills be judged as individuals in finals, as well as prelims? That would mean the final winners would be the best leader and the best follower, but they would not necessarily have danced together. What’s your opinion?

And the final results were that most people are happy with the standard method of judging used these days: 64% responded that they prefer a Jack & Jill to be judged as individuals in the preliminary rounds, then as couples in the finals. The remaining 36% would prefer to see Jack & Jills judged as individuals in all rounds.

Thanks to everyone who responded and for the interesting comments:

  • “I’ve also seen enough JnJ finals have a couple carried by one member to feel that it would be a more fair way to judge the comps. Could be worth trying out.” – Lee Broxson
  • “On one hand it would be good for dancers that had an unlucky matchmaking in the finals. But, on the other hand, I love the notion that “lesser” dancers can win because they act better as a couple. I’d rather promote teamwork than individualism. I’ts not a bad notion for a J&J, but I prefer the usual one.” – Jaume de Francisco
  • “I would prefer a true Jack & Jill; where participants are judged individually the entire time. The focus of finals during a J&J shouldn’t be how well you dance with your partner, it should be how well you dance!” – Robert Jemian
  • “I prefer judging as a couple in the finals. To me, Jack & Jill is about finding a good connection to a partner you don’t know. People who are able to connect and work well with the given partner should be placed higher than people who are good dancers with some partners, but can’t connect as well with other partners. It will pay a difference if you are lucky or “unlucky” with the partner you are given, but that is a part of the game. Also, if you judge individuals in a competition like Jack & Jill, there will be a lot more broken hearted people. In a way, you single out people as “loosers” if their partner win and they are not even top three. And if you win, its all about you alone. If you judge people as couples, they will always be two about it. If you don’t win, you have someone there with you. And if you win, you have someone to celebrate with who “helped you win”.” – Ellie Mariell Wenngren Ytrehus
  • “I’ve been in and seen a couple of J&Js judged this way, and I don’t like it as much as the standard of judging the finals as couples. I like the J&J format as being the test of a social dancer: you don’t choose your partner, you don’t choose your music, you just dance within the situation you’re given and make the best of it. I also agree with Jaume that teamwork is a better emphasis individualism. I’ve seen many J&J prelims where dancers are obviously (sometimes even obnoxiously) showing off while almost ignoring their partner because they know the individual judging will let them advance. I’d rather not see that in finals. To be fair, the point in the second paragraph is more about what the judges are looking for rather than whether they’re judging individuals or couples. I’ve also seen J&J prelims where good dancers do not make it to the finals after obviously showing off while ignoring their partner.I just think that, if you’re judging individuals and caring about teamwork and connection (as I think you should), the couple becomes a strong focus. It seems more straightforward to make that focus explicit and judge couples.” -Yossef Mendelssohn
  • “To quote several teachers and judges that I’ve discussed this topic with: “In the finals it’s all about finding the best leader. That couple will win.” It basically sums up how most JnJ compos are judged. Yes, of course the follow can add flair and styling, but with a lead who’s dancing under par she will never win. That’s why I’m for judging individuals and not couples.” – Svenn K
  • “It would make sense to judge individually if the finals included rotating partners. But that makes for a long contest. In my understanding JnJ judges look for solid swing outs and fundamentals in the prelim, in the randomly coupled finals we in theory have a more even field and therefore look for the creativity the two make as a pair. One part skill, one part random meeting, one part collaboration equals awesome crowd pleasing dance also equals essence of lindy hop as a social dance.” -Alexander Fernandez
  • “I think the best leader and the best folllower it is more objective result.” -Petr Makeš
  • “As far as I’m concerned, in the Jack’n’Jill, judging the couple of dancers gives the opportunity to every finalist to win the Jack’n’Jill. If only the best partner has to be judge, maybe it doesn’t need to contest: judges already know who are the best. Or maybe in the case of inividual judging, judges are the finalist partners too (Finalists Jack judge finalists Jill and vice versa)?” -Rija Ball
  • “As the name of the competition is Jack and Jill, not Jack or Jill, judging as pairs makes far more sense. If judging people individually, then that would be more suited to solo jazz.” -Jeremy Lawrence
  • “It’s supposed to be about the connection between partners so judging individuals makes no sense in finals…don’t mind the prelim mechanisms of individual judging as that is just trying to find the best dancers to be paired up so that the partner dancing can be judged.” -Michael Jonas

It’s definitely an interesting topic. Perhaps in future years ESDC will try out something new, but this year the vote is in, and we’ll be sticking to the traditional method of judging.  We might open the topic up again for further debate, after the 2012 contests are finished. And thanks to Laura Keat for a little history note:

“A “true” Jack & Jill actually is judged in the final round as a COUPLE. As I understand it, the original Jack & Jill contest named after Jack Carey, was started because he said he was the best social dancer and that he could take any partner and win with her (not despite her).”