Qualifications in Judges by Mily Sandalwood for Turian Gazette 120918
This is an article of Special Interest to Gorean dancers and was submitted by Mily Sandalwood.
Qualifications in Judges
By Mily sandalwood
Greetings dear readers
It has been some time since I last wrote an direct article about dancing, I have however been approached a few times to do so by other dancers who said they missed the articles. I was also introduce to Mistress Sophia editor of Turian Gazette and well here I am back in the dance pit on my soapbox again (metaphorically speaking)
Qualifications in judges is the name of this weeks article. This is often hotly debated and argued over in dance discussions. I thought for the point of this article I would simply ask in the dance competition group for people to send me their comments. I didn’t go into details on what or how. I felt it would be more interesting to simply see what each person had to say from something a bit more vague.
I am before I go into showing each response going to give you some of my own opinions. Now please remember as you read this, that we are talking of opinions. Mine and other dancers. You may not agree and I am not saying you have to. I hope however reading this will give you some food for thought. Perhaps even challenge your own opinions a little.
Personally I don’t feel a woman should judge in a dance event. There is a simple reason why I feel this way and that is I believe that the books time and time again supports the view that slave dancing was for men. Hence I feel that men are best placed to judge what is pleasing “ to them”. In Second life.. I am well aware that at times a woman who perhaps has danced herself or at least played with a hud may have more technical knowledge, and from that point of view I can see a reason for having a woman there. I can see the argument also that a slave who has danced will understand the process, and yes I can see the claim for a slave being better placed to judge how much effort there is put in a dance from point of view of dancing animations emotes. However I stand by what I said. Dances were for men and for me that still means we should have male judges. Thankfully I feel that there is a huge amount of judges willing to dance. (If you send me a im I will happily supply you with the list I have of names who have agreed to judge dance events both male and female ~ smiles. )
There is one quote from the books I think says this so wonderfully,
"These girls are not much good yet," said Ho-Tu. "They are only in the fourth month of their training. It is good for them to get the practice, hearing and seeing men respond to them. That is the way to learn what truly pleases men. In the end, I say, it is men who teach women to dance." -- Assassin of Gor
Men teach women how to dance. It says. Yes it might be a girl who is teaching you the basics,, the steps, and in second life how to use your animations where to get them, how to use a hud etc. However that is just the theory. It is the reaction of the men that will TEACH you how to dance. How many times have you heard a dancer say “ I dance for my owner first and foremost?” Well if that is the case then who is teaching you likes and dislikes? (yes I know we have dancers who are owned by females but there is an exception to every rule I think – and I know with some of those they admit they enjoy the male reactions to their dances)
For me personally slave dance is just so fully about pleasing the men. There for me personally I wish a trio of men judging. I know not everyone will agree with me here. In fact I have had some great debates with others about this but right now I am writing my opinion.
I have things that I wish for a judge to know. I will share some prior to the comments I received and go into others after.
I want to see a judge who has actually attended dance events. I am not talking once in 2003 here. I want someone who is around the current dance circuit. This doesn’t mean He has to be attending every event (I am well aware only I am that insane) but once a month at an event to watch and observe for me is a bonus/ good thing. Often when we have a judge he has a dancing girl anyway so we regular see people who judges often at events to see their own girl dance. I think that’s great as it will mean he has a really good idea of how much effort a dancer takes to write her dance.
I want a judge who understands about animations and lag. Here is where I get greedy. I also want them to be able to understand the difference between a poorly put together sequence and lag. I know many would not agree with me here, but I stand by my choice. In Second life there is a big difference between a poorly put together sequence where the dancer skids halfway across the dance pit and lag where the dancer is delayed in moving. For Design – N – Dance I wrote a little something about this at the request of one of the Judges. I will at a later article go into details a bit further but if you wish I am happy to hand over what I have so far.
I want a judge who knows the difference between UK and US spelling (I was once marked down on spelling it colour and honour)
I want a judge who can be impartial. Sounds straight forward doesn’t it? Thankfully most judges are
And finally for those of you who knows me this one was obvious it had to show. I want a judge who understands the difference between story dancing and dance faction. Now please note I am not saying I only want dance faction judges (though in my perfect Utopian Gor second life off course they are that). What I want is a judge who understands both types of dance. So we don’t get into the insane situation of a judge telling a dancer“ where was the story”.. errr.. Its a dance??? Not a story.. If a judge feels the need to ask this then it tells me they have no idea of dance faction and then actually we default to the one above. We have a judge who is not impartial not intentionally or because he has been lead astray. Simply because he hasn’t been educated on this point. I am even ok with a story dance fan judge. AS LONG AS. He understands faction and will judge that dance for this. That means animations, movements, and grammar plus ease of read (to name a few commonly used scoring issues) is judged from their own merit. Obviously a personal opinion is personal. However if you judge a faction girl low in everything because you didn’t like her dance then we are back at a judge who is not impartial. Due to this I want a judge who understands. He hasn’t got to LIKE. He has to understand so he can judge fairly. I know judges who are capable of doing this. They have told me outright “ I prefer story dances” I have also seen my own score cards and other dances who are dance factions card and know each dance has been judged fairly. If this happens we have a fair playing field for the dancers no matter if they dance faction or story tell.
Lastly I want a judge who is going to score me the highest...
Ok I am joking here but it would be nice wouldn’t it?
Lets see what the dancers who responded said.
~~Krystalfalls Georgia ~~
I seem to remember I have wrote something rather extensive on this particular subject before, but I will reiterate that there are many issues I have felt in the past with Dance Judges.
First and formost, as I have said before I feel that dance judges should have to go through the same amount of training through a class and be certified same as what I did to learn Gorean Dance, same as what Physicians go through to be of the Physician Caste, the Green Caste, in fact every caste in Gor has some form of training to go through before you are officially of this caste....
Why then do not people what will judge a dance not also have to have the same credentials? Have to go an learn what we learn so that they know what to look for? Am I the only one who sees the unfairness of this? Us girls work hard, we train, go to class, do homework, then spend more time in preparing a dance, working at it, finding the right music, making sure we have timing down, making sure we can as smoothly as possible transition our dance animations from one to another, re~reading and proof reading our dances for errors, typos an misspellings over an over an over again.....why then does a dance judge be afforded with such comfortableness?
If the answer to this question is because he is free, then this....this is wrong, it is a skewed view...
Which brings me to another thing, often I have felt that judges were biased to someone, for whatever secret reason, I have danced in contests where the rules were clear in that there were time limits, and post limits...and the girls what came in first place had both grossly disobeyed those, both time limit and post limit, while I had labored hours to make a good dance and still be within limits, because this was what I was taught, so that tells me that either they were ignorant judges, or they were biased, or worse even they were both.
I never will dance a contest again, ever with the exception of hayden and Mily what they have going because I trust them, or if my future Jarl enters me in one and I have to, I will attempt to dance in exhibitions when I can, but these are reasons why, I feel those what judge dance comps should have training, formal training and knowledge.
Raihannah of House of Brothers Kai kennels in Woodhaven
Respectfully written by Catalina Staheli with the permission of her owner, Master Bosk of the House of Kards.
Settling down in the tavern, chores done and a quiet lull for the moment, I can turn my thoughts to judges and judging. Mily asked me to write about my take on all of this and I admit...I needed some time to really consider the topic. Let it simmer for a bit before I began.
Gorean dance is an intricate process. There are so many bits and bobs that must come together in order to make a successful whole. Even now, almost a year later, I am still discovering and learning every day. And I'm not a slow learner. There's just so very much out there. The emotes, animations, music, spelling and grammar, emotions displayed, Gorean elements and so much more.
"Maureen, you make it look like work. I need to see the movement! Not the effort behind it."
- Center Stage (2000)
I once heard this quote from one of my favorite movies. And I think about it every single time I dance. I think about dance faction and story faction and making things flow with the expressive words, the right animations, tying it all together. And I know I am not alone.
And so we search all over Gor for people who understand how intricate and complicated Gorean dance is, those who can understand it and appreciate it. Who see the movement and can appreciate the effort that went into it. We scour the Gorean world for judges that fit these descriptions. Normally a competition will have three judges. Some say you should have only men. Some say only Free should judge. Some say open the gates and let anyone judge.
My personal belief is that I am happiest when I come to a competition and see three Masters sitting there waiting to judge. I am a a very strict By the Book Gorean. I'm not perfect. Not at all and I own up to my mistakes. But I do love Gor immensely and I want to live the Gor that i read about. i want my Gor to be that harsh, unyielding, barbaric, black and white Gor where actions have consequences.
"It is appropriate that a female slave be sexually alive, vital, and responsive. Surrender to your deepest needs, and desires, to your most profound and helpless passions, to those truths hitherto concealed in the most secret recesses of your body."
- Magicians of Gor, pg. 397
When I think of this quote and the dozens found throughout the books that mirror it, I almost worry that Gorean dance has been watered down. Girls are afraid in a whip dance to let the whip hit them. Someone might take offense. Girls are afraid to express full sensuality and heat. Well sure, when there's a dozen Mistresses sitting on pillows around the pit. In the Gorean context, dancing is not something that slaves do for all. It is something they do for Masters. In a slave's dance, she is opening herself, offering raw need, desire, passion. A slave is permitted to withhold nothing of herself.
However, it is hard to do this when you've got Mistresses around. When I look for judges, I look for a panel of all Masters. Those who have been a part of the dancing world. Those who can sit down and have a good discussion on dance. Masters who understand the technical aspect and also appreciate the beauty that one can see expressed by the sensual beast writhing upon the sands. And it should go without saying, but here it is anyway, that I want a Master who understand grammar and spelling. A judge needs to understand the language well in order to judge on whether a girl's dance can show that.
"They had taught me how to feel. They had required that I show my slavery, and yield to it, wholly and honestly. They would let me be the slave that I was, lovingly and helplessly. I loved them for it!"
- Dancer of Gor, pg 250
When I planned tavern nights in Rive de Bois, I faced a lot of resistance from the Mistresses who wanted to watch. They wanted to come to an IC event in a paga tavern and watch the sluts dance. What was I supposed to do? But in the end, this is Second Life, where we have all giggled as we watch Mistresses flock to within chat distance when a Master furs a slave. So we came to a compromise. The tea room was rebuilt close enough to hear the dance, while not being in the tavern itself.
And it is a concession. This is Second Life. But even in Second Life, I have my beliefs. I come with a warning label that says "Hardcore BtB Gorean". And my beliefs are not everyone's. And one of those is that a Mistress and a slave have no more right to judge a dance competition than a sword tournament. Even one Mistress who is a renowned Gorean in the dance world has said she does not believe a Mistress or slave should judge. This is Gor. It's not fair. It is what it is. Take it or leave it.
So who is the ideal judge for me?
Give me a Master who is literate, has an open mind, and knows dance. Are they rare? Yes. But are they around? Are they willing to participate and be those judges, fair and demanding? Absolutely.
I'm writing this on the request of Mily.
To make this short and sweet. Above all, whether your judge is a novice or a veteran, I think that they should be someone who will be true to the spirit of what the world of dance should be in Gor, and uphold all of what that should encompass. In this medium, that is not just how it makes you feel, but also the many facets of how someone portrays their picture.
But these are only the thoughts of a long time dancer & kajirae in both realms. I will leave the subjective opinion to your unique discretion...
Aislynn then added the following on a separate notecard
I realize I am of two minds primarily. But!
Firstly, in my own personal experience in the real life dance world, dance competitions are judged by people who are well versed or experts in the field of dance. Fellow dancers, teachers, choreographers, people who have been studying dance for a good portion of their lives. Why? Because they KNOW what dancing should be and look like.
So I feel experienced dancers themselves can make -excellent- judges. I think that while kajirae can be the harshest judges, because dancing IS their line of expertise, their insight on dancing is unmatched by anyone.
Back to my main thoughts.
Unfortunately with everything being online and typed out, it is not strictly a simple case of seeing someone's movements & actions, the expressions on their face, the sounds they make, the smell of their perfume, the color of their makeup, the way they can contort their body, or the grace in which they move. It is about who can paint the best picture to portray that.
Second Life Gor is not clear cut & simple. There are people who are in it truly to explore or learn. People who have read the books for years & "life the lifestyle". People who strictly Role Play out the books. People who are in it to manipulate, humiliate & get a quick lay.
Therefore I feel that on the one hand, someone should be WELL versed in gorean dance and dancing in general and Gor.
While dancing is geared to be for a Master's pleasure, I would much rather have a Free Woman who has been in gor for 10 years and knows what dancing should be, then a Master who's a month old to gor and is only in it to get a hard on, not actually delve into the technique and soul of what the dance presented before him is.
If a dancer brings forth a modern day pole dance, the Free Woman with 10 years of gor experience can look at that and go 'Umm yeah, no this isn't in the spirit of gor", where as the Master who's in it for a hard on might look at it and go "yeaaah baby".
So you ask me what qualifies someone to judge? I will tell you:
Someone who can be unbiased to the individual dancer.
Someone who knows what the dances in gor were.
Someone who knows & understands movement.
Someone who can be both stringent & shrewd enough to read an interpretation a dance & decipher whether it is truly gorean or off in left field.
ON THE OTHER HAND.
Dancing in Gor is not just about self expression. It is being sensual and being pleasing. Catching the eye of a Master. Demonstrating a desire, passion & ability to be truly what a slave can be.
So a dance should move you in some way. Therefore someone who is fresh & has never seen a dance before in their life might be better to judge that, then someone who has been regulating its protocols for years. It is an entirely different insight.
Dance is an artistic expression, yes even in Gor. Not everyone will interpret the work of art shown in the same way.
In a Real Word competition it is based on certain rules & standards, as well as how something makes you FEEL.
Because we are transmitting our dances via this flat medium, with only inflectionless words to be our portal to actualize what we are trying to create, it's even harder to judge. Critiques are not just based on what is seen & felt before one's eyes, but also on how things are said & written. Lack of spelling here, no "quotes" there & poor punctuation, can come across like a sloppy clunky ill practiced step.
Judging is subjective. My idea, your idea, and the stranger on the street's idea of the same dance might be entirely different. Something that might move me to tears, might move you into rage, and might move the stranger into boredom. There is no single simple right answer. It is a different reality & perception to different people.
It is not a black & white issue.
I think there is strong merit to someone being versed in Gor & dance (especially in the second life realm), but I also feel that someone who knows nothing of dance who just goes with their gut could be a good judge because they look with fresh eyes. Now, it can be possible to look with fresh eyes at each dance performance. But it is also possible to be tired & jaded.
So who is qualified to judge you ask again?
Above all, whether your judge is a novice or a veteran, I think that they should be someone who will be true to the spirit of what the world of dance should be in Gor, and uphold all of what that should encompass. In this medium, that is not just how it makes you feel, but also the many facets of how someone portrays their picture.
-Respectfully and humbly submitted for consideration by Iris ((Anara Lexenstar)), owned by Master Jarek SpiritWeaver, Ubar of Port Olni
Tal, Free and slaves!
I am a slave in the great city of Port Olni, and, of late, a dancer. I eased my way into the sands for the first time while training and, in spite of my initial anxiety and hesitation, soon found myself in love with this beautiful art. I am new enough still that perhaps many do not know me; if you have seen me dance, I pray that you found this girl pleasing.
In my time on the circuit, I have seen the best aspects of Gorean dance. I have been moved to tears and amazement by the beauty, creativity, expressiveness and talent of my sisters in bondage. John Norman tells us in Guardsman of Gor that “each girl, in her own way, brings the nature of her own body, her own disposition, her own sensuality and needs, her own personality, to the dance. For the woman, slave dance is a uniquely personal and creative art form” (page 260). I think of how often I have seen exactly that enacted, and I smile with pride for my fellow dancers who bring their hearts, souls, minds, bodies, needs, and all that makes each who she is to the pit every time they step forth. I think how often I have seen judges forced to make agonizing decisions when all dances are simply stunning works of heartfelt artistry, when none of us envy them their job. I think how often judges have gotten it dead-on right.
And also I believe I have seen the worst in Gorean dance. I have seen excellent dancers emerge from a competition baffled and utterly deflated. I wish to be clear that I am not concerned about a dancer who reacts petulantly and selfishly that a judge disliked her dance. But I have seen amazingly talented girls think of leaving the sands forever. I have seen unique, creative, courageous dances ignored while the same old thing receives the laurels. I have seen dancers receive wildly varying scores from a panel of judges. I have seen judges who simply should not be doing so, who lack any appreciation or understanding of slave dance.
Think me merely disgruntled if you will, but I assure you I speak not only for myself nor out of a wish for personal gain. I dance not for prizes nor even really for judges, but for my owners and for the pure simple joy of it. For that moment when I step into the sands and get to be nothing but me, slave heart and belly there for all to see. My owners tell me the only way they could be less proud is if I did not try, and I am certain many of my sisters hear the same from theirs.
You might ask, if this is true, why do I take the time to write this essay?
In the midst of all this, I think of the still recent loss of someone many looked to for guidance; of course, I speak of Master Samos. I think of what he said to us as he departed from among us. He appointed his girl, Mily, to carry on his work, to “preserve his gains” and he bid us all to “dance on,” knowing he would be watching. I did not have the honor of knowing Master; I know he saw me dance twice, and I know of him enough to be thrilled he thought I was worth watching. Whether we knew him personally or not, we know the dedication and the vigor with which he pursued the betterment of this art we love, that expresses so much of what is great in Gor.
I have sought out other dancers, and I have sought out judges as well, gathering feedback from those who know best the state of Gorean dance. I am extremely grateful to each and every one who responded to my desire to open a respectful and productive dialogue for the benefit of our art. I hope this essay will begin that dialogue, and that it will make him smile wherever he is now watching us. Perhaps that is presumptuous of me, but that is my sincere hope. Surely, it speaks volumes on what he did for Gorean dance that he influences and inspires even me who knew him so little. How sad would it be if all we have learned and gained is now lost?
I asked of my peers and of the Free who set themselves to the challenging task of evaluating our dances three questions, which are as follows:
What makes a good judge of Gorean dance?
What should a judge know about Gorean dance?
What can judges do to improve the quality of Gorean dance?
In the answers I received to these questions, I frequently heard words such as objectivity, an open mind, impartiality, professionalism and consistency. A good judge does not play favorites or allow himself to be influenced by a dancer’s reputation. He judges each dance as an individual performance. He applies the same standard and criteria to every dance he sees and does not hinder creativity and expression within that standard. He looks at the whole picture of how animations, music, emotes, timing, props and costume works together to create a dance.
A good judge knows what dancers know. He takes time to develop a meaningful expertise on the subject. He reads Dancer of Gor, reads Master Samos, and talks to dancers. He knows the difference between dance faction and story faction, and he evaluates each on its own merits. He knows contest rules, and he knows the book dances in their particulars. He knows what it takes to create a dance, in both its technical and creative aspects. He understands that in spite of our best efforts to cache animations, reduce lag and so on, Second Life sometimes gets the better of us anyway. He knows that sometimes finding an animation to perfectly express what is in our hearts to dance is not possible. He does not reward dancers who double post, speak typonese, gesturbate or cannot type without the overuse of ellipses. He understands that each dancer has her own style, and feels no need to turn us into cookie cutter kajirae. He understands that dance is not about masturbating in the pit.
That last one I will confess is a particular pet peeve of mine. I refer to Gorean dance as an art because it is. A kajira is undeniably a beast meant for the pleasure of men, but as a dancer she is also a trained artist. It is for this reason that dancers are highly prized among slaves: "Dancers bring high prices on Gor. Some slavers specialize in dancers, renting them, and buying and selling them” (Explorers of Gor page 343).
I do not intend to debate the place of unbridled female sexuality in dance because it so very clearly has its place. To again quote our source, “In Gorean female dance, the girl is expected, often, to satisfy, fully, whatever passions she succeeds in arousing in her audience” (Tribesmen of Gor pg 85). What I object to is the reductive view that it is the only thing that has a place. As one of my respondents so aptly put it, “Why should any of us sweat over our dances if in the end all we have to do is ‘move’ the judges and shake our tits?”
I also often heard from my respondents the desire for more meaningful constructive criticism. Many dancers request scorecards from contest organizers after the event, names of judges removed. We do this because it is our sincere desire to know what pleased the Free and what did not and why, because it is our sincere desire to learn, grow and improve. Because we are slaves and nothing fulfills us more than to know deep in our bellies we have been found pleasing.
How many times have we done this to find no real feedback? As one respondent put it, “without comments or feedback to go on, it’s just numbers.” Good judges give us something to ponder, something to hold on to, a springboard to spur growth. As Norman tells us in Dancer of Gor, there is no such thing as being fully trained because “There are no summits on the heights of love” (pg 129). If all we receive back is a list of numbers, particularly if they are widely different from one judge to another, we have nothing to use to learn to please you better next time.
Another respondent did say that it is not the responsibility of the Free to improve Gorean dance, which I can not agree with. We all have our role to play. However, she did say it is the job of dancers to use the feedback they are given to improve and this I wholeheartedly endorse. I can only say this means we need the feedback, and most dancers I know do try to do that. I think the issue is well-summed up in a question asked by one respondent, who said, “if our job is to please the Free, is it not theirs to teach us how?” Masters and Mistresses, we beg you to exercise your power to train us.
There were a number of other interesting topics brought up by my questions, but sadly I think I have not the room to address or include them all. Again, I thank all who replied, and I now submit this article for the consideration of Gor, hoping it is not the end of my dance career. I welcome all comments and questions, and sincerely hope this exploration will prompt an open dialogue.
There's a lot of stress that goes into running a dance competition, but there's also a lot of stress for the dancers. They work really hard on these dances, and many of them look to the judges of these things as mentors--or people that are there not only to judge them, but to help them improve. I've done a whole ten minute dance before and gotten a score card back with awful scores and absolutely no explanation. It is for that reason that I believe that, at the very least, those who judge a competition should be committed to being involved 100% in the judging process. To me, that includes telling a girl why you gave her the score you did, not just handing out a number.
I also think that judges need to at least have a little bit of experience with Gorean dance. This could be something as simple as being in the audience of a few competitions to see how they go, or having judged before. Is that how it happens? No, not always, but I don't think that someone who has never stepped foot to a competition before should be permitted to judge these girls, (some of whom eat sleep and breathe their dances), when they don't know a thing about dance in SL Gor.
I understand that it's not always possible to do that, but I can tell you from a dancer's perspective that it is a little unnerving to see a free man or woman who's never even been in the audience before, or a slave who's never placed a toe in the sand judge you. I think if you want to judge you should go to a competition, talk to a dancer, talk to a former judge. Talk to people with experience and be prepared to give of yourself 110% just like those girls do when they step onto the sands.
Girls put so much heart and soul, not to mention time and money, into their dances. A girl can easily spend 30 hours creating a dance. It is therefore so disheartening when a Judge is not as dedicated to Gorean dance. I know for a fact that there have been occurrences of Judges, for example, giving all girls in a competition straight ‘5’s out of 10 for spelling. All spelling is seldom equal, and seldom deserving such a low score. My feeling is that Judge was not being very serious about the judging. I know of another event where one Judge gave every dancer a ‘6’ for emotes. Considering one of the girls did not emote at all, I found that scoring to be careless. I think first and foremost, the most important qualification for a Judge is that he or she really CARES about doing the best they can. Caring includes watching the dances, reading the emotes, and giving sincere consideration to each of the scoring categories.
The second qualification that I think Gorean dance Judges should possess is, they should be authorities on Gorean dance. That includes having read all of the books and perhaps even having taken a class in Gorean dance in SL so that they can understand the challenges SL dancers face, such as animation limitations and fighting lag. I know of more than one instance where a Judge said a girl’s dance was not Gorean, even though it was taken straight from the books and performed identically right down to what the girls wore. My thought here is, those Judges obviously have not read all the books and do not know a lot about Gorean dance. At the very least, they should read Dancer of Gor. I think judging should be founded in more than personal whim. It should embrace clear criteria and in order for a person to be a fair and reasonable Judge, they need to know exactly what Gorean dance encompasses.
A third thought for qualified Judges is, Judges must be unbiased. They must keep their personal conflicts with certain girls (or their Owners) from affecting their judging of a dance. They must have the emotional maturity to leave personal hostilities at the door so to speak, and judge each dancer impartially. This is a tough one, as a person may believe they are being impartial, but are they? How well do they know themselves, and how well can they control themselves? How can we know if a Judge is truly judging impartially? A person will go crazy thinking about this, so best to simply leave it to individual honor.
The final qualification I think a Judge should have is, they should have a reasonable knowledge of word usage. A Judge who cannot spell or comprehend metaphor, simile, and definitions of complex words often does not understand what he or she reads in the limitations of emoted dance. I realize this is all but impossible, finding Judges who are all English majors! But it would help if they at least read regularly and had reasonable language skills. I do not think that someone who spells poorly should be judging another’s spelling. Also it would be nice if Judges kept in mind that for many girls, English is a second language.
I wish all Judges were as dedicated to Gorean dance as the dancers themselves are. But I know it cannot be this way. I know that Judges are often hard to find. Sadly, some of the most qualified people to judge Gorean dance that I have met are unwilling to do it. Therefore, I think as dancers, all we can do is simply dance. If we win or place yippee, if not we have hopefully at least pleased our Owner and added another beautiful dance chapter to our little book of dances we are writing. The experience and the creation has to be enough for us, otherwise we will find ourselves dancing for the wrong reasons.
Every judge has to start somewhere and I think the initial qualifications should be a love of dance and an understanding of how a dance is prepared. A determination to judge fairly and consistently is also a good thing, take every dance on it's own merit, judge the first dance of a contest the same as you would the last dance...most girls like to dance last...even ask to dance last as they believe the judges will find it the most memorable. Prove this theory wrong.
Know the difference between dance faction and story dances, don't be over-awed by large scene-setting props. Focus on the words, the animations and the meaning and perhaps you will prefer the dance of the girl who danced alone on the sand to the girl who danced as though she were in a palace.
Read the words of Master Samos...that man knew Gorean dance by heart.
Lots of comments here from very experienced dancers. One thing I think that shines through is their adoration for dance. We also see several comments about Master Samos.
He used to say to me “ I wish I could review the Judges.” And I responded “ ohh do Master do it would be wonderful” He would laugh and tell me not to tell Him what to do and then go on with His review. He knew this would be Him going a step to far, but even then the wish was present.
I am going to share a log of a im with Master Samos. I went to Him to ask how He felt about heated dances. This is from before He collared me.
Mily Sandalwood: i was wondering if you felt there is a place for dances that are not all heat and dripping desire
Samos Madrigal:A place to dance that is more subdued, you wonder?
Mily Sandalwood: yes i’m wondering would ALL the dances have been pure heated sex?
Samos Madrigal: hm, you have got me thinking
Mily Sandalwood: that is good Master :)
Samos Madrigal: well certainly the great majority were heated dances, look for example at pretty much every know book dance, they are all highly sexual. I am trying to think of the least hot of the bunch,
Mily Sandalwood: im not suggesting wishy washy story dances but i wonder if you could do something that was more sensual than dripping juices
Samos Madrigal: probably the story dance in one of the Jason books where the earth girl pretends to be her old earthly self, and gradually strips and submits, that one is quite tame i suppose
Samos Madrigal: i see no need for juices in every dance
Samos Madrigal: lol
Mily Sandalwood: there is erotica in the stripping though (and I was being crude smiles)
Samos Madrigal: yes yes true
(Then we got side tracked.. we often did smiles it was one of my favourite things about Him How He always kept up with my mind jumping along to other things)
But it does give a interesting point though. In the books do we see any dances that are not sensual/sexual? When we see the dance events that specifies this is not to be the case, or dances about other things than sex, surrender, sensuality. Are we really saying don’t be by the book? Or are we saying explore further? (Answers on a note card please) Can any of you think of a dance that is not sensual/sexual/erotic in some way from the books? Even hate dances can be very much so.
When we invite a judge in to judge, are we asking this judge to go from our earthen point of view? Or do we want a Man who judges as a gorean Man would? If so why wouldn’t there be some who would like the almost pornographic dances? We see a quote above that talks of how each dancer brings her own unique self. Why wouldn’t some feel this was appropriate? Would a Gorean Master mind this? Or would He rejoice? When we ask someone to judge. We end up with them having to make this decision likely unconsciously but it has to be made. Do we educate there or??
I think all the responses agree we want a impartial judge. A knowledgeably one. Some want English Majors I REALLY do not. Because for me that is saying “ non native dancers need not respond” I want dancers that have spell checked. But if the syntax is not 100% I don’t think that always takes away from a dance. Sometimes I think it enhances it. Also I got to admit personally (whispers I don’t always care if it is who or whom, a ; or a : -I just want to write! Sometimes for me the grammar gets in the way.) English native speakers are lucky here. But lets not forget some of the frankly amazing dancers we see who struggle through not speaking English perfectly. I don’t want to see their dances always judged poor because of grammar. I’m sorry to me that is not as important as the emotion, the desire, the description, the way she spend hours on end fitting the right animation. If all of that is equal to a native English speaker dance WHY should the other girl win because she happens to be competing in her own native tongue? Isn’t it a far higher achievement for the girl who has managed to dance as well as this other girl, NOT in her native tongue? I want a judge who can see through that. Sadly I know I am a lone voice there.
Often I have had dancers suggest to me. We need a school for judges. I disagree. Let me explain why. Who would “ teach” these judges? Would they be story tell fans or dance faction fans? Or are we expecting 2 opposing factions to somehow work together? Yes yes I know there are girls out there who claims to not be one way or the other. I have yet to meet one I feel truly is. I have met dancers who have a personal opinion they are able to put aside. But none of the few I know would be willing to do a dance judge school/academy. This is before we even get to the whole. A FREE being taught by a slave? All right so have Free do so your thinking? Who would do so? How many Free men do you know out there who knows about dance huds? Animations? Sequences? Not a lot ha? How many of them will ADMIT they know it? (even less ha?) So a Free woman?? Points up to the quote about men teaching women to dance. I simply do not think we can get a judging academy up and run that would be fairly teaching judges. I would encourage judges to come along to some dance classes. Sit in. Listen. I would love for them to try to write a dance (I know some have I applaud this one even allowed me the pleasure to see his dance it was FAB)
I agree with a lot of what Iris says in her paragraph starting “ A good judge knows what the dancers know” I don’t expect them to know all I know but I would like a judge who understands more than “ this is a dance pit” I would like a judge who has opinions, who has understanding and who is willing to seek to further knowledge if he doesn’t know.
I do want to touch on 1 thing that is mentioned a lot. Scores. Share your scores.. I am not 100% sure this is a good thing. I like answers to questions like
What did you like best?
Where do you feel the dancer could improve?
And even “ What did you like the least?”
I have several times now scored dance events.(as in done the calculations of the scores) After I have had girls tell me “ Judge 2 didn't like me He only scored me 6” Well yes compared to the judge who scored 10 that will seem low. But At times I know that judge didn’t score higher for any dancer than a 7. So relative that 6 is a HIGH score. Due to this I am currently toying with the idea of if we simply shouldn’t permit the actual scoring to be made public. Only the comments to questions like above? The problem we come up against here is. We often I’ve the judges 5-10 questions to answer. We want them filled in and then we want something deep and meaningful in answer to the above questions (or similar) and ohh can we have it in 2 mins please? Many judges struggle to do all of it as fast as we want. Perhaps we should be considering dance events with only 6 dancers not the 8 and 10 that is the norm? I have toyed with the idea of giving the dancer the highest score each judge gave out to give them a suggestion towards where they scored. But even that has issues. For example what if one dancer blew the judge away and he scored her a say 70. But the closest other dancer has only got 62? Then the dancer who has the 62 and gets told out of highest 70 will feel awful. Yet in fact he had her 2nd? Ok someone will say. So tell them where they placed for each judge.. Ever been that girl with all the lowest scores? Because I have.. What’s worse is I was in a public event where the scores were put up for all to see. It was tough to do. Took all of my inner strength to walk up to the dancer who won (Ebi btw) and give her a hug and congratulate her. I don’t want to be in a situation where we make a dancer feel her dance was the worst. So I am slowly coming round to. We need to give the judges a bit more time in between dances to score. And EXPECT answers to questions like above. Then only give them a total joint score (or an average that is being used in the upcoming Olni event I rather like this idea) none of the additional. HOWEVER if we do this. I want judges who are willing to after talk through with the dancer Why they commented as they did , where they felt improvement and why. Not by handing over some numbers but by actually communicating with the dancer. If a judge isn’t willing to do this. I don’t think He should judge. Having said that. Remember your role as a slave. It is not down to you to question the Frees decision. You can seek to better yourself. But ultimately they may simply have just not got or liked your dance. At that point you have to be able to LET IT GO. If you start getting into nitty gritty over the judging. Trying to decipher the scoring working out where that judge had you. You need to revaluate why your dancing.
Ultimately the judges scores are just “ that judges opinion”
Do I ask for a lot? Many would say I do. I disagree. I want a judge who is actually interested in gorean dance. Because if he isn’t. Why bother to have him here?
Thankfully in Second Life gor. I know we have many judges who are willing to do this. Long may this continue.
slave of Master Richard Ash.