Question: Do the judges take into account or ignore small mishaps on the field – someone falling down and getting back up, a prop being blown over in the wind, etc.?
Answer: There is nothing on the score sheet that specifically deducts points for the things mentioned above. If someone falls due to the demands of the visual program (which happens more than you might imagine), the judge is more than likely evaluating how quickly that performer recovers from the error. If someone falls and immediately gets back on their feet and into the form very quickly, that is a great sign of good training and self discipline. If the mishap causes the performer to completely loose their focus and requires them 30-40 seconds to get re-engaged in the performance, then it becomes a distraction. As a spectator, I’ve sometimes seen recovery so quick that I often wonder if the judge even saw the fall in the first place! As for props blowing over in the wind, that’s a risk the designer takes when choosing to put those on the field. Whenever I used them, I tried to think of every possible catastrophe we might experience and have a plan to deal with each one. If a show is “effect heavy” and props are laying in the mess on the field, the effect being generated is likely not maximized. So while the program may still be very good, you wouldn’t expect the performance score of that program to receive maximum credit.
– Mark Culp