Jig on TLC

Jig the Irish dance documentary premiered on American television this evening at 8. (If you missed it, it's on again at 1am.) Here are a few of my reactions. If you're looking for more of a blow-by-blow account, stop on by Moira's blog, On My Toes.

The Good:
  • Overall, the documentary was a good set up for the "Irish Dancing Tweens" show they have planned to premier this summer. The focus was on Julia, Brogan, John, and Joe. They were also able to edit the 99 minutes down to 60 without leaving anything important pertaining to these four stories out.
  • Lots of Joe Bitter time. Watching him dance, especially his hard shoe pieces, is a real treat. His rhythms are so precise and intricate. Even my sister (who tries to stay as far away from the Irish dance world as possible) commented that he's quite good. If I was about five years younger, I would be so smitten because not only is he a phenomenal dancer, he is quite good looking as well.
  • There was plenty of drama with the Julia/Brogan story. You can't help but root for both to win because they are both hard workers. The portrayal of their story is fun to watch: you have Julia (an American) who's parents will allow her to do things outside of weekly classes to succeed (private lessons, physical therapy, etc.), whereas Brogan (Irish) puts in a lot of hard work on her own.
The Not-So-Good:
  • Old people dance too! One of my favorite parts of the documentary is watching the Claire/Simona/Suzanne story. The trio of them are such amazing dancers because of life-long dedication. It's watching their stories that make me want to strap on my shoes and drill till my feet bleed (probably because I'm competitive). Because of this, I'm sad they edited this part out. On that note, I understand the reationale behind it: they are not teens and TLC only allotted an hour for the show.
  • Their music choice to dub over John's set was questionable. The music that is dubbed over Julia/Brogan's soft shoe round is completely out of left field. I'm sorry, Irish dancing gods.
  • People outside of the Irish dancing world were probably a little confused with the terminology and the set up of competitions. I feel they didn't explain much. Newcomers to Irish dance who did watch could definitely appreciate the dancing, but I also fear that it will draw a lot of comparison to "Toddlers and Tiaras" because of the costumes and stage appearance. Our parents aren't that crazy, right?
I hope the documentary brings in new interest in Irish dance, and starts to expel the public's image of us dancing in a line like Riverdance. It's a great dive into the world of competitive Irish dance, as opposed to seeing a choreographed show. I can't wait to see what TLC does for the "Big Jig" show...

Goals: work on left side of Kilkenny step
Days till NANs: 177


  1. Anonymous8.1.12

    CLRG and IDTANA have pulled the plug on the T.V. show. The show will still take place but with a different organization.

  2. I have heard this somewhere, and I was a little relieved to read it. No matter the organization, I'm sure there are similarities with costuming and other aspects of dance that can cause drama and make a show interesting to the audience. You also have to remember that regardless of the organization, dancers at the top of their form have dedicated years of work, and I hope the TLC show recognizes this.

    For those of us who are CLRG dancers, it will be cool to look in and see what other organizations are like and see what differs and what stays the same. I am excited for this aspect!

  3. Anonymous9.1.12

    Sara - is this true??? I will be so relieved to know that they are not going to trash what all of the dancers work so hard for - you know it will only be a show of crazy moms and whiny dancers...whihc really is not the true heart of ID and those of you that dance, even though competitively, because you love it! Mrs. O'Keefe

  4. Mrs. OK-- I haven't seen this confirmed anywhere "official." I guess we won't really know what the show will be like until they air it, and hope for the best until then.

  5. Anonymous16.1.12

    Sad but true. Trust me, I have inside knowledge of American television. TLC will absolutely want another Toddlers & Tiaras. They will say they want to treat it with respect and no doubt the first cut will probably be close to that. But as soon as it gets to a network exec, the show will be entirely reworked to show crazy parents and kids having tantrums (or at least cut and narrated to be that way).

    You should be glad Jig was not slathered in VO to explain every thing and just let the people tell the story. If you don't know what something is, look it up. As for cutting out the older kids, the original documentary is 90 minutes long, and it had to be cut down to 43 minutes. Somethings going to go. So you either short change everyone to fit all the kids in, or concentrate on the few that you can tell the whole story.

  6. Anonymous16.1.12

    I am an American, who stumbled on this site by way of Google. I have zero knowledge of the Irish Dance World. Jig was my first exposure to it. I LOVED IT. What I saw depicted was a glimpse of 4 children with passion and love for dance. It showed dedication. And it showed parents love. I never felt once like this dance world resembled the craziness of Toddlers and Tiaras. What it did was left me wanting to see more of these amazing children who have amazing talent. It would have been nice to see what older people achieve if these kids were so good. I thought they were mind blowing.


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