Strictly Irish Dancing premiered on American TV this evening at 10 EST (and now, midnight, if you missed it). Like Jig (which aired on TLC in Janurary), I had seen this show before. Shortly after this two-part documentary aired on TV3 in Ireland, some kind soul posted it in seven parts on Youtube so the diaspora of Irish dancers could see what the buzz was about. Again, like Jig, I wanted to watch it on TLC to see how they edited it to fit in an hour, and what parts of the documentary they chose to focus on, and what was deemed as not important. And also again, if you're looking for up to the minute account of the show, check out On My Toes!
The good things:
- TLC chose to focus on the stories of four dancers: Catie Foley and Jessica Hindley, Jack Quinn, and Claire Greaney. By whittling the show down from it's original length, TLC was able to focus on more of the drama and the back story of the dancers for maximum TLC drama. The show did leave out explaining all the technical aspects of dance and the historical context which is honestly probably only interesting to those involved in Irish dance.
- The editors did a good job of explaining the way competitions work, as well as quickly explaining things in a vernacular that non-dancer's should understand.
And the not-so-good:
- The show seemed to skip around a lot. The introduction of the dancers felt rushed. The amount of skipping around with the editing seemed confusing, and I'm an Irish dancer who has seen the documentary before! I understand the reasons for doing this (time constraint), but it really devalued the reasons of why I liked this particular documentary over Jig. (see below)
- TLC chose to play up the rivalries between dancers, specifically Catie and Jessica, which in actuality was not present in unedited documentary. The main reason why I was more partial to this documentary (other than I was there) was simply because it focused more on history of dance and costuming, etc. than Jig did. Jig chose to focus on dancer rivalries and it worked. With this show edited to be something similar, it felt bland, but that could have just been the voice over. (see below)
- The male announcer voice-over sounded like a generic go-to guy for any TV show. I know the "hidden world of Irish dance" needs to be explained to the people who are not familiar, but couldn't we have had an Irish voice-over announcer? Or maybe tried to explain some Irish dance terms? (I'm looking at you, 'call back'.)
It's great that competitive Irish dancing is still getting spotlight on a popular TV station. Hopefully this show keeps inspiring young and young-at-heart dancers to love and appreciate this sport. TLC's interest in Irish dance shows is all set to culminate in their eight-part "Irish Dancing Series" to premier in 2013. Is this the Irish Dancing Tweens we all cringed about and hoped would never happen? Or is TLC going to move more in the direction of Jig and Strictly Irish Dancing? Only time will tell...
Days till Os: 169