10.24.2012

The Big Jig on TLC

My original idea for this post was to write out a whole synopsis of the hour-long special that aired on TLC nearly a month ago.  I realized after many attempts to sit down and actually transcribe my notes into something coherent that I simply do not have the hours in my day to do so with my teaching schedule.  The good news is I was still able to further condense my notes to give an overview of the show as well as my reactions below.  The bad news is that those dancers who are unable to watch the show due to being overseas still do not have a minute-by-minute blow of what went on.


I would like to first say that this show was very loyal to sensational TLC television.  There was lots of high drama, and I'm sure a tad bit of acting for the camera.  As far as an Irish dance documentary goes, there was nothing "new" so to say that Jig or Strictly Irish Dancing hadn't covered.  Honestly to me, they are all beginning to blur together, especially those which have been edited to show on TLC.

This show chose to focus on some new dancers: a hyperactive u10 Mid America champ Grade Wright, sisters Emily and Julia Marino, and Marina Flatley-Griffin.  And of course Julia O'Rourke who we have met before in Jig.  Grace and Marina dances under TCRG "Scary Gary" Healey, who the show played up as intimidating.  Grace is an active child who's mother Gary describes as a new parent who tries too hard.  Marina is of course trying to uphold family name, as her uncle is after all Michael Flatley himself.  Mom puts lots of pressure on her to do well.  Emily and Julia Marino are introduced in a montage of them practice at home in their garage with mom acting as dance coach for the moment.  The show really played up these sisters being rivals, even though they are in different age groups.  This was possibly misleading to non-dancers viewing the show.

The show as a whole really upped the ante for drama, adding sound effects in the editing phase.  One example that sticks in my mind is of one of the Marino sisters rolling her ankle at practice.  The editors adding that horrible crunching sound effect, as well as slowed it down and zoomed in.  This one act was also replayed four times.  I counted.  As the recipient of two grade three sprains in one year, this was cringe-worthy for me, and the injury shown was not that serious.

Another "high drama" part of the show occurred when Marina F-G was dancing her heavy round on stage at worlds.  Unfortunately, she collided with another dancer and it appeared on stage like she hurt her knee, but in reality only received a bruise from hitting the shoe of another dancer.  To me, the most annoying part was that The Big Jig spent many minutes on the collision.  I wish that less time was spent on the issue.  Yes it happened, move on, she still recalls and still places 14th overall.

Of all the little clips in the show, I was most impressed with the was the girls handled themselves at the awards ceremonies.  Specifically with the way Grace handled the computer glitch in the placements that resulted in her placing 14th instead of 9th.  To quote, "I was sad, then I Gracified it, and it was better."  Julia Marino also receives a lower placement than what she was expecting, and after a close up of her dramatic single tear at the results announcements, she states that, "I don't want to me the brat that cries."  Her mom is still proud, and believes that is what makes champions.  Julia O'R was happy that she was the top placing American in her group (4th), and said that, "If you've danced your best, you've already won."

Many clips of the show can be watched by following the links below to the TLC website:
Opening montage
Emily and Julia Marino
Marina Flatley-Griffin
Bumping into competitors

What were your thought on the show?  Did you think TLC remained true to the Irish dance world?

Goals: Stamina practices
Days till Os: 37

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