TLC’s newest show, “The Big Jig” follows five American girls, all under the age of twelve, as they practice and compete for the 2012 World Irish Dancing Championships held earlier this year in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Worlds Competition is the highest competition in Irish dance.
The show focuses on the intensity and hard work required of these young athletes. 11 year old Grace Wright, a regional champ who started Irish dancing when she was five, practices five to six times a week. Another 11 year old models her work-out routine on Rocky Balboa, even drinking raw eggs. “The Big Jig” also shows how tough dance can be on the body. In one scene a girl rolls her ankle during rehearsal.
The show is focused on dance and though there are hints of stage mom behavior (the moms push their daughters to work harder and spend thousands on a solo dress) but the show keeps the stage mom to the sidelines.
The board that governs the World Championship worked closely with the producers of “The Big Jig.” Wright’s mother said, “The Irish dancing community is very well respected. It does not want to portray Irish dancing in a ‘Toddler’s and Tiaras’ light. To them, this is a sport. These girls are athletes. They want to protect that.”
Watch the trailer for the show below: