Meet the stars of new documentary "Jig" - Joe Bitter - VIDEO
By: Kathleen O’Reilly-Wild | Published Saturday, June 18, 2011, 6:00 PM | Updated Friday, September 9, 2011, 10:17 PM
Five-time World Irish Dancing Champion and a star of Jig! The Film
Coming soon to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Toronto!
Joe Bitter is the real thing. Comfortable with cameras and strangers, wearing a smile that just didn't quit during hours of interviews, Joe exudes that stellar presence that helped him claim FIVE World Championship titles. Remarkably, Joe displays none of the inflated ego expected of a 17 year-old, particularly one with his amazing Irish dancing record and international fame.
Born and raised in California, Joe was smitten with American football long before he was introduced to Irish dancing. "I could throw twice as far and run faster than everybody, but I was too small," admits Joe. Watching his older sister dance and a Riverdance DVD peaked his interest, and Joe took to step dancing immediately.
In Jig!, Joe's father recalls that Joe won the first seventeen competitions he entered and often would roll up the carpet and dance for as many as seven hours at a time. Eventually, Dr. Bitter gave up his successful practice and moved the family to England so Joe could train with John Carey, TCRG, an EIGHT-time World Irish Dancing Champion. It is this kind of intimate look at the whole family's commitment that makes Jig! such a fantastic documentary about the world of competitive Irish dancing.
In New York for the opening of Jig!, Joe was excited to talk about the film and when prodded, about his own dancing and creative partnership with his mentor and teacher John Carey. Joe is preparing now for the North American National Irish Dancing Championships and finishing up at school at the same time. He does get to miss some school - and unfortunately some social events with his friends - because of dance, but he sees it more as dedication than sacrifice. He crosstrains with Pilates and at the gym. He looks up to the professionals who perform in Riverdance and Lord of the Dance, and hopes to join a tour when he's done with school.
In the film, a memorable moment is when young John Whitehurst talks about looking up to Joe in dance class; in another, Joe talks about wanting to be remembered for his set dance. Neither scene is one you will soon forget!
Jig! is scheduled to open this weekend in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Toronto. See http://www.jig-the-film.com/ for a list of theaters and cities, and put your request in for a showing in your area today!
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