So I usually wait until Friday to post news from the Irish dance world, but this is too good to wait.
TLC announced today that it was going to produce an Irish dance reality show called “Irish Dancing Tweens”. It’s going to be done in the style of Toddler’s in Tiaras in that it follows different dancers from different schools – rather than Dance Moms which followed a set group of girls.
Here are some of the highlights from articles about the show.“Behind the military-precise team dances and fey-like solo routines is the harsher reality of the dance world- demanding coaches, competitive mothers, and hours upon hours of practice. Read more: http://tv.broadwayworld.com/article/TLC-to-Debut-IRISH-DANCING-TWEENS-in-Summer-2012-20111114#ixzz1djrrj98Q
So far not too bad and fairly accurate…“TLC is excited to share this subculture of dance with our audience,” said Amy Winter, TLC general manager. “Irish Jig Dancing is a global phenomenon and the series will reveal the world behind the sport in a compelling combination of heart and competition.” –Broadcasting and Cable
Not bad at all!“While I hear that the Irish dancing community is a totally unique area of expertise in the dance world, the series has a lot in common with other shows we’ve seen on the network. There’s the stress of stiff competition, a strict emphasis on the precision of the dance discipline, unique costume requirements, hours of practice, and, of course, fiercely competitive moms and coaches.” –Hollywood Reporter
A little concerning…The show will follow a variety of dance schools and each episode will focus in on several specific dancers as they make their journey from rehearsal to stage. Apart from coaches and long practices, behind every ferocious young lady competing as an Irish Dancer is an even fiercer mother. Stakes are high as these young girls lay it all on the line in the hopes of stepping into victory. Read more: http://tv.broadwayworld.com/article/TLC-to-Debut-IRISH-DANCING-TWEENS-in-Summer-2012-20111114#ixzz1djssiYn8
Alright… this could be a fiasco.
Adding concern is the fact that the series will be executive produced by Sirens Media who brought you The Real Housewives of New Jersey, I’m Pregnant and…, and Prison Wives. So, you know, classy stuff. However, TLC did also acquire the rights to show Jig which shows Irish dance in a very favorable light. Intense, but favorably. Hopefully that spirit will rub off on the show.
Being primarily a fashion-focused blog, I can’t wait to see their take on our Irish dance fashion. It can look absolutely absurd if you’re not used to it, but there are so many gorgeous dresses out there as well. And from a TV perspective, there are so many ways to spin it – the bling, the styles, the price, the allure of having a designer dress… the list goes on and on. Not to mention the wigs! It really is a reality show producer’s dream – it was only a matter of time.
Maybe we’ll get more behind the scenes glimpses of Gavin’s workshop. Or maybe, if the backlash from all the glitz is too bad, we’ll see dresses getting simpler and more traditional. I hope they show some of the older dresses with knotwork and some of the new dresses that incorporate knotwork. Show how we’re not just a beauty pageant – these dresses mean something to the dancer.
So, call me cautiously optimistic for now. I’m looking forward to seeing them showcase our hardworking dancers (though I’m a bit put off by them only focusing on girl tweens…) and our fun (if crazy) styles, but I’m nervous about it seeming Toddler’s and Tiaras-esque and minimizing the world that I love so much. This is not just a beauty pageant, though those elements are fun. This is one of the ways I connect to my heritage which I value more than almost anything. As a first generation immigrant, Irish dancing connected me to people who also loved Ireland and Irish culture – something that was much needed when everyone else didn’t understand why my dad couldn’t pronounce the word “three”… It gave me a family that supported me and challenged me to do my best in all walks of life. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. I really hope the show doesn’t lose track of that aspect of Irish dancing.
And maybe they’ll need the input of a Feisonista… A girl can dream, right?
What’s your take? Excited, nervous, terrified? Or are you even participating? What do you think people will say about the costumes? Will they love asymmetric dresses and military vests as much as we do?
Stay Fashionable, Feisers!