Dancing An Irish Jig

Screen Media Films is releasing the Irish dance documentary JIG in limited release starting this week. The film, by former television director Sue Bourne who makes her feature documentary debut here, is definitely indebted to famed Irish dance entrepreneur Michael Flatley, whose RIVERDANCE has been a stage and film sensation for the past two decades. In this film, hoofing hopefuls head to Glasgow for the 40th Irish Dancing World Championships, each with hopes of becoming the year’s finest high-kicker.

The film casts an eye over the ultracompetitive world of Irish dancing. As thousands of dancers, their families and teachers from around the globe descend upon Glasgow for the Championship, it becomes one highly charged week. Like so many other competitive events, the rewards are never financial, the dancers taking part purely for the love of dance and the prestige of victory. JIG covers the entire palette of a world that encompasses dedication, hard work, obsession, passion, success and failure.

With diamante-studded costumes costing thousands, this is no cheap hobby, and parents talk of remortgaging in order to finance their darlings’ progress. It’s an interesting insight into a world of fake tans, frozen grins and broken dreams — although the talent on show is beyond beauty-pageant standards and the dedication is remarkable. The film recalls the intensity of SPELLBOUND, an award-winning documentary a few years ago about young people competing in a national spelling contest. For more information, visit: www.screenmediafilms.net

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