Review: Jig DVD

Jig DVD boxSTUDIO: Screen Media | DIRECTOR: Sue Bourne
RELEASE DATE: 10/4/2011 | PRICE: DVD $24.98, Blu-ray/DVD $38.98
SPECS: PG | 93 min. | Documentary | 1.78:1 aspect ratio | 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound audio | no subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

JigDocumentary Jig does for Irish dancing what Spellbound did for spelling bees.

With its stiff arms and crazy feet, Irish dancing is an aquired taste, best known for Michael Flatley’s Riverdance. But Jig shows us the people who are passionate about the moves, and how precise and intricate those moves must be for the dancer to succeed.

The film follows a number of dancers preparing to compete at the 40th World Championship contest in Glasgow. They range from age 10 to adult, and they all want to be the best in the world.

Filmmaker Sue Bourne shows us that fans of Irish dancing are fanatic and dedicated. Teen phenom Joe moved to London from California to better study Irish dancing, and his father gave up his medical practice so the family could make the move. British Simona, in the 19-21-year-old category, has been competing for years and longs to make it to No. 1, a goal that has caused her mother to get additional mortgages so they can pay for the travel and costumes.

10-year-old Julia from New York has been obsessing about her biggest competition, 10-year-old Brogan from Ireland, going so far as watching Brogan’s YouTube videos to perfect her moves. And when Brogan qualified for “worlds,” she rushed to tell her sick grandmother who then passed on happy.

For many viewers, the passion of these dancers might be difficult to fathom. There’s no money in this; the champions get a trophy and bragging rights. But for Sandrine, a Sri Lankan teen who was adopted by a Dutch couple, he’d rather be Irish dancing than drinking, partying and doing drugs.

Despite the odd aspects of competitive Irish dancing — the girls wear corkscrew curly wigs! — the people showcased in Jig are fascinating, and in the last few minutes of the film, I was as anxious as the performers as we waited for their championship scores to be announced.

The DVD doesn’t have any special features, but the Blu-ray/DVD combo has bonus story segments, an interview with costume designer Gavin Doherty, a commentary by Bourne, another commentary by Bourne and eight-time World Champion John Carey, “The Dziak’s From Chicago” and footage of the Guinness World Records being broken.

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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.