TLC Pairs Up With Competitive Irish Dancers on New Series (Exclusive)

Irish Dancing Championships 2010
Getty Images

It’s like Riverdance meets Toddlers & Tiaras. TLC is once again pulling the curtain back on a community most people know very little about. It has just ordered a new series about the competitive world of Irish dancing with the working title, Irish Dancing Tweens.

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“TLC is excited to share this subculture of dance with our audience,” TLC’s General Manager Amy Winter tells The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”

The network that has explored very unique worlds in Toddlers & Tiaras, Say Yes to the Dress, All-American Muslim, and Little People, Big World starts production on the new series this week. It has ordered eight episodes set to air in the U.S. in Summer 2012 and then internationally later that year.

The series, produced by Sirens Media, features several dance schools and each episode zeroes in on individual dancers during rehearsals, preparation, travel, and as they go toe-to-toe during competitions.

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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.

The network has also acquired the rights to air the feature-length documentary, Jig. Directed by Sue Bourne, the film captures an in depth look at the discipline via the competitors in last year’s Irish Dancing World Championships in Glasgow. TLC did not disclose the air date for the documentary.

The trailer for Jig can give you an idea of what we’ll see on the new series, Irish Dancing Tweens. Watch it below.

Note: A reader who teaches in this discipline has informed THR that the dance is more appropriately called either "Irish step dancing" or simply "Irish dancing."

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