Online jigging competition showcases talent from across the country

‘I thought it was going to be a little tiny, local thing but it just blew up after our first jigger’

We’ve all heard of American Idol but a new online competition it putting a twirl and a spin on the reality show to bring us: Jigging Idol.

Champion jigger Ryan Richard came up with the idea after seeing similar talent shows on social media.

“Jigging brings out so much fun and just to add a little competition to that adds even more excitement,” Richard told APTN News.

Contestants competed for a cash prize in various categories including best traditional, best elder or, for the tiny tots, best jolly jumper jigger.

Richard created the last category to pay homage to his jigging roots.

“I just wanted to have a little piece of me into the competition and that’s how I started,” he said.

Over the course of a week dozens of dancers from British Columbia to Ontario submitted videos on Facebook or through email to Richard.

He would then post them on a Facebook page for the contest for others to see.

Richard, who is from Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation in Manitoba, was surprised to receive submissions from outside the province.

“I thought it was going to be a little tiny, local thing but it just blew up after our first jigger,” said Richard.

Unlike other online competitions where people win based off of likes or video shares, jigging idol relied on votes from a judging panel.

The judges awarded Felicia Morrisseau with top honours.

Morrisseau has competed in a handful of online competitions during the pandemic.

“This is just a nice way to continue showcasing your talent and just to keep on with the physical part of it as well,” Morrisseau told APTN the day after she won.

“I just really love dancing.”

Morrisseau is a professional dancer with the groups Asham Stompers and United Thunder.

She has been dancing for more than three decades.

“It just means a lot to carry on the traditions of the Red River Jig. It helps to influence the young ones either to get started or to continue on with the participation,” said Morrisseau.

The pandemic has cancelled all large group events in Manitoba meaning Morrisseau and her dance groups won’t be performing anytime soon.

She said despite this online competitions help keep dancers connected.

Richard hopes to host other variations of the contest in the future.

“Everyone can jig. There’s no wrong way to jig. So jig to health everyone,” he said.

The winners of jigging idol were:

-Best Traditional: Kate Boyer

-Best Original: Sarah Shuttleworth

-Best Jolly Jumper Jigger: Rylan Beaulieu

-Best Elder: Yvonne Wuttunee

-3rd place: John Ross Monias

-2nd place: Ashla Michel

-1st place: Felicia Morrisseau

Reporter / Winnipeg

Brittany joined the APTN news team in October 2016. She is Ojibway and a member of the Long Plain First Nation in Manitoba. Before coming to APTN, she graduated with a joint degree in communications from the University of Winnipeg and Red River College.