Le Grand Continental

A Sylvain Émard Danse and Festival TransAmériques co-production, co-presented by Quartier des spectacles

Mix popular tradition and contemporary art. Combine highly festive line dancing with the fluidity and expressiveness of contemporary dance. When Sylvain Émard accepted the challenge of this unlikely marriage, he had no idea of the enthusiastic audience response he would unleash or of how extremely popular it would become. The marriage of art and the village fête has indeed been consummated.

In 2009, Le Grand Continental® featured some sixty dancers at Montreal’s Festival TransAmériques (FTA). The cast doubled in 2010 for Le Très Grand Continental once again at the FTA. It proved as popular as the original, as was El Gran Continental, the version presented at the Festival de México and based on Latin social dancing. In 2011, the concept has led to an entirely new piece. Making its world première at the Festival TransAmériques, Le Continental XL cast of some 200 amateur dancers performing at Place des Festivals.

Since then, New York, Philadelphia, Portland (Oregon), Ottawa and Boston were won over by this joyous work. Each of these editions staged 110 to 160 local non-dancers. 


The choreography has become richer and the intermingling of genres stronger, but the wild passion of the dance remains as dangerously contagious as ever. 

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VIDEO Le Grand Continental in New York City

VIDEO Le Grand Continental in Philadelphia 

VIDEO Making of Le Grand Continental in Portland

Le Continental XL at the Festival TransAmériques 2011

CHOREOGRAPHY  Sylvain Émard

PROFESSIONAL DANCERS Nathalie Blanchet, Maryse Carrier, Mark Eden-Towle, Geneviève Gauvreau, Jean-François Légaré, Alexandre Parenteau, Julie Siméon, Catherine Viau 

MUSIC  Martin Tétreault, DJ Mini, El Instituto Mexicano del Sonido

LIVE MUSIC  DJ Mini

LIGHTING DESIGN Bruno Rafie

PRODUCTION DIRECTOR  Marie-Andrée Lemire

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Gaëlle Créau

 

REVIEW EXCERPTS

 

PORTLAND

" Émard, a French-Canadian choreographer, has staged variations of the piece [Le Grand Continental] in Montreal, New York City, Mexico City and Philadelphia, earning international raves for the way it elevates line dancing into exuberant art. […] a delightful half-hour performance." Marty Hughley, The Oregonian, Portland, United States, September 28, 2012

 

PHILADELPHIA
" The roar from hundreds of spectators seated on the museum steps or temporary bleachers went from loud to deafening as the choreographed dance began to take energetic life with full-body gestures and synchronized shouts. It left the audience cheering for more.'' Jonathan Lai, The Philadelphia Inquirer, United State, September 10, 2012

"Le Grand Continental is a blast.'' Patrick Rapa, City Paper, Philadelphia, United States, September 8, 2012

"It was fantastic […]'' Ellen Dunkel, philly.com, site du Philadelphia Inquirer, United States, September 9, 2012

 

NEW YORK
Best moments in dance 2012  "… when the hundred and fifty participants in Sylvain Émard’s “Le Grand Continental” filed onto the plaza at the South Street Seaport, as part of the River to River Festival, and began dancing in unison. You knew it was going to happen, but, when it did, it was pretty impressive." Andrew Boynton, The New Yorker's blog, United States, December 17, 2012 

"Seeing people from all walks of life dancing together brings out powerful energy that is fascinating for the spectators looking on in open-eyed wonder. The dancers – amateurs for the most part – glow with the pleasure of dancing in communion with each other and with the audience." Émilie Côté, La Presse, Montreal, Canada,  June 25, 2012

 "[the dancers] are delightful to watch. [...] And the shy, flirtatious smiles many of them presented to the audience were absolutely winning."  Claudia La Rocco, The New York Times, New York, United States, June 25, 2012

 

MONTRÉAL
“…expansive, fun-loving, extrovert choreography… Staged in brisk evening weather this past spring on the esplanade opposite Place des Arts, Émard’s latest Grand Continental had smoothly coordinated lines of dancers moving happily to popular tunes. It was a grand sight. Both music and choreography were as infectious with community spirit as a holiday parade.” Victor Swoboda, The Gazette, Montreal, 21 October 2011

“…Le Grand Continental, a “swing your partner” line dancing extravaganza, a square dance full of contemporary zest that is performed by passionate amateurs who, since 2009, have been taking the public arena by storm. Infectious and festive, it has proved to be a big hit, and Sylvain Émard has been riding the rising swell of the irresistible Continental wave.” Catherine Lalonde, Le Devoir, Montreal, 16 October 2011

“Two hundred people dance their hearts out. What's not to like?” Paula Citron, The Globe and Mail, Toronto, 30 May 2011

« Delicious! » Georges Nicholson, Je l’ai vu à la radio, Première Chaîne Radio, Radio-Canada, Montréal, 28 May 2011 

“An artistic experience that has an undeniable social, human and collective impact. 210 dancers form a huge breaker, a wave that is sometimes caressing and sometimes wild and boisterous, but always captivating. A veritable feast with energy that is contagious.” Christian St-Pierre, Voir.ca, Montreal, 27 May 2011

“People can’t get enough of it!” Pierre Landry, Daybreak, CBC Radio, Montréal, 25 May 2011

“...it touched something deeper than the mere desire to put on a show – the sheer pleasure people get from dance.” Alexandre Vigneault, La Presse, Montreal, 21 May 2011

"[...] magical [...] The words playful, festive and public event take on their true meaning here [...] a little splendour [...] the spectators roared with joy [...]" Georges Nicholson, Je l'ai vu à la radio, Première Chaîne, Radio-Canada, Montréal, Canada, June 5, 2010


“An outdoor presentation by the Festival TransAmériques (FTA), [...] Sylvain Émard's Le Grand Continental, met with great public and critical acclaim.” 2009 year-end review, Voir, Montréal, Canada, January 2010

“[...] It was as though an entire village had assembled to tread the ground with infectious rhythms. This Continental combines styles (disco, rock, waltz) in a festive and lively blend. [...] The pleasure of movement spreads into the crowd of onlookers and throughout the urban surroundings. [...] an experience not only of the joy of dance and movement, but a social experience as well.” Jeu, January 2010

 “An enormous wave of pleasure flows from Sylvain Émard's Le Grand Continental. [...]a true declaration for dance at the very heart of the pleasure that it attains, both traditional and festive. ” Danser, Paris, France, October 2009

“It was a fun performance, rigorously choreographed with intricate arm and upper body phrases, and the dancers were extremely committed to their expression. The crowd loved it [...] ” thedancecurrent.com, Toronto, Canada, July 20, 2009

“Turning Émery St. into an open air dance space for Sylvain Émard's line-dancing demo, Le Grand Continental, was a stroke of genius that should be repeated.” The Gazette, Montréal, Canada, June 6 2009

“[...] the formula is a unifying and indeed energizing force. We immediately identify with the dancers, with the way they respond to the music and the rhythm, either on their own or with their partners.” Le Devoir, Montreal, Canada, 29 May 2009

 


CALENDAR

 

Mai 2014 – Le Grand Continental®, Copley Square, Celebrity Series of Boston, United States

November, 2013 – Benefit Event/El Gran Continental, Circuit-Est centre chorégraphique, Montreal, Canada

Octobre, 2013 – El Gran Continental ¡otra vez!, Plaza de las Tres Culturas, Mexico City, Mexico

October, 2013 – El Gran Continental ¡otra vez!, Faro de Oriente, Mexico City, Mexico

October, 2013 – El Gran Continental ¡otra vez!, Explanada Delegación Benito Juárez, Mexico City, Mexico

June, 2013 – Le Grand Continental®,Canada Dance Festival, Ottawa, Canada

September, 2012 – Le Grand Continental®, Pioneer Courthouse Square, as part of the 15th anniversary of White Bird, Portland, United States

September, 2012 – Le Grand Continental®, Philadelphia Museum of Art Plaza, Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, Philadelphia, United States

June, 2012 –  Le Grand Continental®, The Seaport, River To River Festival, copresented by The Joyce Theater, New York, United States

June, 2012 – Benefit Event/Le Grand Continental Mini XL, Circuit-Est centre chorégraphique, Montréal, Canada

October, 2011  –  Flashmob/Mini Continental, Piknic Électronique, Montréal, Canada

October, 2011 – Le Continental ARTV, ID advertisement created for the 10th anniversary of the TV channel ARTV, Montréal, Canada. Versions of 10, 30 and 60 seconds  broadcasted until 2016

May, 2011 –  Le Continental XL,  Place des Festivals, Festival TransAmériques, Montréal, Canada

April, 2011 – El Gran Continental, Centro Cultural del Bosque, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, International Dance Day, Mexico City, Mexico

March, 2011 – El Gran Continental, Explanada del Palacio de Bellas Artes and Plaza de las Tres Culturas, Festival de México, Mexico City, Mexico

November  2010 – 20th Anniversary Benefit Event/Le Grand Continental®, Circuit-Est centre chorégraphique, Montréal, Canada

June, 2010 – Le Très Grand Continental, place Émilie-Gamelin, Festival TransAmériques, Montréal, Canada

May, 2009 –Le Grand Continental®, rue Émery, Festival TransAmériques, Montréal, Canada