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. In 2017, the show is back in its hometown in a brand new version specially created for the 375th anniversary of Montreal. Le Super Méga Continental gathered 375 dancers at Place des Festivals to celebrate the city where it all began.

Since then, New York, Philadelphia, Portland (Oregon), Ottawa, Boston, Vancouver, Ansan (South Korea), Welington (New Zealand), Santiago (Chile), Potsdam (Germany), St.Pölten (Austria) and Toronto, were won over by this joyous work. Some 3,000 dancers participated in one or more of those 25 editions, which attracted some 125,000 spectators.

In spring 2020, during this period of physical distancingLe Grand Continental – Living room style brought some joy to our homes. At noon on April 26, from Chili to New Zealand, hundreds of dancers filmed themselves on Facebook Live (or danced along with Sylvain), forming the largest ever online contemporary line dance. After this resounding success, a 2021 online edition became a must! One year later, Le Grand Continental 3.0 took shape.


November 2018 – Sylvain Émard Danse receives the CINARS International Collaboration Award with Potsdamer Tanztage and Santiago a Mil for the re-creation of Le Grand Continental®

October 2014 – Le Grand Continental® in Boston wins the People’s Choice Award in the category Best Nonprofit Event Concept—Budget Under $250,000 at the BizBash National Event Style Award, New York

June 2011 – Sylvain Émard is named Personality of the Week by La Presse/Radio-Canada for Le Continental XL



VIDEO Le Super Méga Continental - Les auditions (in French)

VIDEO Le Super Méga Continental - Les répétitions (in French)

VIDEO Le Super Méga Continental - Les jeunes (in French)

VIDEO Le Super Méga Continental - Le spectacle (in French)

VIDEO Le Grand Continental in New York City

VIDEO Making of Le Grand Continental in Portland

VIDEO Making of Le Grand Continental in Vancouver

VIDEO Documentary Between the Lines in Vancouver


CREDIT Le Super Méga Continental


MUSIC  Martin Tétreault & Poirier



PROFESSIONAL DANCERS  Maryse Carrier, Claudia Chan Tak, Stéphane Deligny, Mark Eden-Towle, Audrée Juteau, Nicolas Labelle, Nicolas Patry, Amélie Rajotte, David Rancourt, Julie Siméon, Catherine Viau, Daniel Villeneuve





"What caught the eye above all, when glancing across the massive dance floor, were the smiles and sincere joy animating the dancers. In light of such heartfelt commitment, the spectator feels deeply engaged by their gaze, by bodies energized by rhythm, caught up in the movement of these great dancing chains that intertwine and overlap, harmoniously complementing each other." JEU, Montréal, Canada, September 2017

"[…] a moment of dance, of beauty, of solidarity and emotion." Claude Deschênes on Twitter, September 2017

Best of 2015, Top 5 dance, Deborah Meyers, The Vancouver Sun, Canada, December, 2015

Best moments in dance 2012, Andrew Boynton, The New Yorker, United States, December, 2012

"Émard has staged variations of the piece [Le Grand Continental] in Montréal, 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, 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, United States, June, 2012

"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, Montréal, October, 2011

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

"An artistic experience that has an undeniable social, human and collective impact. […] A veritable feast with energy that is contagious." Christian Saint-Pierre, Voir.ca, Montréal, May, 2011

"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." Victor Swoboda, The Gazette, Montréal, Canada, June, 2009

"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." Marjolaine Zurfluh, Danser, Paris, France, October 2009




"An army of massive joy and delight. [...] 7 lines by 30 columns of concentrated happiness [...] Le Grand Continental is not just a simple choreography. Behind the anecdotal square dance reworked for modern tastes lies a very rich human experience that I had never previously enjoyed. And behind the choreographer is one of the most humane, gentle, gracious, inspiring, accessible and talented individuals I have ever met." Normand Miron, Montréal

"There are probably few human actions that have the liberating quality of dance. We move our bodies as we please in order to produce pleasure and delight. That is how dance can be subversive, for the dancer demonstrates that he is master of his body, of himself. If that person is accompanied by 149 others moving voluntarily to the same rhythm, the experience of freedom becomes a collective celebration." Emilio Montemayor, Mexico

"It’s like snowflakes out here – we’re all different, but we come together into one big happy family." Brad Faubion, Portland (Oregon)

"This has been the most incredible experience I have lived. I have never experienced the camaraderie that I found here, whereby I am your left leg and you are my right leg, and if you can’t do the step, then neither can I, because we need each other." Iliana Quinones, New York




June 10-11, 2022 – Le Grand Continental: alle tanzen, Vorplatz Festspielhaus,Festspielhaus St.Pölten, Austria (150 amateur dancers) 

April 2021 – Le Grand Continental 3.0 , Facebook Live

April 2020 – Le Grand Continental  Living room style, Facebook Live

September 2018 – Le Grand Continental®, Zentralplatz Schiffbauergasse, fabrik Potsdam, Germany (65 amateur dancers)

September 2018 – Le Super Grand Continental, Philadelphia Museum of Art Plaza, Fringe Festival, United States (165 amateur dancers)

June 2018 – Le Grand Continental®, Luminato Festival, Toronto, Canada (230 amateur dancers)

May 2018 – Le Grand Continental®, Potsdamer Tanztage, Postdam, Germany (150 amateur dancers)

January 2018 – Le Grand Continental®, Festival International Santiago a Mil, Chile (150 amateur dancers)

September 2017 - Le Super Méga Continental, Place des Festivals, Montréal’s 375th Anniversary Celebrations, Canada (375 amateur dancers)

February 2016 – Le Grand Continental®, Civic Square, opening the 30th anniversary edition of theNew Zealand Festival, Wellington, New Zealand (150 amateur dancers)

May 2015 – Le Grand Continental®, Ansan Culture Square, Ansan Street Arts Festival, South Korea (130 amateur dancers)

January 2015 – Le Grand Continental®, PuSh Festival, Vancouver, Canada (70 amateur dancers)

May 2014 – Le Grand Continental®, Copley Square, as part of the 75th season of Celebrity Series of Boston, United States (110 amateur dancers)

October 2013 – El Gran Continental ¡otra vez!, Plaza de las Tres Culturas, Faro de Oriente, Explanada Delegación Benito Juárez, Mexico City, Mexico (150 amateur dancers)

October 2013 – Le Grand Continental®, Palais des Congrès, Congrès Mondial sur la maladie de Parkinson, Parkinson en mouvement, Montréal, Cananda (40 amateur dancers)

June 2013 – Le Grand Continental®, Canada Dance Festival, Ottawa, Canada (115 amateur dancers)

September 2012 – Le Grand Continental®, Pioneer Courthouse Square, as part of the 15th anniversary of White Bird, Portland, United States (150 amateur dancers)

September 2012 – Le Grand Continental®, Philadelphia Museum of Art Plaza, Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, United States (150 amateur dancers)

June 2012 –  Le Grand Continental®, The Seaport, River To River Festival, copresented by The Joyce Theater, New York, United States (150 amateur dancers)

October 2011  –  Flashmob/Mini Continental, Piknic Électronique, Montréal, Canada (70 amateur dancers)

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 (108 amateur dancers)

May 2011 –  Le Continental XL,  Place des Festivals, Festival TransAmériques, Montréal, Canada (200 amateur dancers)

April 2011 – El Gran Continental, Centro Cultural del Bosque, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, International Dance Day, Mexico City, Mexico (100 amateur dancers)

March 2011 – El Gran Continental, Explanada del Palacio de Bellas Artes and Plaza de las Tres Culturas, Festival de México, Mexico City, Mexico (100 amateur dancers)

June 2010 – Le Très Grand Continental, place Émilie-Gamelin, Festival TransAmériques, Montréal, Canada  (100 amateur dancers)

May 2009 –Le Grand Continental®, rue Émery, Festival TransAmériques, Montréal, Canada  (60 amateur dancers)