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.
In 2009, Le Grand Continental® featured some sixty dancers at Montreal’s Festival TransAmériques. One year later, Le Très Grand Continental boasted 120 amateur dancers of all ages and backgrounds, guided by a hanful of professional dancers. Once again, the show was an audience favourite at the FTA. That was followed by a presentation in Mexico of El Gran Continental where disco, techno and country music became cumbia, salsa and danzón. In 2011, the concept has led to an entirely new piece. Making its world première at the Festival TransAmériques, Le Continental XL has a cast of some 200 amateur dancers performing at Place des Festivals.
Since then, New York, Philadelphia, Portland (Oregon), Ottawa, Boston, Vancouver, Ansan (South Korea) and Welington (New Zealand) were won over by this joyous work. Some 2000 dancers participated in one or more of those 13 editions, which attracted close to 85,000 spectators.
Very soon, the show will be back in its hometown in a brand new version specially created for the 375th anniversary of Montreal. In September 2017, Le Super Méga Continental will gather 375 dancers at Place des Festivals to celebrate the city where it all began.
The concept integrates local amateur and professional dancers of each visited city. Sylvain Émard travels to each city to direct an important part of the rehearsals with the local participants. He is assisted by local professional dancers who act like rehearsal assistants that are also part of the cast. The process takes place over a period of approximately two month, for a total of 18 rehearsal sessions. Also, the size of the casts can vary form one city to another.
A Sylvain Émard Danse and Festival TransAmériques co-production, co-presented by Quartier des spectacles.