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Le Super Grand Continental

Sylvain Émard

The world’s most infectious performance event returns to the front steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art for an even larger spectacle of dance.


Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy
Philadelphia, PA 19130
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“The roar from hundreds of spectators went from loud to deafening as the choreographed dance began to take energetic life … It left the audience cheering for more.” Philadelphia Inquirer

“In every city the reaction is the same. The participants and the audience experience the same excitement and emotions… People somehow reconnect with the city they live in.” Sylvain Émard

The world’s most infectious performance event returns to the famous steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art for an even larger spectacle of dance.

A joyously big line dance by Montreal-based choreographer Sylvain Émard, Le Grand Continental ® wowed audiences during its run at the 2012 Fringe Festival and has garnered enthusiastic response across the world — from New York to Mexico City to Wellington, New Zealand. Fully realizing a blissful marriage between the pure delight of line dancing and the fluidity and expressiveness of contemporary dance, the celebratory event enlists hundreds of local people to perform its synchronized choreography in large-scale public performances.

Performed by a diverse cast of 200 Philadelphians from all ages and dance backgrounds, the expanded Le Super Grand Continental brings whole new choreography to a festive—and FREE—dance extravaganza at one of the city’s most iconic locations. After each performance, the crowd is invited to join the dancers as the performance area becomes a huge open-air dance floor.


Choreography Sylvain Émard Sound Martin Tétreault, Michael Kiley, and another composer to be confirmed Rehearsal Director and Dancer Sarah Gladwin Camp Rehearsal Assistants and Dancers To be announced

Photos (featured, Montreal 2017) Robert Etcheverry (above, Philadelphia 2012) Maya Daoud (below, Boston 2014) Robert Torres
Le Super Grand Continental has been made possible in part by support from The William Penn Foundation.


Le Super Grand Continental is a Sylvain Émard Danse and Festival TransAmériques co-production.


Le Super Grand Continental is part of the SPARK: Fringe For Young Audiences series of family friendly programming. The SPARK series is made possible by a leadership gift from the Virginia and Harvey Kimmel Arts Education Fund.


Festival Producers: Salem Shuchman & Barbara Klock
Festival Executive Producers: The Rotunda

About Sylvain Émard

Sylvain Émard danced for choreographers such as Jean-Pierre Perreault, Louise Bédard and Jo Lechay, before founding his own company Sylvain Émard Danse in 1990. His repertoire of more than 30 unique pieces has been critically praised at home and abroad. A recipient of numerous awards, Sylvain Émard often works as a guest choreographer in theater, opera, and film.

FringeArts interview with Sylvain Émard

May 2018

FringeArts: What inspired the first Le Grand Continental ®?

Sylvain Émard: As a kid, the first time I danced outside my home was at our church basement where there were line-dancing classes. Maybe that is why I was and still am fascinated by line dancing. To a point where I was often incorporating it (a bit more sophisticated I must say) in my stage work.  Then I came up with this idea of choreographing a dance piece that would mix contemporary dance and line dancing. At first I thought that this would just appeal to Montrealers because of the great popularity of line dancing here. To my surprise, I realized that although line dancing is not that popular everywhere, there is a desire for the people to get involved in an artistic project and dance is perfect for that. It has no language limitation. It is somehow universal despite the specificity of the style.

FringeArts: What do you remember about your show in Philadelphia in 2012?

Sylvain Émard: I have great memories of the performances in Philly. We had a fantastic group of participants and a great team of professionals. Very committed and enthusiastic. I remember it was raining on our first evening show but for the cast there was no question of cancelling the show. We waited a bit for the rain to calm down and danced in the rain. It was magic. For this coming edition we are expecting some dancers from the 2012 edition to take part again this year. I am looking forward to seeing them again.

FringeArts: What will be different about this show?

Sylvain Émard: It will be a whole new version, except for the Philly Soul section that was especially created for the city in 2012 and that I will keep in this year’s show.

FringeArts: How do different audiences react in different cities?

Sylvain Émard: In every city the reaction is the same. No matter the culture, the participants and the audience experience the same excitement and emotions. There is an obvious sense of pride to achieve such a challenge. People somehow reconnect with the city they live in.

Excerpt. Full interview coming soon to the FringeArts Blog.

Further Reading

Everyone’s Dancing in “Le Grand Continental” by Jonathan Stein, thINKingDANCE

Continental is Whitmanesque in its passionate inclusiveness. It joyfully welds social dance and popular music with a witty, sophisticated contemporary dance consciousness.

Read the full article