“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 Design Martin Tétreault, Michael Kiley Lighting Design Dom Chacon Rehearsal Director and Dancer Sarah Gladwin Camp Stage Manager Jessica DeStefano Assistant Stage Manager Samantha Dugan Technical Director Scott Halstead Soundman Row Walters Rehearsal Assistants and Dancers Sanchel Brown, Edgardo Colon, Amalia Colon-Nava, Bethany Formica, Nick Jonczak, Rhonda Moore, Gabrielle Revlock DJ Emcee Elroy
Amateur Dancers Abigail Schnapf, Alec Chupik, Alexa (Sasha) Radtke, Alexa Asher, Alice Allsopp, Amy Lalime, Ana Radonjic, Angeles Gonzalez-Prado, Anita Nicholson, Ann Ehrich, Archelle Weston, Arianna Rom, Ashli Talley, Aubreya Lewis, Axel Bauriedel, Béla Levin-dorko, Bella Gibson, Bellisant Corcoran-Mathe, Beverly Agard, Bobbi Block, Bonnie MacMillan, Caraya Harris, Carol Purfield, Cassie Myers, Cat Aboudara, Catherine M Schmitt, Cecily Alexandria Chapman, Cherese Verdi, Christina Staab, Christine Mantey, Claire Shoyer, Claudia Levin-Dorko, Clifford Schwinger, Colana Tymes, Connor Harrison, Curita C Goode, David Calloway, David Chin, Debbie DiGiacobbe, Debbie Gerbec, Deborah Schuman, Deirdre Miller, Delaney McKeon, Ed Nace, Eileen Fisher, Elizabeth Piersol Schmidt, Ellen Dunkel, Emalyn Staab, Emma Bedoukian, Erica Wexler, Felice Schwartz, Frances Bartlett, Francie Woodford, Gianna Lerro, Grisel Garate, Helen Burke, Hydie Miller, Inda Hennessy, Isabella Greenfield, Jackie McLaughlin, Jae Hennessy, Jai Wexler, James Lemma Jr., Jane McDaniel, Jane Piecuch, Janet Pinkerton, Janis Moore Campbell, Jarmel Reitz, Jasmine Smith, Jeff Bullard, Jen Marvelous, Jenna McLaughlin, Jennifer E Greenfield, Jennifer Huth, John Kearney, Joseph Fong, Jude Robison, Judie Christiansen, Judy MacMillan, Judy Williams, Justine Sefcik, Kariann Heslop, Kate Spellissy, Kate Tejada, Katelyn Baron, Katherine Mui, Katherine Wohlsen, Kathryn Yumiko Kono, Katie Scheuer, Kecia Fong, Kelly Farrelly, Ken Warren, Kylin Mettler, Laila Michelle Clark, Laura Naden, Laura Paoloni, Lauren Brown, Lauren Bryant, Lauren Fanslau, Leeia Ferguson, Leila Cohen, Lid Reilly, Lilly McGonigle, Lindsey Clutter, Lindsey Huster, Lisa Marie Renk, Lisle Hummerston, Liz Baldwin, Liz Clark, Louisiane Verger, Luke Beauregard, Luz Rivera, Maci Brielle Haggerty, Madeline Winters, Margarette Mongeau, Mark Thompson, Mary Madden, Maura Sutherland, Max Vasapoli, Megan Meiris, Michael LaMonaca, Michele Stulman, Mike Healy, Nancy Frey, Nancy G Heller, Nancy Kelleher, Nancy Nieves, Nani Manion, Nani Shin, Natalie Margasak, Nicola Ingram, Nijah Famous, Nina Angela McKissock, Nina Giacobbe, Nina Sherak, Oskar Bauriedel, Patty Bulack, Pierie Korostoff, Rachel Crowley, Rachel Dumka, Rachel Weisberg, Rebecca Godofsky, Regan Buker, Rejoice Jula, Renee Kalandar, Rhoda Williams, Rosanne Sarkissian, Samantha Jeune, Sarah Greenblatt, Sebastian Hamilton, Selene Platt, Senaka Peter, Shayla Abdul-Wali, Sheri Utain, Sheryl Hand, Signe Spragins, Sogol Shirazi, Sonja Bekken, Sophia Abraham-Raveson, Sophia Levin, Stephanie Seymour, Taylor Frome, Tina Heuges, Tracia Smith, Virginia Hedges, Yelena Zeng, Yolanda Moran, Zakiyyah Muhammad, Zanna Yoshida, Zoey Bonfante
Photos (featured, Montreal 2017) Robert Etcheverry (above, Philadelphia 2012) Maya Daoud (below, Boston 2014) Robert Torres
Lead support for Le Super Grand Continental was provided by William Penn Foundation.
Le Super Grand Continental is a Sylvain Émard Danse and Festival TransAmériques co-production.
Additional support provided by Québec Government Office in New York.
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
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.
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.