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Répétition du Super méga grand continental

Dancing a gigantic Continental

A Montréal mosaic
Published on
September 11, 2017
For Montréal’s 375th anniversary, choreographer Sylvain Émard has brought together 375 amateur dancers of all ages and backgrounds will dance a gigantic Continental at Place des Festivals on September 15, 16 and 17. We met some of them at a recent rehearsal.

“It’s the first time I’ve participated,” said Caroline Joassin, ad writer and designer. “When I read about it, I was inspired. I signed up for auditions and thought, ‘Why not me?’ ”

375 citoyens se donnent rendez-vous 2 fois par semaine pour répéter

The 46-year-old mom didn’t think they’d take her. But from the very first audition, she was delighted with the project’s spirit. “I found myself with people from all kinds of backgrounds – a real Montréal mosaic!” she said enthusiastically.

An enjoyable experience

It isn’t Normand Miron’s first time dancing a big Continental. “I’m an expert in the art of suffering,” joked the digital media entrepreneur. It’s definitely a challenge, with at least two rehearsals a week for several months. Dancers have to break down the moves, memorize the steps, and stay upright and active for two hours in the evening after a day of work.

Le chef d'orchestre du projet: Sylvain Émard

“I did the XlL,” said Miron. “I also took part in fund-raising activities with Sylvain Émard’s troupe.” And this year, he took more time to participate in the event. “It’s such an enjoyable experience,” he said. “And it’s a way to get out of the house and a fantastic opportunity to move around!”

You don’t need to be a professional dancer to be part of the troupe, but you have to attend rehearsals if you don’t want to lag behind. “I never danced well,” said Miron, “but you learn fast. Even though we all dance in our own way, the whole act will give you the impression of a professional show!”

Square extravagance

The magic of the Gigantic Continental is the meeting of square dancing and contemporary dance, supported by the strength of 375 dancers.

“The effect of dancing in a group is impressive!” said Joassin. “I danced in my youth, but nothing like this! Here it feels like we’re going further with our artistic expression.”

Danser le continental... autrement!

Miron has the same impression: “Three-hundred seventy-five people tripping out on dance is magical! We’re tasting the extravagance of modern dance within the ordered framework of square dancing.”

“Le Super Méga Grand Continental” is a fantastic experience not just for the dancers at Place des Festivals, but also the public at large who will have the chance to attend during the weekend of September 15!

Grand continental

Square dancing enjoyed a revival when choreographer Sylvain Émard brought together 60 amateur dancers for the first Grand Continental in history at the Festival TransAmériques in 2009. The year after, there were 120 dancers for the Very Big Continental and then 200 for the Continental XL.

Are your legs jumping? Got dancing fever? Check out Sylvain Émard's Web site to register for the next auditions.  

Celebrating 375 years of history!
In 2017, Montréal will bustle like seldom before, as the city reinvents itself, lights up and looks back on its rich history. Revisit the history of our rich metropolis and discover the urban projects that will transform our living environment.
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