The Continental XL Dance of Joy

The Continental XL is a dance group like no other. Under the direction of Sylvain Emard and to the accompaniment of DJ Mini, 200 dancers aged 12 to 72 line danced their way into our hearts at Place des festivals on Sunday afternoon. What makes this dance troop so special is that it is made up of both professional dancers and dance lovers.

Every age group of dancers had something to offer to the overall performance. The older dancers with their half movements showed grace, while the younger dancers exuded energy. I was also most impressed with some of the men, with both very slight and heavy set builds. They were beautiful dancers regardless of not having what we consider a typical dancer's body.

But what is a typical dancer's body? It made me reflect on who is responsible for defining the perfect dancer's line for both men and women. When I think of women, I see Karen Cain, and for men, Mikhail Baryshikov. A more recent cultural reference would be the nearly emaciated dancers in the film "Black Swan." Yet after seeing this performance, I can say that every shape has something to offer, and the dancers' joy and enthusiasm had an immense influence on their overall appearance.

The brilliant part of Sylvain Emard's choreography is that everyone could perform the dance, and the movements he chose, particularly the collective arm movements, were beautiful. Continental XL was a wonderful way to stimulate the general public's interest in dance and to show everyone that no one is too young, too old, too heavy or too short to dance. Three cheers for inclusion!

I'll bet Continental XL will have even more dancers in its troop next year.


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