When is a crowd a work of art? When you make everyone in it feel like dancing. 

Events like 2014’s The Big Bang have given the Festival a reputation for putting on the best opening night parties, and 2016 is going to be no exception, with a 30-minute dance spectacular created by French-Canadian choreographer Sylvain Émard and performed by volunteers from the Wellington region.

Inspired by line dancing and contemporary dance, Le Grand Continental® is a mass dance performance. This unforgettable experience has been to cities around Canada and the US, and in Mexico and South Korea, and to bring it to Civic Square we’ve hand-picked 150 amateur dancers aged between 10 and 75 who’ve been trained by Sylvain until they can bust a move like the best of them.

After the official performance, the whole crowd will be asked to join in for a giant freestyle dance party with music from Chocolate Box Deluxe.

You dancing? Because we’re asking.


A Sylvain Émard Danse and Festival TransAmériques co-production.

Discover more

Gallery of Matt Grace show photographs. 

Gallery of Ireen Demut show photographs.

Gallery of Matt Grace dress rehearsal photographs.

"So did make me feel like dancing? Hell yes!" – Theatreview review.

Sylvain Émard interviewed on Radio New Zealand National's Nine to Noon with Kathryn Ryan and in ARTicle.

ARTicle dancer-blogger Jane Chewings' The start of something big, The best blind date ever, We have a show! and What a feeling!

The Dominion Post, 'Group dance brings healing and hope to cancer survivors'.


Friday 26 Feb


Civic Square

30mins with dance party to follow