For 10 weeks, more than 150 non-dancers trained like professional dancers, and this afternoon Le Grand Continental had its Philadelphia premiere at the foot of the Art Museum steps.
It was fantastic, a festive opening ceremony of sorts. The dancers wore their own clothes - everything from workout wear to sequins. Two women wore tutus with their sneakers. And why not? It might be their only chance to dance in a choreographed performance in front of an audience.
Le Grand Continental was also performed in New York this summer, and performers from that show took a bus to Philly to support their kin. (It goes next to Portand, Ore.)
The show was surprisingly polished considering many of the dancers were not trained in dance at all.
I attended several rehearsals to write a story previewing the show (read it here), so much of the dance was already familiar to me. But two sections stood out: the six minutes choreographer Sylvain Emard created specifically for this cast to a mix of Philly soul music, and a joyous dance for the eight children in the cast.
To add to the festive atmosphere, two bridal parties were taking photos on the Rocky steps. The music continued after the show, and one of the bridal parties did some of their own dancing alongside the performers.
The show is scheduled to repeat at 8 tonight (presumably dependent on the weather) and 4 p.m. Sunday. It's free and tickets are not required.