Street closures around the NAC during Ottawa Race Weekend
  • Choreographer Sylvain Émard

Propelled by indomitable energy, 20 dancers are surrounded by fascinated spectators, witnesses to the intrinsic force of the group, of a mass movement taking shape.

Bodies freely respond to hypnotic, essential music, revelling, almost despite themselves, in spontaneous movement, guided by a subversive impulse. A manifestation, a convocation or a ritual, this communion of spirits strikes a powerful chord as it captivates.

Fascinated by discos and dance halls and convinced that dance responds to a fundamental, irrational human need, with this work the choreographer presents a snapshot of a society in constant upheaval.

A tribute to the liberating power of dance, Rhapsodie celebrates the visceral and instinctive side of our nature. While the dancers respond to the rhythm of the music with fervent, swirling movement, what emanates from these transfixed beings is the essence of humanity undergoing profound change.


A prolific and internationally respected artist, Sylvain Émard created his own dance company in 1990. Ever since Ozone, Ozone (1987), his first solo, up to Rhapsodie (2022), he has been exploring the territory of human nature through the force and strength of the body.

Over the past decade, Montreal choreographer Sylvain Émard has won wide-spread acclaim for his work with large ensembles. Le Grand Continental is a unique piece Inspired by line dancing that featured 3,000 non-dancers in several performances across Canada, the United States, Mexico, South Korea, New Zealand, Chile, Germany and Austria, attracting some 125,000 spectators.

His repertoire now includes over thirty original pieces that have had a resounding impact all over the world. The quality of his artistic work has also given him the opportunity to collaborate as guest choreographer in theatre, opera and cinema. Sylvain Émard has received numerous prestigious awards, such as the Jean A. Chalmers Choreographic Award (1996). He is also co-founder of the Circuit-Est centre chorégraphique.

Creative team

  • Choreographer Sylvain Émard
  • Performers Lou Amsellem, Sophie Breton, Charles Cardin-Bourbeau, Matéo Chauchat, Félix Cossette, Marilyne Cyr, Marie-Michelle Darveau, Janelle Hacault, Mathieu Hérard, Kyra Jean Green, Christopher LaPlante, Alexandre Morin, Erin O’Loughlin, Mateo Picone, Raphaëlle Renucci, François Richard, Cara Roy, Marie-Philippe Santerre, Lila-Mae Talbot, Camille Trudel-Vigeant
  • Rehearsal coach Daniel Villeneuve
  • Composers Poirier et Martin Tétreault
  • Lighting design André Rioux
  • Costume design Marilène Bastien
  • Production manager Andrée-Anne Garneau
  • Technical director Audrey Janelle

National Creation Fund investment

The National Creation Fund’s investment of $165,000 allowed Sylvain Émard Danse to stage a large ensemble and collaborate with an expanded creative team. This work also benefitted from a greater number of weeks of residencies.


Partners: Danse Danse (Montreal), CEPRODAC/Centro de Producción de Danza Contemporánea (Mexico) and FringeArts (Philadelphia)

Sylvain Émard Danse receives support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and the Conseil des arts de Montréal.

Developed with support from the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund.

Performance dates

Past performances

Presented by Danse Danse Feb 22 - Feb 26, 2022 Studio-Théâtre de l'édifice Wilder (Montréal)
Presented by Danse Danse Feb 25 - Feb 26, 2022 Live streaming
Presented by Sylvain Émard Danse (benefit performance) Jun 4 2022 Circuit-Est centre chorégraphique (Montréal)
Mar 15 2024 Culture Trois-Rivières (Trois-Rivières)
Mar 20 2024 Le Carré 150 (Victoriaville)
Mar 22 2024 Théâtre des Deux-Rives (St-Jean-sur-le-Richelieu)
Mar 28 2024 Théâtre Hector-Charland (L'Assomption)
Apr 2 2024 Centre Culturel de Sherbrooke (Sherbrooke)
Apr 4 2024 Théâtre des Muses (Laval)
Apr 16 2024 Centre des arts de Baie Comeau (Baie-Comeau)
Apr 25 2024 Théâtre de la Ville (Longueuil)