This story is a bookend with Closer To Home #20 - Street Pianos.
So every year Boston hosts Celebrity Series, which offers up a marvelously-varied array of performances. A few months ago my husband and I, subscribers to the series, saw a sort of boutique circus from Australia, followed a week later by a majestic performance by the Los Angeles Symphony, and preceded last fall by a banjo extravaganza. There are dozens of choices of all kinds.
In 2013-14 Celebrity Series is celebrating its 75th season, and as a kind of birthday gift to the community, first the Street Pianos were brought in, last fall. Seventy-five fancifully-decorated upright pianos were scattered around the city with signs on them saying PLAY ME I’M YOURS, and people did.
Now in spring, at the end of this season’s series, as a final 75th birthday community extravaganza, the city was treated to Le Grand Continental. What is that? Choreographed by a Montreal dance company, it’s a big group dance, to be performed in public by amateurs. It’s already been seen around North America, and now it is Boston’s turn.
Naturally, being a lover of public spectacle, I went to see.
In Boston’s Copley Square, a small set of bleachers had been set up, opposite the grand façade of Trinity Church, reflected in the glass sides of the Hancock Tower. I snagged a spot on a bleacher seat, and bopped along happily with the music coming from a couple of big speaker towers. A couple of little kids rushed into the performance space between the bleachers and the church, and danced with abandon and elegant gesture for the gathering audience.
But then here they came! The crowd to the side parted, and in walked two long lines of dancers—112 in all it turns out—one facing us in the bleachers and the other toward the church. Big smiles all around! Yeah! AwRIGHT!
And did they dance! For thirty minutes people of all ages, sizes, colors, and sexes just danced their hearts out. There were athletic parts and sloooow parts, lying down parts and jumping parts, they danced in couples and in knots, they used heads, arms, hands, torsos, hips, butts, legs and feet—and I mean I am SMILIN RIGHT NOW to remember!
After it was over nobody wanted to leave, specially since they were still blasting music. I roamed around the performance space among exhilarated groups of dancers with family and friends, looking for my favorites for a shout-out:
The fabulous skinny Indian guy who insisted he was not a professional but whose port de bras (arm/hand position) was meltingly exquisite;
The tall lean red-headed woman in red whose muscles rippled;
The enormous Black woman who moved like a butterfly;
The white-haired guy who looked ecstatic through the whole thing as his sweaty shirt gradually came untucked from his pants;
The brown girl in the poufy red tutu;
The little kid, a boy of maybe 9 or so, who almost certainly has showbiz ambitions and almost certainly will achieve them.
I wish I knew their stories. I do know one thing about them, though, well, two things. They’re gonna miss all this. And they had FUN!
Let’s hear it for FUN!!