Roxanne Patruznick Talks about Le Grand Continental
I first learned about Le Grand Continental project through one of the White Bird dance programs. A friend posted it on Facebook which led me to the White Bird website. I was hooked immediately. I went to the first “recruitment session” for Le Grand Continental at Portland Center for the Performing Arts. Rather than calling them auditions, they referred to them with a much friendlier tone as recruitment sessions. This took some of the pressure off for me. The audition aspect of the process was deemphasized. We were encouraged to have fun and not worry if we made mistakes. Even within the friendly environment and encouragement, I was a little nervous. After the recruitment, I had to wait to hear back if I made the cut. I didn't know if I'd get in, only that I really hoped I would…
I got in!! When I found out, I was so excited. My first rehearsal was on Monday at the Portland Expo Center. If you’ve never been there, it’s a gigantic hanger-sized warehouse space, ideal for a large group. The room is quite hot with fans stationed all around. We were instructed to get into lines and rows. As we danced we did our best to keep the integrity of our lines. The choreography is constantly moving and turning in the space. The professional dancers are on each side of the square, so we can follow along with them at every turn. Each week we learn a new section of the dance. Each section has its own style and music. The first week was very challenging. Sylvian explained to us that he was teaching us the most difficult section of the dance first, called “India”.
When I first walked into the rehearsal space on the first day I was feeling a little apprehensive. I wasn't sure what to expect. I've had some experience performing in the past, but this seemed very different. There were a few people that I knew, but mostly it was a room full of strangers. By the end of the week I had met some new people and my apprehension had disappeared. After every practice I feel excited and inspired.