“IÉSEG Danse” on stage at the Zenith in Lille: “an emotion-filled experience!”

On Saturday June 22, 7 dancers* from IÉSEG Danse rocked the catwalk at the School’s graduation ceremony in front of almost 1,400 graduates and their families, who were spellbound by their performance, which was as much athletic as it was artistic. It was an emotionally-charged experience, both a reward and an achievement for this young association, created in 2019. We met up with Eloane KEREBEL (a Bachelor student in the Grande Ecole program), Gaston LECOUTRE (a Master in International Business student) and Mélissa MEUNIER (who is currently completing her gap year before starting her Master in Digital Marketing & Innovation next year), who spoke to us about this very special moment.

IÉSEG Danse à la Remise des Diplômes

Eloane, Gaston, Mélissa, after this wonderful afternoon, how would you sum up this experience in one word?

Mélissa MEUNIER : Without hesitation, intense, emotionally intense. Everything happened so fast, between the first rehearsals and Saturday morning, when we arrived at this mythical venue in Lille and discovered this huge stage… We had very little time to get our bearings, to rehearse together, before the show started… 

Eloane KEREBEL : I couldn’t wait! We jumed into it without hesitation, and unlike musicals (like Grease), there was only one performance… so only one opportunity to make the most of it! So I couldn’t wait to get there, to make the most of this unique opportunity! 

Gaston LECOUTRE : Physical! It’s not so much about the pressure or the number of people in the room, because in the end, we’re in our own bubble, and there were breaks between our different appearances on stage, so we had time to get used to the room and the pressure… But in the end, we did 4 very physical dances, which demanded a lot of concentration, especially the ones where we were accompanied live by the band… By the end of the show, I was exhausted! But, hey, we made it to the Zenith! At least once in our lives…  

How do you prepare for a show like this one when you were all doing an internship or on a gap year?

G.L. : Unlike the 2 musicals (Grease and Le Cœur ou la Raison), on which we worked for over a year each, here the time was very short and the performance required was completely different. We had already taken part in several competitions, for which we had created choreographies. So when we were contacted by the School in February, we started off by seeing which tracks we could reuse… and enhance, because here we had very specific instructions (particularly in terms of duration). Then, in April, things became clearer (number of runs, exact duration…) and we had 2 months to finalize our choreographies, learn them and organize our rehearsals…  

IÉSEG Danse à la Remise des Diplômes

E.K. : The biggest difficulty was organizing the rehearsals during those 2 months… Because we were all on work placements or gap year, in Lille, Paris or elsewhere, so we had to get organized as best we could. With Gaston, we both worked on the choreographies we were going to create. For once, we were asked to dance to whole pieces of music, something we’re not used to doing… So we went back to our choreographies, and enriched them to make them last the time the music was playing… Then we filmed ourselves dancing, and sent these videos to the whole group, so that everyone could learn them from a distance. Those who were in Paris tried to meet up in different venues to train together, and finally we all got together for a very… intense and intensive weekend, to practice together. 

M.M. : In fact, you don’t realize it when you’re not part of the troupe, but the preparation required hours and hours of work, both physically and artistically, every week from April until D-day… And rehearsing remotely, each of us on our own is great, but it doesn’t replace those essential times when we have to be together to see each other, look at each other, and learn to evolve together in a harmonious way..  

Creating these choreographies requires skills and a lot of imagination!

IÉSEG Danse à la Remise des Diplômes

M.M : Absolutely! And not everyone has this ability, which is why Gaston, Marine and Eloane are in charge of creating them. I’m a dancer, I’m a great dancer, but you need inspiration and, above all, you need to be able to imagine how your moves look in a choreography, and what that looks like for the audience… It has to work, it has to create energy, and that’s very difficult! 

G.L : After all, we’re still students, and even though we’re passionate about what we do and even if we’ve done quite a few shows and competitions, we’re not professional dancers… There are sometimes things we didn’t quite pull off as well as we’d hoped, but well, that was also the beauty of the live show! It made us smile at each other, and that’s good, it means we were making the most of the moment and were happy to be on stage… We’re very hard on ourselves, we try to deliver a tough, high-level performance!

And finally, after months of preparation, you get up on stage at the Zenith… That’s got to be quite a shock, isn’t it?

IÉSEG Danse à la Remise des Diplômes

M.M. : In fact, before dancing the first choreography, we had to get up on stage and stand for 2 minutes before starting to dance… And so, for those 2 minutes, we were standing there looking at the audience, and it was so impressive! But at the same time, it’s a good thing we had that time, because it made us realize what was going on. It’s a real pleasure to dance on stage, especially on such a big stage, in such a packed Zenith! As an artist, dancer or actor, to be on stage and to have such an audience is an incredible feeling, it’s amazing!

E.K. : We had a lot of fun on stage, and especially when you hear the audience reacting and applauding, it gives you energy, and you realize that even if there are little glitches, you’re experiencing something unique, and so it’s better to laugh about it, because it’s still a moment of joy. For example, on one of the songs, the band played for longer than expected, so we had to improvise the rest of the choreography… It was tough, it was hot, but we did it! In the end, it was all down to good memories!

For IÉSEG Danse, the Zénith is a major achievement, but you’ve also had a busy year… Tell us a little about the association. 

E.K. : IÉSEG Danse was created in 2019 by Majda FATH-ALLAH and Marion SEGLA. We’re present on the Lille and Paris campuses, and we currently have 25 dance enthusiasts. We’re here to promote dance within the School, and to showcase all dance styles and talents. We have 2 types of project: performances and competitions. On the performance side, apart from this ceremony, we’ve danced at the How I Met Your Start-Up competition, at IÉSEG Talents, at the Atelier fashion show and Défil’Cancer and, of course, at the Musical we organized this year at the Colysée in Roubaix, another legendary venue. On the competitive side, we represented the School at TEAMS (an inter-school sports tournament), WISU (the World University Championships) and the Tournament of Arts (the TDA), where we finished 3rd last year. All in all, IÉSEG Danse is a group of 45 dance lovers, of all dances, because we all have our own style. 

IÉSEG Danse à la Remise des Diplômes

M.M. : We’ve really stepped up our game in recent years, showing that dance is a real sport, with its place in sporting competitions. I was so happy to be able to do all these competitions with the association! Because a lot of people come to us and say that dance isn’t a sport. But once we’ve been up on stage, taken part in these competitions and even events like graduations, eventually they come back to us saying they thought it was great, and that they’d love to join us and give it a try… 

E.K. :

To get these results, it’s like all top-level sports: you have to know how to manage your two lives, as a student and as a dancer. So you have to learn to juggle classes, group work and all the demands of school, with rehearsals, competitions and all the demands of dance… It requires enormous organizational skills! When we were preparing the TEAMS competition, because we wanted to do something incredible, I spent my evenings the week before from 7pm and for over 3 hours, helping the dancers who were having trouble remembering everything… It’s a very big personal investment, but one that’s really worth it!

IÉSEG Danse à la Remise des Diplômes

How have you or will you apply what you’ve learned at IÉSEG Danse in your future professional life?

E.K. : First of all, we’ve met a huge number of people and talents that I would have never come across without the association. So it helped me expand my network beyond the people in my class. You also learn to hang in there and develop your organizational skills, your ability to motivate without irritating… and of course to manage stress.

G.L. : You also learn to trust others, and to get others to trust you. You learn to take responsibility, to know how to be in the right place at the right time, on the right subjects.

M.M. : When I’m older, I’d like to keep this artistic dimension in my job, and why not get back on stage… Next year, in addition to my studies, I’ll be going to the Cours Florent, and even if it’s theater and not dance, I don’t want to give up this part of myself, because it’s what keeps me going. So yes, later on, I’d love to be able to work on artistic projects, in music or theater, at festivals for example… 

Any final words to conclude? 

E.K. : I’m really proud that we all made it to this event together, and that we were able to dance together on stage one last time. When you see how the association has evolved in just 2 years, when you see all the talented people who have joined us, they really deserve to experience these moments! And I really hope that future students will continue to keep this association alive… Because my dream is that when it’s my turn to go to my graduation ceremony, IÉSEG Danse will be on stage again, accompanying me on the catwalk! I couldn’t imagine a better moment! 

M.M. : I’m really happy to have done my last performance with the team on stage at the Zénith in Lille, it’s a lot of emotions and a lot of sadness… I’m leaving a great team, which has built me up and helped me to grow. We’ve changed together, we’ve grown together, we’ve adapted to everyone… So I’d just like to say to future students, and even current ones, who are passionate about dance, or just curious about it, don’t hesitate to join the association! 

G.L. : IÉSEG, and especially IÉSEG Danse, has given me so much! I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t joined IÉSEG Danse, because the association has given me so much pleasure and helped me grow. I’ve met so many wonderful, passionate people, and I’ve been able to live this adventure to the fullest. There’s so much talent that deserves to be discovered at IÉSEG, and which doesn’t dare to put itself forward… I’m very proud to have been able to take part and help some of them to show themselves during all these competitions, performances and musicals, before finishing in apotheosis with this event…

* Romane AUBERT, Marine DUBOIS TAINE, Eloane KEREBEL, Gaston LECOUTRE, Mélissa MEUNIER, Rosalie RAIMBAUD, Coline RIGAUD 

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