In its fifth anniversary year Fall for Dance North (FFDN) will be featuring 11 companies and five North American premieres. The highly acclaimed dance festival will take place October 2–6, 2019, at co-presenter TO Live’s MERIDIAN HALL (formerly the Sony Centre), Ryerson Theatre in partnership with the Ryerson School of Performance, and Union Station.

FFDN will showcase a striking line-up of 12 works from 11 of the world’s most innovative dance artists across three thematic mainstage programs — including a special focus on international Indigenous artists at Ryerson Theatre. The 2019 festival will highlight a phenomenal range of expression and creativity, including Brazil’s powerful Grupo Corpo, the remarkably gifted Indian classical solo artist Shantala Shivalingappa, the North American debut of The New Zealand Dance Company, and Sweden’s Skånes Dansteater. Toronto’s emerging choreographic talents Caroline ‘Lady C’ Fraser and Cody Berry will unveil world premieres, which along with the festival premiere of FFDN artist-in-residence Anne Plamondon’s FIDDLE EMBRACE, will comprise three 2019 commissions, all featuring live music.

Ilter Ibrahimof_Photo by Darlene Huynh

Ilter Ibrahimof Photo by Darlene Huynh

Founded on the value that dance is one of humanity’s most universal art forms, Fall for Dance North manifests this belief and ensures accessibility by offering all festival tickets for only $15. The full festival line-up can be found at

FFDN Artistic Director Ilter Ibrahimof is delighted to present the very best in dance from Canada and around the world to Torontonians, including three FFDN commissions, seven live music performances, a world Indigenous dance focused program, and an increased number of free events at Union Station — this year showcasing a special all-day social dance on October 5.

Cover Photo: Toronto Dance Theatre by Hanna Kiel

Cover Photo by Omer Yukseker



Fall for Dance North 2019 Festival:

A signature mix of exceptional dance from Canada and around the world

October 2 at 7:30pm (official festival opening) + October 3 at 7:30pm

Toronto Dance Theatre (Toronto): GH 5.0 by Hanna Kiel
featuring live music by Greg Harrison

Independent choreographer Hanna Kiel created GH 5.0 with Toronto Dance Theatre (TDT) at the invitation of Artistic Director Christopher House. It was part of a project to reimagine selections from his choreographic repertoire for Toronto Dance Theatre’s 50th anniversary show Glass Fields in 2018. The original reference, Glass Houses, remains a signature House work from 1983. Kiel’s work is performed to live music by electro-acoustic percussionist and composer Greg Harrison and friends. Revealed in Kiel’s GH 5.0 as in House’s original work: the deliberate, persistence of a kinetic drive barely contained by the most tenuous transparency. A resilient life force, just behind glass…

The New Zealand Dance Company (New Zealand): Sigan by KIM Jae Duk
North American debut I  North American premiere

Exploring qualities of meditation and attack, Sigan evokes the traditional Korean martial art of taekkyeon in its movement vocabulary, which integrates the whole body in a quicksilver style. Choreographer KIM Jae Duk is known for embracing aspects of Korean culture in his work. He is both choreographer and composer for this piece, commissioned by The New Zealand Dance Company for their 2017 triple bill entitled Kiss the Sky. Currently, KIM serves as a resident choreographer at T.H.E Dance Company in Singapore and as the artistic director of Modern Table Dance Company in South Korea.

Skånes Dansteater (Sweden): Dare to Wreck by Madeleine Månsson and Peder Nilsson
North American premiere

In this highly nuanced duet, choreographed and performed by Madeleine Månsson and Peder Nilsson of Sweden’s Skånes Dansteater, the artists access a range of expression through both subtle and intense physicality. Intimate gestures and abrupt connections emerge fluidly as the dancers manipulate their bodies and Månsson’s wheelchair in extension and interaction with sensitive dexterity. Expanded and developed by Nilsson and Månsson, Dare to Wreck was originally conceived as part of the longer Skånes Dansteater performance CMe choreographed by Caroline Bowditch and Melody Putu for dancers with and without disabilities.

Grupo Corpo (Brazil): Dança Sinfônica by Rodrigo Pederneiras
Canadian premiere

In an act of turning back that is reflected in the movement motifs themselves, Grupo Corpo’s choreographer Rodrigo Pederneiras wove Dança Sinfônica from elements of previous works he created over the Brazilian company’s history, to celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2015. Styles and qualities shift and slip like kaleidoscopic forms: ballet, samba, jazz, tap, modern, Afro-Brazilian, swing and more. The original music, by Marco Antônio Guimarães, also weaves passages from previous works into an integrated symphony. Prioritizing original compositions, Grupo Corpo’s dance is a dense conversation between movement and music.

October 4 at 7:30pm + October 5 at 2pm

Shantala Shivalingappa (India/France): Shiva Tarangam by Shantala Shivalingappa
featuring live music
Canadian premiere
Madras-born and Paris-based, acclaimed dancer Shantala Shivalingappa has trained in kuchipudi from a young age, with her mother, Savitry Nair, and then with Master Vempati Chinna Satyam. She was the first to earn a Bessie Award in New York (2013) for a South Asian dance style, with her kuchipudi solo Shiva Ganga. The Tarangam dance showcases a great variety of kuchipudi steps, while portraying a chosen poem. This Tarangam is dedicated to Shiva, the Lord of Dance, with live musical performance including singing, flute, veena and percussion. Part of the choreography is danced on a brass plate, a special feature of this style.

Conversation by Caroline ‘Lady C’ Fraser (Toronto) – FFDN COMMISSION
featuring live music by re.verse
World premiere

Caroline ‘Lady C’ Fraser is widely known on the global street dance scene for her versatility. Having trained from a young age in ballet, jazz and tap, she discovered street dance at 15 and has never looked back, though her early training gives a distinct foundation to her styling. Originally from Calgary and now based in Toronto, she has garnered significant acclaim on the international battle and competition circuit. Live music, by the Toronto-based group re.verse, layers six-string electric base, electric guitar, keys and drums with blended beats, grooves and vocal tracks in an integrated set that builds and shifts with the dancers.

The National Ballet of Canada (Toronto): The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude by William Forsythe

featuring live music by The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra
In this signature work from 1996, William Forsythe takes the vocabulary of classical ballet — its verticality, balance and symmetry — and places it under immense pressure, generating high-speed twisting and torquing along oblique angles and skewed lines. The National Ballet of Canada’s dancers seem wound like springs; their limbs fling and retract instantaneously. Muscles and tendons hold spiral tension like the stringed instruments that deliver the triumphant final movement of Schubert’s Ninth Symphony, played live by The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra conducted by David Briskin.

FIDDLE EMBRACE by Anne Plamondon (Montréal) – FFDN COMMISSION
with dancers from the Ryerson School of Performance (Toronto)

featuring live music
Anne Plamondon’s process is driven by a quest for meaning, for revelation of her own truth and that of others. “When I dance, my body takes over, gets restless or gives way, reveals its complexities, driven by the vibrations of music or a troubling inner state … It is to find those moments of grace that I dance, again and again.” With FIDDLE EMBRACE, 18 dancers from Toronto’s Ryerson School of Performance fully commit to embodying Plamondon’s movement world with resonance and sensitivity. The festival premiere of FIDDLE EMBRACE concludes Plamondon’s two-year residency with FFDN, in partnership with Ryerson School of Performance.

An international selection of current Indigenous dance expressions

October 4 at 7:30pm + October 5 at 7:30pm + October 6 at 2pm

The New Zealand Dance Company (New Zealand): In Transit by Louise Potiki Bryant
North American debut  I  North American premiere

In this work, Māori choreographer, dancer and video artist Louise Potiki Bryant evokes a textured weave of earth and beings, of time now and time eternal. Highly gestural movement vocabulary connects to aspects of the kapa haka (Māori performing arts) and various rituals of encounter, including a duet that develops from the traditional sharing of breath in the nose-to-nose hongi greeting. Light-painted projections of forest and figures layer behind, between and across the dancers of The New Zealand Dance Company as they flicker and glide through the dawning dusk —in transit.

Mani.Deux by Northfoot Movement / Cody Berry (Toronto) – FFDN COMMISSION
featuring live music
World premiere

In honour of two-spirited people, Mani.Deux offers an abstract acknowledgment of the history and revived acceptance of this ultimately non-translatable, non-binary Indigenous identity. The term is connected to the Anishinaabemowin term niizh manidoowag or “two spirits.” Berry draws on these linguistic and cultural resonances in this work. The choreography develops through a sensual exploration of water/female and thunder/male, inspired by the quote: “The acceptance that I was looking for was in the culture I tried to run from.” Raised in Lac La Croix First Nation and based in Toronto, Cody Berry identifies as a two-spirited Ojibway contemporary dance artist. His work combines traditional knowledge (protocol) with conventional movement methods.

Jasmin Sheppard (Australia): Choice Cut by Jasmin Sheppard
North American debut I North American premiere

Jasmin Sheppard is a contemporary dancer and choreographer, a Tagalak and Kurtjar Aboriginal woman with Irish, Chinese and Hungarian ancestry. Based in Sydney, Australia, Sheppard uses art to speak for people who are denied a voice and to uncover an untold side of history. Her process is research-based, using historical documentation, poetry and prose and specific non-fiction work as a basis for context. She works in elements of irony and provocation to bring across truth in a powerful way. Choice Cut explores parallels between her experience as a First Nations woman and the colonization of the land known as Australia.

Bulareyaung Dance Company (Taiwan): LUNA by Bulareyaung Pagarlava
featuring live music by the performers
North American premiere

Bulareyaung Dance Company embraces Indigenous practices of the Taiwanese tribes, under the leadership of choreographer Bulareyaung Pagarlava. LUNA developed through field study at Luluna Village in Nantou County, Taiwan, and incorporates aspects of the pasibutbut, a complex polyphonic singing that is internationally recognized as a distinct aspect of Indigenous Taiwanese culture. In dialogue with the Luluna tribal people and with respect for the Indigenous traditions, Bulareyaung adapted the performing style of malastapang from the Bunun ritual praising the hunters’ achievements to, instead, dancers announcing their process of growth.

+ FREE Programming at Union Station
Unexpected dance encounters beyond the theatre
September 23–October 5

Open Studio – September 23–25
FFDN’s signature ‘dance studio without walls,’ returns to Union Station’s West Wing from September 23–25, for three full days of rehearsals and classes from select artists and companies from the Mainstage programs. Catch a behind-the-scenes peek at the creative working processes of festival artists within the uniquely beautiful context of Canada’s busiest transit hub.

Habiter sa mémoire by Caroline Laurin-Beaucage (Montréal) – October 3–4, 12–4pm
Within the confines of a transparent 12’ x 12’ cube, Montréal’s Caroline Laurin-Beaucage creates a four-hour dance in which she watches and reinterprets videos of her own past performances in real time. Witness a dance that constantly evolves under the effects of time and space. Stay for as little or as long as you wish to view this exceptionally intimate and engaging dance work.

THE BIG SOCIAL – October 5
Dive into the movement of three distinct social dance styles, all with live music. Featuring swing, tango, and Haudenosaunee (Indigenous) social dances, THE BIG SOCIAL offers a chance to learn some new moves in a beginner’s workshop and celebrate dancing together in a social setting, in the stunningly renovated West Wing at Union Station.

THE BIG SOCIAL is hosted in partnership with Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Lindy Hop Revolution, and Bulent & Lina Tango.

In addition to its ticketed performances and free programming at Union Station, FFDN features an extensive variety of ancillary events and programming that seek to enrich audience appreciation for the form and offer dance practitioners opportunities to enhance their craft and career. Activities in 2019 will include:

  • Complimentary master classes and workshops for dance artists and non-dancers.
  • The return of its popular artist talks, both at MERIDIAN HALL (October 3 and 5, pre-show) and Ryerson Theatre (October 6, post-show).
  • An International Presenters Program that connects local artists and companies with a network of international programmers, producers, and presenters. New for 2019, the Harbourfront Centre will act as the main hub of the International Presenters Program.


About The Author

CEO: Chief Entertainment Officer

René Samulewitsch @ReneandI is a globetrotter with a hunger for adventure, but at heart, he will always be an urban tourist with big love for Toronto. When not busy with his day job as a PR strategist, he spends his time exploring the city’s culture and entertainment venues. Rene has a passion for sharing experiences, and truly believes in the power of word of mouth. Favourite place in Toronto: Kensington Market in the Summer as there’s always something new to discover. Queen Street for the urban vibe and King Street to let loose and party.

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