Stage Door News

Toronto: Fall for Dance North 2019 unveils its fifth anniversary line-up

Monday, June 17, 2019

Toronto’s premier international dance festival Fall for Dance North (FFDN) is thrilled to announce the momentous fifth anniversary edition, 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 present 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 showcase a phenomenal range of expression and creativity, including Brazil’s powerful Grupo Corpo, the remarkably gifted Indian classical solo artist Shantala Shivalingappa, the recently formed 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.

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 Tickets are on sale Friday, June 21 at 10am EST.

“As I reflect on the past five years of FFDN, I am extremely proud of the wonderfully supportive and engaging partnerships we have built across the city, excited at the tremendous growth we have experienced, and honoured at the enthusiastic reception Toronto has shown,” says FFDN Artistic Director Ilter Ibrahimof. “As we unveil our fifth anniversary season, we’re 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. With an added Sunday matinee performance, we will have more than 16,000 seats on offer, giving even more audiences the chance to experience the festival. We look forward to seeing our loyal FFDN audiences and introducing new patrons to the power of dance, as our footprint continues its expansion across the GTA.”

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 (Montreal) – 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, Pagarlava 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

Our 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 our Mainstage programs. Catch a behind-the-scenes peek at the creative working processes of our festival artists within the uniquely beautiful context of Canada’s busiest transit hub.

Habiter sa mémoire by Caroline Laurin-Beaucage (Montreal) – October 3–4

Within the confines of a transparent 12’ x 12’ cube, Montréal’s Caroline Laurin-Beaucage creates a four-hour dance in real time that plunges her back into the heart of her trajectory as a performer, inviting the public to witness a dance that constantly evolves under the effects of time and space. On October 3–4 from 12–4pm, Toronto audiences are invited to stay for as little or as long as they wish, to view this exceptionally intimate and engaging dance work.

THE BIG SOCIAL – October 5

A full day of social dance awaits... THE BIG SOCIAL offers an opportunity for the general public to 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 is a moment 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 (formerly the Sony Centre) and Ryerson Theatre.
  • 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.
Fall for Dance North 2019
Dates: October 2–6, 2019
Venues:MERIDIAN HALL (formerly the Sony Centre)
1 Front St. East, Toronto, ON

Ryerson Theatre
43 Gerrard St. East, Toronto, ON

Union Station
65 Front St. West, Toronto, ON
Ticket Prices:$15
Tickets and