Press Release

Ilter Ibrahimof to Step Down as Founding Artistic Director of Fall for Dance North

The FFDN Board of Directors has engaged Martin Bragg & Associates to lead the national search for the new Artistic Director

Toronto, ON - After a decade of visionary leadership at the helm of Toronto’s premier international dance festival, Fall for Dance North (FFDN), Ilter Ibrahimof is stepping down as Artistic Director in October 2024, following its 10th anniversary edition.

"When we first presented FFDN in 2015, we were thrilled to bring never-before-seen experiences to Toronto based on, and with the blessing of, a similarly named festival in New York City. Their affordable, gala-style model made professional dance more accessible and inclusive. But that was just the start. Since then, FFDN has stepped into its own identity,” says Ibrahimof. “I am immensely proud of the connections and partnerships that we have built during my tenure to realize the original vision. I am also grateful to the FFDN team – they are smart, creative, resilient and I value the perspectives of each and every individual. Programming the 10th anniversary festival feels like one final curtain call before passing the torch on to the company’s next steward. I am a tremendous believer in the potential of what’s next. The festival was built around artists who see the world in new ways, which allows us to see in new ways, too. I look forward - with great anticipation - to where new leadership will take FFDN in the future.”

Born and raised in Istanbul, Ibrahimof has spent the past 26 years in North America, immersed in the dance milieu, in Boston, New York City, Montréal, and, most recently, Toronto. In 2004, he founded Sunny Artist Management, which he directed for 15 years, and through which he continued to develop his international network.

In 2013, Ibrahimof pitched the idea of FFDN to Mark Hammond and Madeleine Skoggard, key members of the then Sony Centre’s leadership, now Meridian Hall. In 2015, Ibrahimof launched FFDN, bringing New York City Center’s iconic dance festival north to Toronto’s Meridian Hall, with the blessing of City Center President and CEO Arlene Shuler. Under this model, audiences experienced dance creations from both iconic international companies as well as emerging and notable dancemakers, including high profile commissions by Peggy Baker, Azsure Barton, Anne Plamondon, and Mthuthuzeli November, among many others.

During his tenure, Ibrahimof forged partnerships between his international network and TMU’s Creative School, Canada’s National Ballet School and other training facilities. He put dancers’ daily practice front and centre at Union Station through a program FFDN called “Open Studio,” literally a studio without walls, and increased the public’s understanding of how dance works are created. He generously offered up his mentorship to budding new festivals, such as Lua Shayenne’s YENSA Festival, and worked to further the discovery of Canada’s dance artists, convening professional development events alongside the festival and licensing FFDN original films to the performing arts streaming platform, Marquee TV, for international exposure. Ilter was also the recipient of the Sandra Faire Next Generation Award in 2020 and The Canada 150 Medal by former Senator Linda Frum in 2017.

“I am incredibly impressed with the dance festival that Ilter has built for the city in only 10 years. As a former dancer, Artistic Director, and Executive Director at several international ballet companies, I know how critical it is to keep moving the artform forward by spotlighting fresh perspectives and exceptional performers,” says Valerie Wilder, Chair of FFDN’s board of directors. “Ilter cares deeply for our dance community, and his bold vision, inspired curations, and generous mentorship have cultivated a richer appreciation for the Canadian dance milieu. He leaves a tremendous legacy for Toronto. The board has engaged an executive search team and will give great care and attention to choosing who leads the festival into the next decade.”

To honour the festival’s 10th anniversary, to celebrate Ilter’s legacy, and to support the company’s next chapter, the FFDN board of directors has launched Dancing Forward, a fundraising campaign that aims to raise $1 million by the end of 2024. With lead support from Joan Lozinski, O.C. and Jerry Lozinski, O.C., and donations from additional cultural leaders, Dancing Forward is now 65 percent of the way towards its target.

“When Jerry and I first stepped forward to become involved with FFDN, we were filled with both enthusiasm and excitement. The festival was a unique way to discover and support new artists, while also investing in expanding audiences for organizations we already loved. Ilter’s vision for what a dance festival can be has brought us much joy and satisfaction,” says Joan Lozinski, Director and past Chair of FFDN’s board of directors. “It is gratifying to see the opportunities the festival has created for dance artists, both emerging and established, over the last 10 years. We see the tremendous impact of FFDN and have proudly committed to leading the Dancing Forward Campaign because we know FFDN’s continued potential will benefit many in the years ahead. We hope everyone who loves FFDN will join us.”

After Ibrahimof and his FFDN team celebrate the 10th anniversary edition of FFDN later this fall, Ibrahimof plans to relocate to Porto, Portugal where he will embed himself as a consultant within the global dance community and enjoy closer proximity to his family home in Istanbul. Ibrahimof will continue to consult with FFDN, providing transitional support to the organization’s new artistic leadership into 2025.

The national search for candidates for a new Artistic Director is currently underway, led by Martin Bragg & Associates. Questions about the search can be directed to:

FFDN’s 10th anniversary season dates, including a special evening of celebration in honour of Ibrahimof and his incredible cultural contributions, are being finalized and will be announced later this spring.

For further media information, contact
Laura Murray | 604-418-2998 |
Angela Poon | 604.569.5343 |

Ilter Ibrahimof, Photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic