Fall For Dance North 9th Annual Festival Sep 26 - Oct 7

Playbill Notes

Last updated: Oct 5, 2023

Artistic Director

Thank you for joining us for

Signature Programme 1

Oct 4* & 5 7:30 PM
Duration: approximately 120 minutes, including intermission

*Pre-Show Artist Chat 6:30 - 7:00 moderated by Cathy Levy
With ASL interpretation

Pulga Muchochoma, Mascara Choreographer and Performer (Toronto)
Gilbert T Small II, Company Director at Gibney Company (New York)
Gina Gibney, Founder & Artistic Director of the Gibney organization & Gibney Company (New York)
Medhi Walerski, Artistic Director at Ballet BC (Vancouver)
Caroline Lofthouse and Maiya Leeke, Dancers performing with Candoco Dance Company (London, UK)


Act 1

I think we should start over

Choreographed by Jamaal Burkmar
Performed by Candoco Dance Company
Canadian Premiere

This intricate but fascinating piece uses podcasts and audio recordings to unravel the unique patterns of communication and musicality - which are then translated into graceful movements and expressive gestures. This intimate performance aims to connect deeply with the audience, leaving a lasting impression on all who experience it.

Insight & Access Content:
Soundscore Transcript

Audio Description Transcript
Visual Guide

FFDN's presentation of I think we should start over is generously supported by
Davee Gunn

Choreography by: Jamaal Burkmar
Main Dancers: Maiya Leeke and Caroline Lofthouse
Dancer/Understudy: Vanessa Abreu
Tech: PJ Davy
Audio Describer: Elaine Lillian Joseph (from SoundScribe)
Audio Description Consultancy: Quiplash
Deaf Consultancy: Duffy
Photography: Camilla Greenwell
Film: Poppy Payne

Copyright Credits
The Making of Hollie McNish Childbirth, Poetry and The Magic of Words (2:22 - 3:45)
The Joe Rogan Experience (0.05 - 1.31)
Take your shoes off with Risk Glassman (7:39 - 9:12)


Daniel Herskedal Time of Water + The Mistral Noir
Father John Misty Pure Comedy (license granted by Sub Pop) 


A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (Page 10)



Choreographed by Johan Inger
Performed by Gibney Company
Canadian Premiere

For this large-scale ensemble piece, Swedish choreographer Johan Inger uses the legendary Köln Concert by jazz pianist Keith Jarrett; music that many consider to be the epitome of virtuoso improvisation. Rather than translating the music one-to-one into movement, it is more the feeling of Jarrett’s iconic music—free, soaring and ecstatic—that Inger reimagines into beautifully crafted dance, sending not only listeners, but audience members into a state of bliss.

Choreography by Johan Inger
Staging by Yvan Dubreuil
Scenery Design by Johan Inger
Costume Design by Johan Inger & Francesca Messori
Costume Construction by Victoria Bek
Lighting Design by Peter Lundin
Lighting Adaptation by Tsubasa Kamei
Set Design by Johan Inger
Music by Keith JarettThe Köln Concert, Part 1
Cavelight Music (BMI)
Used by arrangement with ECM Records

World Premiere: Commissioned and premiered by Aterballeto on Mar 2016 in Modena, Italy

Run Time: 27 minutes


Scott Autry, Miriam Gittens, Eddieomar Gonzalez-Castillo, Graham Feeny, Eleni Loving, Jesse Obremski, Kevin Pajarillaga, Jordan Powell, Jie-Hung Connie Shiau, Madi Tanguay, Jacob Thoman, Jake Tribus

Act 2


Choreographed by Pulga Muchochoma
Performed by Pulga Muchochoma
With live music

We all have more than one face. From their perspective, others may see one image at first glance, but there is always more to learn about the behind the mask. Mascara (meaning 'mask' in Portuguese) follows Pulga's personal journey as an immigrant in Canada in understanding exactly where he belongs. He adds "There was a time when I was a dance student and I was told that the way I moved was too African... and when I went back to Mozambique I heard that my African dance was too contemporary. That was the mask that I had to live with for a long time. Now I am proud to mix those two worlds and create my own style."

FFDN's presentation of Mascara is generously supported by
The Lindy Green Family Foundation

Choreographer and Dancer: Pulga Muchochoma
Costume by: Pulga Muchochoma
Music by: Kobena Aquaa-Harrison
Rehearsal Assistant: Daniel Lieberman


Heart Drive

Choreographed by Imre van Opstal and Marne van Opstal
Performed by Ballet BC
Toronto Premiere

Heart Drive, from Dutch artist duo and siblings Imre and Marne van Opstal, was commissioned by Ballet BC in 2022 and co-produced with Helsinki-based Tero Saarinen Company. The van Opstals’ choreographic work speaks to the limits and possibilities of the body and mind. This creation explores themes of love, connection and pleasure, as well as the stigmas and moral taboos that exist within.

This performance contains flashing lights.

FFDN's presentation of Heart Drive is generously supported by
Elliott Kornhauser

World Premiere, Nov 2022, Ballet BC
A co-production of Ballet BC and Tero Saarinen Company

Choreographers: Imre van Opstal and Marne van Opstal
Assistant to the Choreographers: Chloé Albaret
Music Composition by: Amos Ben-Tal
Lighting Design: Tom Visser
Stage Design: Tom Visser and Imre van Opstal & Marne van Opstal
Costume Design: Imre van Opstal & Marne van Opstal
Associate Costume Design: Kate Burrows

Emanuel Dostine, Michael Garcia, Orlando Harbutt, Kiana Jung, Sarah Pippin, Vivian Ruiz, Rae
Srivastava, Sydney Tormey

Choreographer Bios

Photo by Shy Alter


Pulga was born in Mozambique, where he trained with Montes Namuli Dance Company. In 2006, he came to Toronto for the International AIDS Conference, and decided to stay and study at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. In 2009 he joined Toronto Dance Theatre where he was a company dancer for 11 seasons under the artistic directorship of Christopher House. Throughout his career, Pulga has worked with many local and International choreographers. Pulga participated in the 2015 opening ceremony of the Toronto Pan Am Games with Cirque du Soleil and Canada's National Ballet School. He is also the creator and founder of 'African Dance and Fitness with Pulga.'



Photo by Bengt Wanselius

Johan Inger made his breakthrough as a choreographer in 1995 after a very successful dancing career at the Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT). Inger’s choreographies have won numerous prestigious awards. Between 2003 and 2008 he was the artistic director of the Cullberg Ballet, and between 2009 and 2015 he held the position as Associate Choreographer with NDT. Johan Inger is now an established and renowned choreographer who has shared his works with numerous dance companies around the world.


Photo by Elly Welford

Jamaal Burkmar is an award-winning choreographer who first gained recognition for his piece 'Ocean' while studying at the Northern School for Contemporary Dance. The piece received critical acclaim and was later commissioned for VERVE, the postgraduate company at NSCD, making it the first and only undergraduate work to be featured. Jamaal was honored with the highly prestigious 'New Adventures Choreographer Award' and has since established himself as a prominent choreographer with a passion for music and composition. He has received commissions and support from various organizations such as the Dance Hub in Birmingham, Leeds Dance Partnership, Phoenix Dance Theatre, and Mobius Dance.


Photos by Rahi Rezvani

Imre van Opstal & Marne van Opstal are Dutch choreographers and renowned performing artists, as siblings they form a creative duo. After having enjoyed successful and prominent careers at the prestigious Nederlands Dans Theater 1 & 2 and/or Batsheva Dance Company, they went on to pursue their own creativity.

The collaborative nature of their work often speaks to the human condition, limits and possibilities of the body and mind. Their work is known to be multi-layered and surrealistic, with a strong and outspoken dance language known for its eclecticism, theatricality and partnering elements.

They created ‘LiNK’ and ‘John Doe’ for Nederlands Dans Theater 2 program ‘Up & Coming Choreographers’ after which they debuted with their work ‘The Grey’ for their regular programming. In 2019 they created ‘Take Root’ for Nederlands Dans Theater 1, which received a nomination for the Swan Award for ‘best dance production 2019’. Their latest work, ‘Baby don’t hurt me’ created for Nederlands Dans Theater 1 around the themes of identity, sexuality, gender and love was met with critical acclaim. After which they continued to create ‘Eye Candy’ with Rambert Dance Company and ‘The little man’ for Nationaltheater Mannheim.


HEARTBEATS: Signature Programme 1
Production Credits

Stage Manager: Janelle Rainville*
Assistant Stage Manager: Lani Martel*
Assistant Stage Manager: Jennifer Lee
Associate Lighting Designer: Noah Feaver
Assistant Lighting Designer: Sruthi Suresan
Assistant Lighting Designer: Linas Kairys

* These artists are arranged by permission of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association under the provisions of the Dance Opera Theatre Policy (DOT).

Enhance Your Experience

Check out the fourth season of FFDN's in-house podcast Mambo! Don’t miss Episode 2 featuring Mascara choreographer and performer Pulga Muchochoma in conversation with Timea Wharton-Suri, Curator and Executive Director of dance Immersion.

Listen Now


Check out the fourth season of FFDN's in-house podcast Mambo! Don’t miss Episode 3, a conversation between FFDN’s Artistic Director, Ilter Ibrahimof and the sole Co-Artistic Director of Candoco Dance Company, Charlotte Darbyshire about Candoco’s mission and history.

Listen Now





Ilter Ibrahimof - Artistic Director

Aviva Fleising - General Manager

Melissa Forstner - Director of Advancement and Philanthropy

Lily Sutherland - Executive Producer

Sheila O'Neill - Marketing & Communications Manager

Milana Glumicic - Producer, Digital Programming

Melina Osorio - Finance and Advancement Officer

Faith Buchanan - Education & Residency Coordinator

Simon Rossiter - Director of Design

Felicia Myronyk - Advancement Officer





Seasonal Staff

Leah Totten - Festival Coordinator

Nikki Chabrol - Volunteer Coordinator

Emma Haynes - Festival Intern

Julia Mak - Administrative Assistant

Alexis Eunick - Community Arts Coordinator

Bradley Langham - Box Office Manager

Barney Bayliss - Director of Production

Zita Nyarady - Company Manager

Haleigh Eady - Company Manager


Year-Round Collaborators

Web Development & Graphic Design Team - Mouth Media

Additional Graphic Design & Animation - Eric Rochon (Brood Studios)

Publicity & Communications - Murray Patterson Marketing Group

Financial Services - Robert Gore and Associates


To read more about our team and their bios, please visit the Our Village page on the FFDN website.

Fall For Dance North Board of Directors

Chair Valerie Wilder

Past Chair Joan Lozinski, O.C.

Treasurer Gerry Hannochko
Advising Representative (Portfolio Manager), Dealing Representative - Qwest Investment Fund Management Ltd.

Aleksandar Antonijevic
Fine Art Photographer, Teacher, Coach and Stager of Ballets

Peggy Baker, C.M., O.Ont, L.L.D, D.Litt
Dancer, Choreographer, Educator, Artist-in-Residence, Canada's National Ballet School

Erin Eizenman
General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, MaRS Discovery District

Tanya Howard
Former First Soloist, The National Ballet of Canada

Jim Hwang
Chief Operating Officer, Firinne Capital

Emma Sako
Senior Associate, Torys LLP

Karen Sparks
Director, Philanthropic Advisory Services BMO Private Wealth

Zdenko Teply
Director, Strategic Transactions & Review, Scotiabank


Also Happening This Week at the Festival


Fall For Dance North's Mission

FFDN is Toronto’s premier professional international dance festival that exists to break boundaries and remove barriers.  

With pluralism and affordability at its core, FFDN celebrates, nurtures and amplifies established and emerging Canadian dance artists, creates global connections, and inspires future audiences to sustain the artform.

Read more about our Mission & Values.

Learn how FFDN started.


It's easy to support FFDN, find out how you can here.