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

Playbill Notes

Last updated: Oct 3, 2023

Artistic Director

Thank you for joining us for


Oct 3, 7:30 PM

There will be a post-screening artist chat on stage, moderated by Seika Boye.

Karen Kain (Swan Lake Director/Choreographer)
Jurgita Dronina (National Ballet Principal Dancer)
Siphesihle November (National Ballet Principal Dancer)
Arielle Miralles (National Ballet Corps de Ballet Member)
Chelsea McMullan (
SWAN SONG Co-Creator)
Sean O'Neill (
SWAN SONG Co-Creator) 

Duration: approximately 90 minutes, without intermission


Episode 1 of SWAN SONG follows Karen Kain and a group of dancers drawn from across The National Ballet of Canada's ranks, weaving the ballet’s dramatic creation process with intimate scenes from the subjects’ personal lives, as they push toward one of the most significant opening nights in their company’s history. The first episode introduces Kain and the series’ core group of subjects as the company overcomes pandemic delays and rehearsals finally begin, starting with the casting of the principal roles. This presentation is an exclusive sneak preview before the four-part series airs in November 2023 on CBC and CBC Gem.

Live Performance
Act III Pas de Deux, excerpted from Swan Lake, performed by The National Ballet of Canada Principal Dancers Genevieve Penn Nabity as Odile and Christopher Gerty as Prince Siegfried. Accompanied by live pianist Zhenya Vitort.

Key Creatives

Chelsea McMullan is a director, writer and producer. Their work in documentary, experimental narrative, and hybrid films have explored the work of leading international artists through the cinematic frame. Their most recent feature Ever Deadly (TIFF 2022), created in collaboration with the Inuk artist, writer and musician Tanya Tagaq, explores Tanya's incandescent and unforgettable artistic voice through the frame of a live performance captured in a single take. The film, which will be released by Kino Lorber in 2023, is punctuated by documentary elements and animations by the internationally renowned Inuk artist Shuvinai Ashoona.

Their previous features include My Prairie Home, a musical documentary about the transgender musician Rae Spoon and the feature documentary Crystal Pite: Angels’ Atlas about the world-renowned choreographer. Their films have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, True/False, and other leading festivals and venues internationally. Chelsea has made numerous acclaimed short films about and in collaboration with artists such as Eileen Myles, Zhang Huan, Isabelle Marant and Ken Lum.

They have also directed for television, including episodes of the documentary series This is Pop (Netflix/Crave) and In the Making (CBC). In 2023, they will premiere Swan Song, a verité-driven feature documentary that captures the world of a leading ballet company as it mounts a new production of Swan Lake. The film is being sold by Dogwoof internationally and will be distributed by Blue Ice Docs in Canada.

Sean is a producer, director, showrunner, and the founder of Visitor Media. Since the company’s launch in 2020, Visitor has produced the feature documentary Crystal Pite: Angels’ Atlas (2022), which premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival and won the festival’s Showcase Audience Award; and LIDO TV (2022), a CBC Gem digital variety show created and hosted by the Grammy-nominated artist and musician Lido Pimienta, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and has been nominated for two Canadian Screen Awards, a Canadian Cinema Editor’s Award, and a Rockie Award. 

In 2023, Visitor will premiere Swan Song, a four-part documentary series and feature film following the creation of a new production of Swan Lake at the National Ballet of Canada, which Sean produced, co-created and co-wrote with director Chelsea McMullan. The series will premiere on CBC in the fall of 2023; both the series and the feature version are represented by Dogwoof internationally.  

From 2017 to 2020, Sean co-created, executive produced and hosted the award-winning CBC arts documentary series In the Making, a primetime show that took viewers inside the lives and work of notable artists at pivotal moments of creation. Over two seasons, the Canadian Screen Award-winning series screened at MoMA PS1, the National Gallery of Canada, the Remai Modern, VIFF Cinema, and other festivals and museums across Canada. NOW Magazine called the series one of the year’s best upon its debut, and CBC Radio’s q described it as one of their “favourite shows on television.”

Prior to transitioning to film, Sean worked in various roles for a decade at the Art Gallery of Ontario, beginning as a waiter in the museum’s restaurant and ultimately serving as Director of Public Programs & Cultural Partnerships.


A CBC Original Documentary Series

A Visitor Media Production
Produced in Association with Mercury Films Inc. and Quiet Ghost
Presented in Association with Dogwoof

Created by Chelsea McMullan & Sean O’Neill
Directed by Chelsea McMullan
Produced by Sean O’Neill
Executive Producers: Sean O’Neill, Chelsea McMullan, Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier, Anna Godas, Oli Harbottle, Neve Campbell
Producer: Christina Carvalho

Directors of Photography: Tess Girard & Shady Hanna
Editors: Brendan Mills, Sabrina Budiman, John Gallagher
Original Score by Katie Stelmanis
Written by Chelsea McMullan & Sean O’Neill


Act III Pas de Deux, excerpt from Swan Lake

Directed and Staged by: Karen Kain, C.C., LL.D., D.Litt., O.Ont.
Choreography by Karen Kain, Christopher Stowell and Robert Binet after Erik Bruhn, Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa
Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Swan Lake, Opus 20 (1875-76)
Pianist: Zhenya Vitort
Costume Designer: Gabriela Týlešová
Original Lighting Designer: Bonnie Beecher
Rehearsal Director, Principal Coach: Xiao Nan Yu

Produced and commissioned by The National Ballet of Canada.

World Premiere: The National Ballet of Canada, Toronto, Friday, Jun 10, 2022



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).

Check out the fourth season of FFDN's in-house podcast Mambo! Don’t miss Episode 5, a special one-hour episode featuring Chelsea McMullan, Sean O’Neill and Robert Binet as they discuss and reflect on the making of the documentary series.

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.