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Co-hosted by FFDN’s Artistic Director, Ilter Ibrahimof, and Turn Out Radio's Nicole Inica Hamilton, Mambo brings you behind-the-scenes dance encounters and conversations with FFDN artists and beyond.
Photo by Kendra Epik
Mambo tells stories that swing to the rhythm of our modern lives. Season 1 – which premiered during the festival's 6th edition from Sept 29 - Oct 18, 2020 – brings you stories about encounters with, through and beyond movement. From finding parallels between dance and baseball to transforming a covid-cancelled dance piece into an audio production, curiosity leads to human and humorous exchange in Mambo Season 1.
In 2021, Season 2 took us behind-the-scenes of the festival’s 7th season (Sep 11 - Oct 29, 2021) and beyond. Each episode offers unique perspectives on festival works and insights into the creative process. Over six special episodes, join co-hosts Ilter and Nicole – on a film set, at a studio, on the road – for candid conversations that are sure to broaden your perspective on the possibilities of dance.
In Season 3, we bring you intimate and curious artist-to-artist conversations. Each of these six episodes features at least one 8th annual festival (Sep 17 - Oct 8, 2022) artist to take you behind the curtain of creative process, the history and evolution of dance forms and more.
Meet the artists.Get closer to the action.
This is an online podcast that is available on-demand here on our website or through the streaming services linked below.
Program length: each episode approx. 20 Minutes___
Co-host - Nicole Inica HamiltonCo-host - Ilter IbrahimofProducer (Seasons 1-3) - Johnny SpenceProducer (Season 3) - Kattie LaurProducer (Season 2) - Kristine WhiteProducer (Season 1) - Jess Shane
Also available to stream on
Why the name "Mambo"?
The word "mambo" means "conversation with the gods" in Kikongo, the language spoken by Kongo slaves taken to Cuba. Mambo is a latin music rhythm and a style of dance that rose to prominence in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Its definitive musical arrangements are attributed to the Cuban pianist Damaso Perez Prado. Cuban dancers, who originated the form, described Mambo as “feelling the music,” merging sound and movement through the body. FFDN is committed to advancing diverse genres of dance on our stages and throughout our programming. We honour the inherent synergy of Mambo dance by naming our our new podcast series, “MAMBO - stories that swing to the rhythm of our modern lives.” More information on the origins of Mambo, can be found here and here.
Season 2 - Nicole Inica Hamilton recording on location with dancer Siphe November (left) and Johnny Spence (right).
Season 1 - Ilter Ibrahimof on location with choreographer Jera Wolfe (left) and Sandra Laronde (right), Artistic and Executive Director of Red Sky Performance.
Ilter Ibrahimof. Photo by Kendra Epik.
Ilter Ibrahimof is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Fall for Dance North. Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, Ilter moved to North America in 1998, first to attend Emerson College in Boston and then living and working in New York City and Montréal before settling in Toronto. As a creative mind in the dance field, Ilter is regularly invited to participate in various festivals and conferences in Canada and around the globe as a curator and speaker. In 2020, Dance Collection Danse Hall of Fame awarded Ilter the Sandra Faire Next Generation Award.
Nicole Inica Hamilton.
NICOLE INICA HAMILTONCo-host
Nicole Inica Hamilton is the founder and Artistic Director of Inica Dance Industries. A certified educator and member of Dance Masters of Canada and Dance Masters of America, Hamilton has served as a guest teacher, mentor and speaker at institutes across Canada including but not limited to; George Brown College, University of Toronto, York University and University of Calgary. Hamilton serves as an On-Air Radio Host at CIUT 89.5 FM and is a Producer/ Host with Turn Out Radio broadcasting on CIUT 89.5 FM. She reports on the current news affairs of our time with special focus on arts, health, career and business news.
JOHNNY MRYM SPENCEProducer (Seasons 1 - 3)
Johnny Mrym Spence is an artist of Jewish & European Settler ancestry who loves and creates in Tkaronto. He is grateful to the many Indigenous nations who have been here since time immemorial and who continue to live here to this day. He recognizes the people of these nations as the rightful stewards of the land and pledges to do all he can to return leadership of it to them.
Johnny’s maternal great-grandmother was Sara, paternal grandmother was Joan, maternal grandmother is Judy, and mother is Annie; he owes whatever compassion and creativity he has to them, and thanks them for the gifts of story and song.
KRISTINE WHITEProducer (Season 2)
Kristine White is a multidisciplinary artist working across the fields of puppetry, visual arts, and audio. She has created a variety of works for radio, theatre, film, and installation. The through line in all of Kristine's work is the idea of sculpture -- whether it be sculpting with clay, cardboard, sound, or shadow puppetry. Kristine is especially interested in creating work that is grounded in place, and that brings audiences into greater relationship with the space/place they are in.
JESS SHANEProducer (Season 1)
Jess Shane is an audio producer and artist whose work has aired on BBC's Short Cuts, WBEZ’s Re:Sound, and across the CBC network. She has presented work at festivals and conferences internationally, including Open City Documentary Festival, Audiocraft, Hearsay Audio Festival, and at the International Features Conference. Jess is currently a producer on Wrongful Conviction: False Confessions with Making A Murderer’s Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin. She previously worked on CBC’s Personal Best and Mic Drop. Jess is also the co-founder of Constellations, a podcast for sound art and experimental audio. Find more of Jess' work at www.jessshane.com.
Francisco Cruz, Santiago Rivera and Zack Martel.
Zack Martel and Santiago Rivera, the dynamic circus duo known professionally as Solo un Duelo, in conversation with Francisco Cruz, a fellow circus performer they both admire.
From discovering circus at a young age, to attending the prestigious and singular National Circus School in Montreal, Quebec, and building a fruitful collaborative relationship. This episode of Mambo takes us inside the idiosyncratic world of contemporary circus!
Zack Martel and Santiago Rivera’s choreography was featured in this year’s, Heirloom, which was performed in St. Catharines, Toronto, Orillia and Peterborough.
Roshanak Jaberi and Karen Kaeja.
Collaborators Karen Kaeja and Roshanak Jaberi take a break from doing the final edits on their new dance film, Slipping, and sit facing each other on a loveseat in Karen’s Toronto home.
From this intimate setting they discuss their evolving collaboration and the creative process behind this latest work. Buildings burned down, loving matriarchs filled hungry stomachs and hearts, and fog was captured before disappearing into the day.
Slipping world premiered as part of FFDN's new short film series 8-Count with live screenings in Toronto on Sep 23 and 24, followed by free streaming on our website until Oct 8.
Kimberley Cooper and Vicki Adams Willis.
Kimberley Cooper, the current Artistic Director of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, sits down with Vicki Adams Willis, one of DJD’s three founders, inside one of the studios at their beautiful new permanent building in downtown Calgary.
This convivial conversation touches on the history of the company, the history of Jazz dance in Canada more broadly, and Kimberley’s new work premiering at this year’s festival, Family of Jazz.
Family of Jazz was part of a double-bill presentation, alongside Margarita by Holla Jazz, with three in-person performances featuring live music in Toronto at the Theatre at the Creative School on Sep 30, Oct 1 and Oct 2. Global audiences can enjoy the program from home, with a special film version directed by Miha Matevzic, and produced by FFDN until Oct 15.
Jera Wolfe and Kenneth Shirley
Jera Wolfe and Kenneth Shirley waste no time in this playful and insightful conversation, immediately jumping into talking about all their exciting dance endeavours of late.
Kenneth paints a picture of rehearsing with Indigenous Enterprise at an emptied out Jacob’s Pillow during the pandemic and Jera discusses his momentous new ballet, Arise, featuring over 100 dance students from Canada’s National Ballet School.
Indigenous Liberation was presented for two nights only on Oct 7-8 at the Theatre at the Creative School, while Jera's momentus ballet Arise was part of a mixed evening in FFDN's ARISE: 2022 Signature Programme at Meridian Hall, on Oct 6-8.
Michela Marino Lerman and Dianne Montgomery.
Tap performers and choreographers Dianne Montgomery and Michela Marino Lerman meet virtually for a conversation that begins by discussing each of their latest works, before venturing deeper into the heart of their creative processes.
They speak of the challenge of caring for oneself whilst exploring new creative horizons, and the importance of being grounded by ones daily practice and the simple act of dancing.
Dianne's FFDN commissioned new work Softly Losing, Softly Gaining was part of a mixed evening in FFDN's ARISE: 2022 Signature Programme at Meridian Hall, on Oct 6-8.
Kaleo Trinidad and Stanford Makishi.
Stanford Makishi, Vice President of Programming at New York City Center for Fall For Dance NY, guides us through an enthralling conversation with one of Hawaii’s most esteemed Hula choreographers and educators, Kaleo Trinidad.
They talk about the history of Hula, the Merrie Monarch Festival, the sweet smell of sandalwood, and the central importance of story.
Kaleo's group from Honolulu, Ka Leo O Laka | Ka Hikina O Ka La, performed as part of a mixed evening in FFDN's ARISE: 2022 Signature Programme at Meridian Hall, on Oct 6-8.
Nic Gareiss, making tea at his home in Lansing MI, before sitting down for a Mambo interview. Photo by Ilter Ibrahimof
In a medium so often centered on the depth and dazzling qualities of its sights, it's easy to overlook the sound of dance. And yet, all movement makes sound – if you know how to listen. We invite you to open your ears and take a trip inside the auditory world of two performers pushing the boundaries of percussive dance.We traveled to New York and Michigan to chat with American dance artists Caleb Teicher and Nic Gareiss. They performed in Heirloom - a new series of outdoor presentations by FFDN in 2021. Heirloom returns for 2022 in St. Catharines, Toronto, Orillia and Peterborough.
Photo by Johnny Spence
In the landscape of Canadian dance few names are as instantly recognizable as Guillaume Côté. Whether embodying the eternal Romeo, or conjuring Norman McLaren in his work Frame by Frame, Guillaume has captured our collective imagination and brought us with him through countless journeys as both a dancer and choreographer. But where does he return to after the curtain falls? Where, or what, or who is home?
We traveled to Le Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur for the world premiere of Guillaume’s new full-length work + (dix), in which he beautifully explores and expands on these questions. We take you backstage and on stage; and then sit down for an intimate chat with Guillaume on this new work, his life, and so much more.
A live-to-air live stream performance of + (dix) was be presented by FFDN on Sep 23, 2021, directed by FFDN Renette and David Berman Filmmaker-in-Residence Vikram Dasgupta.
Born in Zolani, South Africa, brothers Mthuthuzeli & Siphe November have danced together since before either of them can remember, until their passion for dance grew into two accomplished careers and sent them to two different continents. Siphe has been an undeniable force and integral part of the National Ballet of Canada; and Mthuthuzeli’s work as a dancer and choreographer in London, England with Ballet Black continues to dazzle and win prestigious awards.
We caught up with both brothers in the midst of their creation process in London to chat about how they were getting along. Their highly-anticipated work, titled My Mother’s Son, was filmed by FFDN Renette and David Berman Filmmaker-in-Residence Vikram Dasgupta at the palatial Battersea Arts Centre in London, and premiered on Oct 13 as part of Fall for Dance North’s digital event 2021 Signature Program, co-presented by TO Live.
For most of us the process of deciding what ends up on stage in front of us is something we have little knowledge of, with the immense care and consideration that goes into curating living behind a veil of unknowns. This episode peels back that veil and offers a window into the art of curation, opening up and exploring the complexities surrounding it.
First we caught up with Laurence Lemieux, Artistic Director of Citadel + Compagnie, and she spoke on how she approaches curating her company and theatre space. We then sat down with Dancer and Choreographer Christine Friday who, using her recent experience as ⅓ of the curatorial committee for 2021’s Night Shift program as a jumping off point, generously discussed her experience curating, and aspects of her life and artistic practice which have shaped how she inhabits into that role.
Night Shift returns in 2022, co-presented by Citadel + Compagnie, discover the 2022 presentation here.
Mambo team in studio with Sara Porter.
In Getting to know your Fruit dancer/choreographer Sara Porter embodies a botany all her own, inviting us to get to know our own internal fruit. Exploding the theatrical moment into movement and monologue that reveals the heart of a woman in conversation with herself about finding the truest ways to self-expression, the new film version of her monumental work, directed by William Yong, examines the fruits of her 30-year career in performing and writing.
We sat down with Sara and visited her in the studio to chat about digging deep into memoir and movement to create a new form for Fruit.
Getting to know your Fruit was co-presented by DanceWorks as part of a double-bill presentation which premiered on Oct 7, 2021.
Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.
One cultural byproduct of the pandemic has been the proliferation of filmed stage performances. The ubiquitous presence of livestream and on-demand digital content makes it easy to overlook the dizzying amount of decisions and expertise that go into bringing the stage to the screen.
As an Oscar nominated director and one of Canada’s leading film/TV Producers, Barbara Willis Sweete knows a thing or two about capturing magic with a camera. She has also directed more than 30 Live Broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera of New York, and countless dance performances.
We sit down with Barbara at her home for an in-depth chat on bringing dance to life on the big (& small) screen, then journey behind the scenes with her on the set of a recent dance film shoot.
For FFDN 2021 Barbara directed the live-to-air lives stream presentations of Night Shift and More Forever. More Forever will be screened by FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines on Sep 17, 2022.
Hey sports fans … come attend a dance show! Always keen to share his love for dance, Artistic Director Ilter Ibrahimof invited his neighbour Eric to Fall for Dance North, culminating in a backstage tour. In exchange, Eric took Ilter to his first baseball game. Hear about their first encounters, what they found in common and what they learned about these seemingly different spectator events. Of course, they both got t-shirts.
A collaboration is born of many conversations. We paid a visit to Lake Temagami, home of the Teme-Augama-Anishniaabe people in Northern Ontario, and chatted with the creators behind FLOW (while we dipped in the beautiful lake and sang by the fire). Featured in the 2020 Signature Program, this FFDN commission by Red Sky Performance addresses our relationship with the natural environment and, especially, with water. Hear from Executive and Artistic Director Sandra Laronde, Artistic Associate and choreographer Jera Wolfe on the inspirations behind this new creation.
Photo by Michael Maurissens.
Can you experience dance just by listening? Find out in this audio production of the dance-theatre performance Talent/Show by Canadian-born, Germany-based choreographer Sabina Perry. The work takes a tragicomic look at the question “What are you good at?” After its German premiere, Talent/Show was about to run in Toronto when the city went into COVID-19 lockdown. In collaboration with FFDN, the artists experiment with new modes of access for dance audiences in this reinvention of the work.
Expressive intent. Meaningful music. Crafted choreography. Performer connection. These are essential ingredients in a dance production; bringing them together requires discipline and commitment. Rehearsal after rehearsal eventually brings synchrony and flow. For professional dancers, it’s just part of the job. But for couples rehearsing a dance for their wedding night, it’s a whole new experience. Follow Toyin and Joshua as they prepare for the dance of a lifetime. A world premiere – no matter the setting – involves much the same process.
For dancers, mirrors are an important tool for self-reflection and assessment. For an organization like Fall for Dance North, the process involves a different kind of mirror. Enter CPAMO, Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario, a Toronto-based group that works with arts organizations to build constructive relationships with Indigenous and racialized artists. Hear from CPAMO Executive Director, Charles C. Smith, on the organization’s work. Sit in on FFDN staff conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion in the arts landscape.
The story of objects coming to life is no stretch for a ballet audience familiar with narratives of dolls (Coppélia) and toys (The Nutcracker) magically transformed. In FFDN’s the flip side festival, the physical objects of the theatre, studio and backstage lie dormant. Or do they? With a sense of humour, a dose of imagination – and some help from Second City Toronto actors – Ilter and Nicole converse with the festival’s lost objects in a group counselling session.