Cassa Pancho’s Ballet Black in NINA: By Whatever Means, choreographed by Mthuthuzeli November. Dancers: Rosanna Lindsey & Sayaka Ichikawa. Photography by Bill Cooper

UNBOWED: Signature Programme 2

TMU School of Performance (Toronto)
Gibney Company (New York)
Mthuthuzeli & Siphesihle November (Zolani)
Ballet Black (London, UK)


Signature Programme 2

(+ HST and fees)

  • Oct 6 & 7
  • In-Person | Meridian Hall

Transformative, resolute, unique, vibrant. UNBOWED: Signature Programme 2 showcases today’s most promising international contemporary voices and the brave steps they are taking in the dance world. Their works see the dancing body as a container of history, an agent of social change, and a site of celebration. UNBOWED is a journey of dance that encompasses the spirit of unwavering resistance, tireless love, and promise of evolution through activism and vigor.


Our second mixed bill at Meridian Hall opens with the visually arresting Light-Print, choreographed by Gibney Company Artistic Associate Jesse Obremski on 14 recent graduates of Toronto Metropolitan University’s School of Performance. FFDN’s ongoing partnership with the dance program continues to bear fruit and gives these emerging artists a chance to showcase their tremendous talents on the festival’s largest stage, while providing creative opportunities to emerging voices from within the presented companies.

New York’s Gibney Company continues to inspire, returning to the FFDN stage with OH COURAGE! by Tony Award winning (Moulin Rouge) dancemaker Sonya Tayeh, featuring live music by The Bengsons from Brooklyn. Themes of struggle, self-reflection and sacrifice shine through Sonya’s movement and the singers’ dramatic voices.

We continue with the highly anticipated live performance premiere of My Mother’s Son, created by South African choreographer Mthuthuzeli Novemberand danced alongside his brother Siphesihle November.Originally presented by FFDN on film in 2021, the touching duet between the two siblings comes to life for the first time on the festival’s stage, evoking belonging and interconnection. 

Prepare to be moved by Cassa Pancho’s Ballet Black from London, UK in an awe-inspiring finale: NINA: By Whatever Means, a heartfelt homage to the extraordinary life and unwavering activism of the incomparable Nina Simone. Choreographed also by Mthuthuzeli November, this production forms part of Ballet Black’s Canadian tour debut and their first ever appearance in Toronto.

View the playbill for this event.

TMU School of Performance in Light-Print by Jesse Obremski
Photo by Jeremy Mimnagh

View the gallery