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

Playbill Notes

Last updated: Oct 6, 2023

Artistic Director

Thank you for joining us for

Signature Programme 2

Generously supported by
Joan Lozinski, O.C. & Jerry Lozinski, O.C.

Oct 6* &7:30 PM
Duration: approximately 120 minutes, including intermission

*Pre-Show Artist Chat 6:45 - 7:15 moderated by Nicole Inica Hamilton

Jesse Obremski
, Gibney Company Artistic Associate & Choreographer of Light-Print (New York)
Gilbert T Small II
, Company Director at Gibney Company (New York)
Gina Gibney, Founder & Artistic Director of the Gibney organization & Gibney Company (New York)
Mthuthuzeli November, Senior Artist at Ballet Black (London, UK) and Choreographer of My Mother's Son
Siphe November, Principal Dancer at NBoC and Dancer in My Mother's Son (Toronto)


Act 1


Choreographed by Sonya Tayeh
Performed by Gibney Company
Canadian Premiere

Created for Gibney Company and performed to an original composition played live by The Bengsons, Tony Award-winner Sonya Tayeh’s work explores a journey of emotional awakening and the honoring of both loss and gain. The work examines and explores related themes of struggle, self-reflection and sacrifice, while bridging various aesthetics through Tayeh’s artistic lens.

This performance contains flashing lights.

Choreography by Sonya Tayeh
Associate Choreographer by Jenn Freeman
Original Music by The Bengsons
Set Design by Rachel Hauck
Lighting Design by Asami Morita
Lighting Adaptation by Tsubasa Kamei 
Costume Design by Márion Talán de la Rosa
Costume Construction by Victoria Bek

Run Time: 26 minutes

Miriam Gittens, Eleni Loving, Jesse Obremski, Kevin Pajarillaga, Jie-Hung Connie Shiau, Madi Tanguay, Jacob Thoman, Jake Tribus



Choreographed by Jesse Obremski
Performed by recent graduates of TMU School of Performance

Light-Print comes from a personal discovery of what it means to be analytical and factual. With hanging light fixtures, the performers begin in an underground lab facility and explore how ideas can overwhelm, ignite, and excite our conscious and collective energies. Enhanced by an original composition, by composer Trevor Bumgarner, the vast dichotomy of raw and pristine physicality amplifies the atmospheric space connecting movement, music, and production. The work also brings forward an original costume design by Keiko Obremski which is expanded upon by Robin Kadirgamar and TMU's wardrobe department. In collaboration with Lighting Designer, Asami Morita, Light-Print allows the lighting fixtures to play as another performing character in this creation to inform, enlighten, and remind us about the importance of constant self-discovery.

FFDN's presentation of Light-Print is generously supported by
Margaret & Nancy McNee

Choreographed by Jesse Obremski
Original Costume Design by Keiko Obremski and Jesse Obremski, execution and expansion by Bronwyn Pel and Toronto Metropolitan University
Set Design: Margaret Steinbach
Lighting: Asami Morita and Jesse Obremski
Music: Light-Print, an original composition by Trevor Bumgarner
Rehearsal Director: Tanya Evidente

Alayna Battaglini, Griffen Grice, Janeyce Alecia Guerrier, Emily Hodgins, Clara Isgro, Felicia Jackson, Zoey McColl, Melina Patry, Scout Radomski, Chloe Reelis, Alli Robb, Anisa Saouab, Selina Tsai

Light-Print had its world Premiere on Mar 16, 2022 at 280 Gibney through Gibney Company's Company Created with Artistic Associates Alicia Delgadillo, Kevin Pajarillaga, and Jake Tribus. The trio was later produced and expanded, to its current version, made possible through a partnership between Gibney Company, Toronto Metropolitan University, and Fall for Dance North.


Act 2

My Mother's Son

Choreographed by Mthuthuzeli November
Performed by Mthuthuzeli NovemberSiphesihle November

South African brothers Siphesihle and Mthuthuzeli November dance an ocean apart – Siphesihle with The National Ballet of Canada (Toronto) and Mthuthuzeli with Ballet Black (London, UK). Their work, My Mother’s Son, unites these siblings in live performance for the first time since their childhood in Zolani. This is a work that expresses love and admiration to one another. The time spent apart and the complexity of traditions away from home. Longing for home for comfort.

FFDN's presentation of My Mother's Son is generously supported by
Bruce Cooper & Marie Campbell, Jeanie Davis, Mary & Bob Gore, Larry Williamson & Karin Schemeit

Created and performed by Mthuthuzeli & Siphesihle November
Music: Mthuthuzeli November
Piano: Alex Wilson
Strings: Charlie Schnurr
Featuring: Esazalwa Sinje by Mandisi Dyantyis 
Costume: Mthuthuzeli & Skye November  


NINA: By Whatever Means

Choreographed by Mthuthuzeli November
Performed by Cassa Pancho's Ballet Black

NINA: By Whatever Means is devised by award-winning choreographer, Mthuthuzeli November. Drawing from classical ballet November weaves a poignant portrayal of Simone's turbulent and influential life. This emotionally empowering love letter to the legendary icon is a testament to Ballet Black's commitment to portraying the Black experience through classical ballet, expanding their repertoire with relevance and resonance for audiences of diverse backgrounds, ages, and cultures.

FFDN's presentation of NINA: By Whatever Means is generously supported by
John & Claudine Bailey

This ballet is a co-commission with The Barbican, London UK
Ballet Black Founder & Artistic Director | Cassa Pancho MBE
Choreography & Direction | Mthuthuzeli November
Lighting Design | David Plater
Costume Design | Jessica Cabassa
Rehearsal Director | Charlotte Broom
Composers | Mandisi Dyantyis, Mthuthuzeli November, Nina Simone (1954 - 2002)
Featuring the voices of the Zolani Youth Choir

Isabela Coracy (Nina), Ebony Thomas (husband), Taraja Hudson, Sayaka Ichikawa, Helga Paris-Morales, Mthuthuzeli November, Megan Chiu, Love Kotiya & Bhungane Mehlomakulu 

Senior Producer | Richard Bolton
Wardrobe Manager | Manuela Fleming
Stage Manager | Tina Dezart

Choreographer Bios

Photo by Amy J. Gardner

Jesse Obremski (he/him) is a native of New York City and began his studies at The Ailey School, studied at Jacob’s Pillow, Springboard Danse Montreal, and Earl Mosley's Institute of the Arts, and is a graduate of The Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School and The Juilliard School. Obremski joined the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company at the age of 19 and has since then worked with Helen Simoneau Dance, Peter Stathas Dance, WHITE WAVE, Kate Weare Company, Brian Brooks Moving Company, and The Limón Dance Company (soloist and principal), and currently an Artistic Associate with Gibney Company. Obremski's choreographic work has been presented internationally across the United States, Canada, Czech Republic, Turkey, Germany, Japan, China, and Malaysia, in addition to being a sought-after educator and speaker.

In 2018, he founded Obremski/Works, which has appeared internationally, notably by HBO at Lincoln Center, with an emphasis on dance films and AAPI Support Fellowships. Obremski became the Associate Executive Director of Earl Mosley's Diversity of Dance in 2022, after serving on its Board for four years. For his Gibney Company Moving Toward Justice Fellowship project, Obremski founded OUR PATHS, which cultivates greater communal empathy through podcasts, video interviews, written articles, and workshops.

www.jesseobremski.com www.obremskiworks.org @Jesse_Obremski  @Obremski_Works

Photo by Murphy Made

Sonya Tayeh is a New York City based, Tony Award-winning choreographer and director. Tayeh’s work has been characterized as a blend of powerful versatility and theatrical range. Selected credits include: Moulin Rouge! Broadway (Hirschfeld theatre/Dir Alex Timbers), Sing Street Broadway (Lyceum Theatre/Dir Rebecca Taichman), Fall For Dance/City Center, (Unveiling with Moses Sumney and dancers), American Ballet Theatre/(What Becomes Of Love?), Rent Live! (Fox Network/Dir Michael Grief and Alex Rudzinski), The Lucky Ones (Ars Nova/Dir. Anne Kauffman), Face the Torrent for Malpaso Dance Co. (commissioned by The Music Center/LA), You'll Still Call Me By Name (commissioned by New York Live Arts and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival), Martha Graham Dance Company's Lamentation Variation Series (The Joyce Theater), Hundred Days (New York Theatre Workshop/Dir. Anne Kauffman). Tayeh has garnered many accolades for her versatile work, including a Tony Award for Best Choreography, two Emmy nominations, a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography, an Obie Award, and two Lucille Lortel Awards for Outstanding Choreography.


Photo by Skye Weiss

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Mthuthuzeli started dancing at the age of 15 with the outreach programme, Dance For All. In 2011 he was awarded a scholarship to attend the Cape Academy of Performing Arts (CAPA), where He graduated with a Distinction in 2014. He won a gold medal in the Contemporary category in the South Africa International Ballet Competition as a Junior in 2012, and as a senior in 2014. He has worked with Cape Dance Company under the direction of Debbie Turner. In 2015 He danced in the production of West Side Story before joining Ballet Black in September 2015. He made his first ballet for Ballet Black, Interrupted in July 2016 and created his own choreographic platform, M22 Movement Lab, collaborating with musicians, composers and designers to create new choreography for stage and film.



UNBOWED: Signature Programme 2
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 4, featuring Gina Gibney, the founder of Gibney Company, with acclaimed dancemaker, Sonya Tayeh to discuss OH COURAGE! and Tayeh’s work with the Gibney Company.

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.

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