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Ilter Ibrahimof will take a curtain call as artistic director of Fall for Dance North

One of the highlights of last year's Fall for Dance North was Mthuthezeli & Siphe, two brothers from South Africa who performed UNBOWED: Signature Programme 2. Photo by Bruce Zinger.

A leader in Toronto’s dance community is planning to relocate to Portugal. This autumn, Ilter Ibrahimof will make the move after stepping down as artistic director of the Fall for Dance North international festival. It will come at the conclusion of the festival’s 10th-anniversary edition in Toronto.

In 2015, the Istanbul-raised Ibrahimof and his team launched Fall for Dance North at Meridian Hall. He gained the endorsement of its New York namesake, which will soon celebrate its 20th anniversary.

“Their affordable, gala-style model made professional dance more accessible and inclusive. But that was just the start. Since then, FFDN has stepped into its own identity,” Ibrahimof says in a news release. “I am immensely proud of the connections and partnerships that we have built during my tenure to realize the original vision. I am also grateful to the FFDN team—they are smart, creative, resilient and I value the perspectives of each and every individual.”

Ibrahimof made dance more accessible through a program called “Open Studio”. Under this initiative, dancers practised daily at Union Station in a studio without walls, offering passersby insights into the creative process.

In addition, Fall for Dance North helped mentor other festivals. And it licensed its original films to Marquee TV for streaming to international audiences.

In its first decade, Fall for Dance North presented 64 performances for 66,000 ticket holders. It reached another 30,000 on digital platforms during the pandemic, with all tickets offered at just $15. Furthermore, its free programming was seen by more than 100,000 people.

Ilter Ibrahimof made dance more accessible to Torontonians. Photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic.

Ibrahimof will work as a consultant

Ibrahimof describes programming the 10th anniversary festival as “one final curtain call before passing the torch on to the company’s next steward”.

“I am a tremendous believer in the potential of what’s next,” Ibrahimof adds. “The festival was built around artists who see the world in new ways, which allows us to see in new ways, too. I look forward—with great anticipation—to where new leadership will take FFDN in the future.”

His next stop will be the northern Portuguese city of Porto, which gained fame after the urban core was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. From there, Ibrahimof will work as an international dance consultant.

Meanwhile, Fall for Dance North board chair Valerie Wilder says that an executive search team will help choose Ibrahimof’s successor.

Moreover, the Fall for Dance North board has launched a $1-million fundraising campaign called Dancing Forward. With lead support from Joan and Jerry Lozinski and contributions from others, it’s already raised 65 percent toward its target.

“When Jerry and I first stepped forward to become involved with FFDN, we were filled with both enthusiasm and excitement,” FFDN director and past chair John Lozinski says in the news release. “The festival was a unique way to discover and support new artists, while also investing in expanding audiences for organizations we already loved. Ilter’s vision for what a dance festival can be has brought us much joy and satisfaction.”

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Toronto Spark editor Charlie Smith has worked as a journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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