Sabatino Verlezza holds an M.F.A. (Dance) from the University of Michigan (1979), a B.A. (Dance) from the State University of New York at Brockport (1977) and an Associate Arts degree from Orange County Community College, NY, (1975). He danced professionally with the May O’Donnell Dance Company in NYC from 1979-1988 and also worked with the Joyce Trisler Danscompany, Glenn-Lund Dance, Sophie Maslow, Norman Walker and Janet Soares/Dances among others. In 1988, he established his own company comprised of former O’Donnell, Maslow and Trisler dancers entitled, Verlezza Dance. He has choreographed for many companies in NYC, including the Joyce Trisler Danscompany, Joffrey Ballet II and the May O’Donnell Dance Company. Sabatino has taught dance technique, composition and repertory at Marymount Manhattan College, Brooklyn College and Dowling College in New York and has been guest artist/faculty at numerous universities nationally and internationally. He’s worked on numerous projects with composer Gian Carlo Menotti, Ben Vereen, Alessandra Belloni and Christopher Walken. In 1994, he became Artistic Director/Choreographer for [Cleveland Ballet] Dancing Wheels, where he also served as choreographer, principal dancer and faculty member until 2003. His award winning lecture/performances, concerts and appearances totaled over 150 events per year and were seen worldwide. Sabatino and his long time collaborator, Barbara Allegra Verlezza were the 2003 recipients of the Northern Ohio Live Achievement Award in Dance. In Ohio he has been guest artist/faculty at Kent State University, University of Akron and Case Western Reserve University. As Artistic Director of Verlezza Dance, he continues present main stage concerts and educational programs. With Barbara, he co-directs the Creative Movement/Dance program at the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation and the Euclid Adult Training Center for senior adults with developmental, physical and sensory disabilities (CCBMR). In 2005, Sabatino established a company studio and the School of Verlezza Dance in Shaker Heights, offering classes with a full range of curriculum, age and ability levels for students with and without disabilities. As a certified Pilates instructor, he extends his teaching approach to broaden his philosophy of arts and wellness. The Verlezzas are recipients of the CCBMR/DD Inclusion Award (2003, 2008). Verlezza Dance was a 2008 Ohio Governor’s Award Nominee. In 2010 Verlezza Dance will continue their relationships wit Opera Circle and begin new partnerships with Hathaway Brown and The Ratner School.
Barbara Allegra Verlezza
Associate Professor, Kent State University (2003-present). After completing her education at the University of Michigan with a B.S., Education of Dance (1975) and her M.F.A. degree, Dance (1978), Barbara was a soloist with the May O’Donnell Dance Company from 1979-1988, NYC. She also danced with the Joyce Trisler Danscompany, Sophie Maslow, Norman Walker and Verlezza Dance. Relocating to Cleveland in 1994, she served as Associate Artistic Director, Education Director, principal dancer, and faculty member for [Cleveland Ballet] Dancing Wheels until 2003. Since 2003, Sabatino and Barbara, as Directors of Verlezza Dance, have continued unique partnerships, teaching and directing the Creative Movement/Dance Classes at the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation as well as with the Euclid Adult Training Center for senior adults with developmental, physical and sensory disabilities through the Cuyahoga County Board of Mental Retardation/Developmental Disability where they were recently honored with the 2008 Inclusion Award. In 2003, they were the recipients of the Northern Ohio Live Achievement Award in Dance. In 2005, Barbara was honored with the Dance Teacher Magazine Award for Outstanding Teacher in Higher Education. She co-teaches summer programs with Sabatino in New York, at the School of Verlezza Dance, Shaker Heights, OH and has been guest faculty in Nicosia, Cyprus (2005, 2007).
Tracy L. Pattison
“boldly expressive” (The Plain Dealer)
“a completely different species.” (Cool Cleveland)
Originally from New York State, Tracy holds a Bachelor of Science, cum laude, in Dance and Exercise Physiology from State University of New York at Brockport, where she was awarded the Friar's Foundation Scholarship for Performing Artists, as well as a Post-Degree Certificate, magna cum laude, from Cuyahoga Community College, an Ohio State Medical Board License in Massage Therapy, and Pilates Certifications from Powerhouse Pilates in Pennsylvania (Mat) and DK Body Balancing/University of Nevada at Las Vegas (Mat and Apparatus.)
Her professional credits include dancing in both the U.S.A. and Canada for American Dance Repertory Theatre, The Doris Humphrey Repertory Dance Company, The Dance Construction Company, OMO Dance Company and others. Her performing career has included the pleasure of dancing historical American Modern Dance works by such pioneers as Doris Humphrey, Eleanor King, Jose Limon and May O’Donnell, including the recent reconstruction of O’ Donnell’s Homage to Shiva. She is one of the co-founders of the critically acclaimed Chimera Project in Toronto, Ontario. In 1999 she joined [Cleveland Ballet] Dancing Wheels under the direction of Sabatino Verlezza, where she participated in the creation of, and danced many original roles, was on faculty, and was Tour Manager until 2003. As Dance Faculty she honed her skills teaching movement to a wide range of ages, levels and abilities, including adapting movement for students with physical and developmental disabilities. Since 2003 she has danced exclusively for Verlezza Dance for whom she is currently Assistant Artistic Director, Principal Dancer and Faculty/Class Coordinator for School of Verlezza Dance. She has most recently begun to restage Verlezza Dance Repertory for Student Dance Companies.
Tracy’s choreography for Modern Dance and Musical Theatre has been presented in New York and Toronto. In Cleveland she has choreographed for Verlezza Dance Summer Dance Workshops 2005 and 2007, School of Verlezza Dance since 2005, including Snow Tails (which she co-authored) as well as in collaboration with Sabatino Verlezza as Assistant Choreographer and Director on various operas and art song cycles for Opera Circle.
The Inspired Body, LLC, her own Pilates training and massage therapy company, was recognized by the Fox 8 HotList as “Best Pilates 2009.” Dance being her first love, she continues to be a life-long student through continuing education and summer workshops, most recently the Bill Evans Dance Intensive 2009.