Course Director: Repertory, Contemporary/Modern Dance
Julia Sasso is a choreographer, teacher, mentor, performer and the Artistic Director of Julia Sasso dances. She began dancing in 1960 in Detroit, Michigan where she trained with Cecchetti ballet master, Rose Marie Floyd. In her teens she was a scholarship student at the American Dance Center (Joffrey Ballet, NYC) and an apprentice with the Harkness Ballet (NYC). Sasso attended York University’s Dance program from 1974-1976. Throughout her professional career she has developed her artistry through ongoing training in the Skinner Releasing Technique (SRT), Improvisation, Authentic Movement, theatre, voice, Pilates, ballet and contemporary dance techniques.
Sasso performed internationally with Toronto’s Dancemakers (1984-2000) and was Assistant Artistic Director and principal company teacher for a dozen years. She was a featured performer in original works and repertoire by Carol Anderson, Serge Bennathan, Anna Blewchamp, Christopher House, James Kudelka, Bill James, Lar Lubovitch, Tom Stroud and Doug Varone, among others. Sasso has appeared as a guest artist with Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault, Toronto Dance Theatre, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers and in the work of choreographers, Conrad Alexandrowicz, Sarah Chase, Murray Darroch, Sasha Ivanochko and Claudia Moore among others.
Sasso has created extensively for the concert stage, for theatre, feature film and television. Her choreography has been commissioned and presented throughout Canada, in the United States and abroad by Harbourfront Centre, Canada Dance Festival, Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada, Toronto Dance Theatre, Dancemakers, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers and DanceWorks, among others. Feature film credits (choreography) include Boy Meets Girl (1998) and The Life Before This (1999). Film treatments of her pieces have been screened on television and at film festivals worldwide. Sasso has created works for all of Canada’s recognized Professional Training Programs (PTPs) in contemporary dance and countless works for The School of Toronto Dance Theatre’s PTP. Independently and as Artistic Director of Julia Sasso dances, Sasso has created, produced and presented five full evening length dance works. NOW magazine nominated Sasso Toronto’s BEST CHOREOGRAHER in 2013 and 2014.
Highly regarded as a teacher of contemporary dance techniques, Sasso has taught internationally at distinguished learning centres including UCLA, Cornell University, Canada Dance Festival, Le Groupe Dance Lab, Peggy Baker Dance Projects, Dancemakers, Volcano Conservatory, Canada’s National Ballet School, Régroupement Québécois de la Danse (RQD), Ryerson and Simon Fraser Universities; in Budapest, Mexico, England, Wales, Scotland, Austria and Germany. An internationally Certified Teacher of the Skinner Releasing Technique™, Sasso is a core faculty member (since 1995) in the School of Toronto Dance Theatre’s PTP and (since 2006) teaches in the Department of Dance at York University.
Sasso has received awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, Chalmers Foundation, Laidlaw Foundation, Metcalf Foundation, John McKellar Foundation, Dancers’ Transition Resource Centre (DTRC), Skinner Releasing Institute, York University, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Royal Winnipeg Ballet PTP, Joffrey Ballet, Harkness Ballet and The Cecchetti Council of America.
Sasso is currently engaged as Artistic Associate with Forcier/Norman (DanceWorks/NextSteps) and as a creative collaborator/performer with Sore for Punching You/Allison Cummings. Sasso has recently been appointed as an Adjunct Member to the Graduate Program in Dance at York University.
Areas of Academic Specialty: Repertory, Contemporary/Modern Dance