SUZANNE KALAFIAN, Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer (ABCDT) Certified Treibball Trainer (CTT), Canine Choreographer (CC)
Originally from Pennsylvania, Suzanne, previously owned Superior Dog Training, relocated to North Carolina in 2004. Suzanne has been a professional dog trainer since 1997 and holds several certifications, including:
Suzanne believes that enhancing the bond between dog and human is one of the most important aspects of training.
Whether teaching basic manners, addressing behavior concerns, or teaching a sport, she maintains an awareness of the partnership dynamic in order to keep frustration low and learning high. She promotes accurate communication and fun interactions as the cornerstones of successful training.
Canine and Human fitness are the keys to a long healthy life together, Suzanne truly believes that keeping a fit body will prevent injuries to you and your dog. If you have a dog that participates in sports, plays fetch, likes long walks or runs or just likes to cuddle, it is important to keep their mind and bodies healthy and strong.
Working on fitness and dance with your canine friend has many benefits and Suzanne would like to share them with you .
Suzanne firmly believes that continuing education is a must for furthering professional growth and providing top-notch services to clients. She attends a wide array of workshops and seminars, utilizes colleague-based forums, and reads extensively in order to stay current in the ever-changing field of training.
Suzanne’s has been training for 20 years and has had many dogs teach her communication, respect, love, and joy! Her goal is to help Dogs and their people live healthier lives together!
Suzanne is excited to be working with Sabatino Verlezza to bring you this unique and powerful program to promote wellness, exercise, movement and dance to both Dog and Human together!
SABATINO VERLEZZA, Master of Fine Arts (MFA), Certified Pilates Instructor (CPI), Bachelor of Science (BA), Associate Arts (AA)
Sabatino was born in Naples, Italy and received his MFA from the University of Michigan, BA from the State University of NY at Brockport and an Associate Arts from Orange County Community College.
He danced professionally in New York City with the May O’Donnell Dance Company, Joyce Trisler Danscompany, Sophie Maslow, Norman Walker, Laura Glenn, Janet Soares among other wonderful artists.
His choreography has appeared in the companies of Joffrey II, May O’Donnell Dance Company, Joyce Trisler Danscompany, Dancing Wheels, Verlezza Dance, Larkspur Dance Theater as well as performers, Ben Vereen, Christopher Walken, Gian Carlo Menotti and Billy Idol and many other intriguing performers.
As Artistic Director of [Cleveland Ballet] Dancing Wheels, a company of dancers with and without disabilities, his choreographic work toured the United States, Central America, Europe and Taiwan. For 9 years they presented over 150 concerts, lecture-performances and guest appearances per year to hundreds of thousands of audiences.
Sabatino is the recipient of the Spelman College National Choreographers Award, Northern Ohio Live Dance Award, Inclusion Award, Governor’s Award and numerous grants from Meet The Composer, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, The Romano Foundation and The O’Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundation.
Sabatino teaches the May O’Donnell Dance Technique Dance Technique as well as stages her repertory around the world. He is one original three Certifiers of the May O’Donnell Dance Technique and offers Intensive Workshop in NYC with, Nancy Lushington and Barbara Allegra Verlezza.
Sabatino is a Certified Pilates Instructor (CPI) he has private clients nationally as well as at The Wellness Lounge in NJ and Essential Pilates in NYC. As a Master Artist, Sabatino has brought his philosophy of human kinetics and its poetry to the academic setting as well as the private institutions and the individual.
Upcoming, he will present May O’Donnell’s Dance Energies (1959) in NYC at Joyce Theater as part of the University Partners Showcase and the Martha Graham Dance Company 2017 Season. In collaboration with choreographers, Emma Pressman and Barbara Allegra Verlezza, they will present, Carl Orff’s, Carmina Burana at Montclair State University at the beautiful Kasser Theater with a full chorus. He will also present his work on human movement functionality for people with disabilities at The Twelfth International Conference on the Arts in Society at the Sorbonne in Paris, France in June 2017.
Sabatino has worked with different populations as well as persons with disabilities for over 40 years and along with his collaborator, Barbara Allegra Verlezza they have had an ongoing class for seniors with disabilities for over 17 years. Their eldest dancer is 96 years young.
He presently teaches at Marymount Manhattan College, Raritan Valley Community College while presenting his choreographic work in the NY/NJ area with Claire Porter (Portables) and Loretta Fois.
In December 2015 he presented a one-act dance opera, ICARUS RISING at RVCC in collaboration with composer, Elliot Sokolov, Isidore Elias, lyricist and co-director and choreographer, Loretta Fois. He recently premiered, The Nameless at Marymount Manhattan College and restaged May O’Donnell’s, Powers of Ten, at Montclair State University, both set to a new music scores by longtime collaborator, Elliot Sokolov.
Sabatino continues to be resident choreographer for Opera Circle (OH), ILLUMINIATIONS dance company (MO), Creativity in Motion (NC) and his ensemble, VERLEZZA DANCE (NY/NJ). He currently works with Claire Porter (Portables) presenting recently in NYC at Joe’s Pub, Ailey Studio, American Dance Festival and WestFest. He is most grateful to his mentors, Susannah Newman, May O’Donnell, Gay Delanghe and Gertrude Schurr, Laura Glenn, Gary Lund and his two kids. Sabatino is honored to be working with Suzanne Kalafian and 6 Hairy Legs.