6 Hairy Legs Practice of Dance and Fitness is based on Sabatino Verlezza's artistic talent, experiences and The Verlezza Method of Dance and Fitness. We embrace this Method in the development of 6HL's Dance and Fitness Practice.
The Verlezza Method was developed by our very own Sabatino Verlezza in conjunction with his wife, Barbara Allegra Verlezza and many other influences. Please read below for more on this Method.
The Verlezza Method of Dance and Fitness training is rooted in four decades of Sabatino Verlezza and Barbara Allegra Verlezza’s professional dance experience as performers, educators, choreographers and collaborators. They had the privilege of working extensively with American modern dance pioneer, MayO’Donnell and are both appointed certifiers of her dance technique through The O’Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundation, Inc., NYC. In addition to dance principles and movement vocabulary, they have incorporated other movement-based practices such as fitness training, yoga, folk and social dance andPilates, of which Sabatino is certified. Their approach to movement generates from both the lens of health and wellness and artistic expression. It is designed to include a wide range of people: professional to novice and children to adults. For over 25 years, their work has included diverse populations and agegroups with various physical, sensory and intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Verlezza Method encourages increased flexibility, strength, alignment, range of motion, creative expression and the joy of movement.
Sabatino Verlezza, MFA (Dance)6 Hairy Legs Founding PartnerVerlezza Dance, Artistic DirectorCertified Pilates Instructor (CPI)Certifier, May O’Donnell Dance Technique (The O’Donnell-Green Music & Dance Foundation, Inc., NYC)
Barbara Allegra Verlezza, MFA (Dance)Associate Professor of Dance, Kent State University, OHVerlezza Dance, Associate Artistic DirectorCertifier, May O’Donnell Dance Technique (The O’Donnell-Green Music & Dance Foundation, Inc., NYC)
6 Hairy Legs, Co-Founder
MFA (Dance, University of Michigan); Certified Pilates Instructor (CPI); May O’Donnell Technique (Appointed Certifier, NYC); Verlezza Dance (Artistic Director)
Sabatino danced as a soloist with the May O’Donnell Dance Company, NYC and also performed with the Joyce Trisler Danscompany, Sophie Maslow, Norman Walker, Glenn-Lund Dance, Claire Porters/Portables, and Dances/Janet Soares, among other artists. He has choreographed for many companies and individuals including the Joyce Trisler Danscompany, Joffrey II, Christopher Walken, Ben Vereen, Billy Idol, and his own company Verlezza Dance. Sabatino has presented his work in numerous national and international venues to critical acclaim including Ailey Theater (NYC), Joyce Theater (NYC), and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He has taught at and choreographed for colleges, universities and professional studios, nationally and internationally. From 1994-2003, he served as co-artistic director/choreographer of Cleveland-based Dancing Wheels, a professional company comprising dancers with and without disabilities. Since 2000, he and his wife Barbara Allegra Verlezza teach weekly classes for senior adults with developmental, physical and sensory disabilities through the HELP Foundation, Inc., OH. Along with their O’Donnell colleague Nancy Lushington, the Verlezza’s teach annual summer intensives for children-adults with disabilities through the Steffi Nossen School/Foundation, NY, as well as co-teach/direct the annual May O’Donnell Technique Certification Summer Intensive, NYC under the auspices of The O’Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundation, Inc. In addition to 6 Hairy Legs, Sabatino’s other partnerships include Verlezza Dance (Artistic Director, 1988-present) and St. Louis-based Illuminations Dance Company (Co-Founder/Artistic Director, 2015-present). As co-founder, teacher, and choreographer of 6 Hairy Legs, Sabatino has collaborated with co-founder Suzanne Kalafian on numerous live and virtual classes, workshops, performances, and events. He currently teaches weekly classes in O’Donnell Technique through 6 Hairy Legs, and he and Suzanne continue to develop and augment the Dance/Fitness curriculum presented by MindBody.
6 Hairy Legs, Co-Founder
Associates of Business Management (Widener University)
Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer (ABCDT Certification)
Suzanne has been a professional dog trainer since 1997 and holds several certifications and titles including: Dog Trainer through Animal Behavior College; Mentor Trainer for Animal Behavior College; Treibball Trainer and Certification Trainer; Canine Good Citizen Evaluator for the American Kennel Club (AKC); and Service Dog Trainer/Certifier, State of North Carolina. She owned and operated Superior Dog Training from 2003-2018 where she taught Puppy Obedience and Dog Obedience. Subsequently, she opened a training facility and worked with Canine Sports (Agility, Nosework and Treibball) and Canine Fitness. She has also served as a national Treibball judge in numerous competitions. In 2017, Suzanne and Sabatino Verlezza began their collaboration in two dance/movement workshops for Creativity in Motion, a dance studio in Cary, NC. The students comprised youth with various disabilities and included a service dog. Sabatino served as teacher/choreographer for the students and Suzanne advised and choreographed for the dog. In 2018, they launched 6 Hairy Legs, a Dance/Fitness platform for humans and canines presenting classes, workshops, performances and other activities in North Carolina and Ohio. They eventually produced and presented “The Nutcracker and his Mutt” for two holiday seasons with Sabatino as main choreographer and Suzanne as canine choreographer. Additionally, they co-produced a human/canine competition entitled So You Think You Can Prance, attracting participants from across the United States through the use of a virtual platform. Her professional development continues through dance and fitness classes with various teachers, and she is also pursuing a certification in Relaxation Therapy. In addition to her administrative and creative work with 6 Hairy Legs, Suzanne continues to work as canine trainer, consultant, and certifier.
Barbara Allegra Verlezza
6 Hairy Legs, contributing choreographer, author and editor
MFA (Dance, University of Michigan); May O’Donnell Technique (Appointed Certifier, NYC); Verlezza Dance (Associate Artistic Director); Kent State University, Associate Professor, Dance
Barbara had an extensive professional performing career in NYC as soloist with American modern dance pioneer, May O’Donnell (1979-1988) as well as with Sophie Maslow, Norman Walker, and the Joyce Trisler Danscompany. Since 1988, she has served as Associate Artistic Director of Verlezza Dance, a company founded in NYC by her husband Sabatino Verlezza. From 1994-2003, she was the Associate Artistic/Education Director for Cleveland-based Dancing Wheels, a professional company comprising dancers with and without disabilities. Barbara is a fulltime professor at Kent State University (KSU) where she teaches O’Donnell Modern Technique, Dance Composition, Dance History, Dance Appreciation, and freshman and senior seminars (2003-present). She also choreographs for KSU’s annual mainstage concerts. With colleague Joan Meggitt, she co-developed a course entitled Teaching Dance and Movement for Nontraditional Populations to address the inclusion of people not traditionally welcomed into dance spaces such as people with disabilities, senior adults, and those with chronic illness. She has presented/co-presented her work at national and international conferences and has authored/co-authored papers, articles and other written materials regarding her work with dance and disability/diversity. Sabatino and Barbara were honored with the 2003 Northern Ohio Live Dance Achievement Award for their body of work in integrated dance and the 2008 Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities Inclusion Award in recognition of their work with senior adults with disabilities. Barbara has also been the recipient of the Dance Teacher Magazine Award for Outstanding Teacher in Higher Education (2005), KSU Mother’s, Mentors, and Muses (2013), and the KSU College of the Arts Distinguished Teacher Award (2017). Barbara and Sabatino continue co-directing dance education and dance programs for people with disabilities in Ohio and New York.
At 6 HL we love our pets!! we know you love yours too and we would love to see them once in a while. Please feel free to have them join you if you think it would be a positive interaction. Let me introduce our pets.
Meet Mayzie the cat and Spike the dog!
Mayzie Lives with Sabatino and Barbara. she loves playing eating and movement with Sabatino. You may see her pop in to the class or video every once in a while. If there is a treat involved she will be there.
Spike Lives with Suzanne and Al. he is a senior as well, but has lots of spunk. he loves walks, frisbee, snuggles and any dance or workout that Suzanne will do with him. You are sure to see him or hear him in class. he loves to make up his own movement, classic Spike.