Julia Sasso’s decades-long career encompasses performance, choreography, teaching, mentorship, writing, and advocacy. She began dancing in 1960 in Detroit, where she trained with Cecchetti ballet master, Rose Marie Floyd. In her teens, she was a scholarship student at the Joffrey Ballet School, and an apprentice with the Harkness Ballet, both in New York City. Her artistry has since been shaped by curiosity, inquiry, experimentation, and investment in a variety of practices including Skinner Releasing Technique™, improvisation, theatre, voice, pilates, Gaga, ELDOA, Fundamentals (Cristine Wright), and various contemporary movement techniques.
Recognized as ‘one of the foremost dance artists in the country’ (The Dance Current), Sasso performed internationally with Toronto’s Dancemakers in 1984-2000, and was the company’s Assistant Artistic Director and principal teacher for a dozen years. She is ‘one of perhaps a dozen contemporary modern dancers in Canada who is simply breathtaking in motion’ (The Ottawa Citizen). She continues to perform and create independently. Sasso has choreographed extensively for the concert stage as well as for theatre, feature film, and television. Her choreography has been commissioned and presented throughout Canada, in the United States, and abroad, by Harbourfront Centre, the Canada Dance Festival, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada, Toronto Dance Theatre, Dancemakers, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, and DanceWorks among others.
Under the moniker Julia Sasso dances, she has created, produced, and presented five full evening-length dance works: Sporting Life (1996, remounted 2016), Beauty (2003), the betrayal project (2006), Túl a folyón (Beyond the River, 2009), and SLoE (2012). Her contribution to theatre and concert dance has been acknowledged with eight Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations. Sasso has taught at distinguished learning centres worldwide. She has created choreography for professional contemporary dance training programs across Canada and abroad and since 1995, and has created close to 100 dances for The School of Toronto Dance Theatre’s Professional Training Program, where she is a core faculty member. From 2006-2022, she directed a range of Dance courses in York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Her artistic practice has been recognized with awards, grants, scholarships, and bursaries from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, Chalmers Performing Arts Training Awards, Laidlaw Foundation, Metcalf Foundation, The John McKellar Charitable Foundation, Dancers’ Transition Resource Centre, Skinner Releasing Institute, York University, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Joffrey Ballet School, Harkness House for Ballet Arts, and The Cecchetti Council of America.
Sasso’s published writing appears in, Skinner Releasing Technique, A Movement and Dance Practice (2021) www.triarchypress.net/srt