MNE Dance Institute names new director


Mercyhurst University is pleased to announce that Michael Patterson has been appointed director of the Mercyhurst North East Dance Institute (MNDI), located at the North East campus.

MNDI was established in 2006 to serve children ages 6 and up and to provide the community with exposure to the fine arts. The mission of MNDI is to nurture confidence, personal integrity, and discipline through the arts. MNDI’s vision is to enlighten the broader public about the physical and mental benefits of movement and to introduce an awareness of one’s own potential.

Patterson is returning to Erie after a successful performing and teaching career with the Pennsylvania Ballet in Philadelphia. Since leaving the company in 2006, Patterson has become a sought-after teacher with students dancing in many professional ballet companies including Pennsylvania Ballet, Orlando Ballet, Sarasota Ballet and American Repertory Ballet.

His students have been accepted to many ballet schools, both national and international. Schools in the states include the School of American Ballet (SAB), American Ballet Theatre, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School (JKO) of American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet School, Boston Ballet School, Chautauqua Institution, Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) and the School of the Pennsylvania Ballet. In the UK, his students have been accepted at the Royal Ballet School, London and the Elmhurst School for Dance associated with the Birmingham Royal Ballet in Birmingham, UK.

Patterson trained under Sharon Filone and mentor Barbara Sandonato, who was Pennsylvania Ballet’s first principal dancer in 1963, bringing international acclaim to the company. He has studied on full scholarship at Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Joffrey Ballet and American Ballet Theatre and was also accepted at Julliard.

Patterson has also worked with acclaimed dancers and teachers including George Balanchine’s muse Suzanne Farrell, Merrill Ashley, Barbara Sandonato, Marcia Dale Weary of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB) and Pennsylvania Ballet Soloist Gabriella Yudenich.

His performance career includes principal roles in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, and Agon. He has also danced principal roles in Trey McIntyre’s Blue Until June, Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs and Lew Christensen’s Con Amore ,to name a few. Patterson has also had the opportunity to perform Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake at the Edinburgh International Arts Festival in conjunction with the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio. Patterson is acclaimed for his performance of Brian Sander’s Cellophane, which was created for him for the benefit performance, Shut Up & Dance.

MNDI is currently offering free tap and jazz classes for the public, as well as beginner and intermediate ballet courses for children ages 6 and up. For more information about class times and schedules, call 814-725-6345 or contact Patterson at

PHOTO: Michael Patterson (Photo credit: Brett Thomas)


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