Patti has worked for the past 43 years in the dance world. After founding 2 very successful studios in Dothan, Al (Patti Rutland Jazz and Oz Dance Center) she went on to serve as a master teacher for Dance Educators of America, Dance Masters of America, The Southern Association of Dance Masters, Atlanta’s Jazz on Tap Festival, The Black College Dance Exchange, The University of Virginia, Fort Valley College, Kent State University, The Energy Source Dance Convention and The Philadelphia Dance Festival. She has also served as a judge and adjudicator for numerous dance conventions and competitions across the United States. She served on the Board of Directors for The Jazz Dance World Congress with Gus Giordano, Luigi, Matt Mattox, Marcus Alford, Patti Obey, Susan Quinn and Joe Tremaine. She is currently the Southern Director of Dance Educators of America and serves on the board of The Montgomery Ballet.
As a choreographer, Patti was in constant demand throughout the US. Houston Jazz Dance Theatre, The OC Dance Ensemble, and Patti Rutland Jazz all have original works within their repertory. Patti has won SEACTOR awards for best choreography for High School Musical, The Robber Bridegroom, Footloose and The Full Monty. She has also won a total of 14 awards for choreography she has set for high school show choirs and theater departments. Patti has staged, choreographed and/or conceptually designed over 150 works for the stage.
In 2005, Patti was awarded the Leo’s Dancewear Gold Shoe at The Jazz Dance World Congress in Chicago for her modern-day urban inspired jazz and hip hop piece A.M. This piece was not only a favorite during competition evenings, but as presented in the closing night program, became the pulse of the entire Congress, garnering such notices as “... volatile and full of almost uncontrollable energy,” from Dance Magazine. Her choreography has also won five Panoply Choreographer’s Events, a President’s Cup at Dance Educators of America Nationals in New York, 3 Overall High Score for Star Power Dance National Competitions in Los Angeles, Overall High Scores at Showstopper’s Regional and National Dance Competition and Overall High Scores at Dance Masters of America regional and national competitions.
In 2008, Patti’s first full-length stage production, Santa’s Workshop was registered as an original work in the United States Library of Congress. In 2021 the work was registered with The Dramatists Guild of America, gained representation by The Cooper Company in NYC and will be performed nationally in 2022.
Patti’s dancers include a former Miss America and back up dancers for artists such as Usher, Brandi, The Backstreet Boys, Monica, Keith Sweat and Salt-n-Peppa. Thodos Dance Chicago, Atlanta Jazz Dance Theatre, Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, the cast of Legally Blonde, Jersey Boys, 42nd Street, Anything Goes, Forever Plaid, Aluminum Show and iLuminate either currently have or have had former PRJ dancers as members. Patti’s students have appeared on The MTV Movie Awards, videos for The Backstreet Boys, Salt-N-Peppa, Keith Sweat, 112, Live at the Apollo, Nike commercials and many movies.
In 2012, Patti saw a dream come true when the dance company she founded in 2005 was able to offer 36-week contracts to professional dancers. Patti Rutland Jazz is the only professional jazz dance company in Alabama and began this journey with a group of dedicated and talented adult dancers that worked without pay to establish that Southeast Alabama was ready to support a professional dance company. These dancers produced many of the most successful, sold out shows that will be fondly remembered for years within the community. It was also these original dancers that performed a sold out show at Ailey Citigroup Theatre where Time Out Magazine quoted, "The creativity of Patti Rutland allowed hip-hop to take a concert stand." While Artistic Director of Patti Rutland Jazz, she saw the Arts in Education Outreach Program grow from 35 students to almost 10,000 students within the Dothan City School/Houston County School systems making it the largest weekly outreach program in the state of Alabama.
In 2018 Patti retired as Artistic Director of Patti Rutland Jazz. In 2021 Patti realized that retirement was not for her and she opened Patti Rutland Jazz in Brundidge, AL to continue her mission of providing a studio with highly qualified teachers in an atmosphere that encourages creativity and provides opportunities for children to grow and love the art of dance. In 2022, Patti and her niece Tara Reiley decided to retire the name Oz Dance Center and become one Patti Rutland Jazz with studios in Brundidge and Headland, AL and they look forward to raising the next generation of amazing dancers!
Bernice Self Help SEACT
Abby Binder Ripcord SEACT
Violet 9 to 5 SEACT
Sheila Boys Next Door SEACT
Bella Lost in Yonkers SEACT
Sister Mary Amnesia Nunsense SEACT
Claudine Can Can SEACT
Second Samuel Marsella Dean iHysm Studios
Shined Rabbit Patti Simpson Nanny Mae Productions
Skip Tracers Choreographer Possum Den Productions
Lifetime Achievement Dance Studio Life Magazine 2018
50 Most Entrepreneurial Women of the Wiregrass Mayor Mike Schmitz 2018
Friend of Education Dothan City School Board 2016
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