PITTSBURGH – It is with profound sadness that Point Park University and the Conservatory of Performing Arts announce the passing of dance legend Ron Tassone.
Tassone, 76, a full-time professor of dance, died Tuesday. He started at Point Park in September 1974.
Tassone began his career in summer stock and upon graduation made his Broadway debut in “Gypsy,” followed by seven other Broadway shows, including “Subways are for Sleeping,” “No Strings,” “Here’s Love,” “Fade-Out, Fade-In”,”Funny Girl,” “George M.” and “Billy.” He has also appeared on various television shows and in films.
“Ron was beloved by students and faculty. He brought tremendous joy to his students and the university, and our world is less rich with his absence,” University President Paul Hennigan said. “Ron loved his students and helped launch many a dancer’s career. He started the jazz program at Point Park and his legacy will live on through the work of his students. We extend our sincerest condolences to his family.”
Tassone established the jazz major within the Point Park dance program and assumed the role of director of dance for 10 years. He choreographed more than 25 jazz dance works at Point Park University’s Pittsburgh Playhouse. He also choreographed and/or directed many musicals at theatres such as Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Kenley Players, Phoenix Star Theatre, Music Fairs, Inc., and West Virginia Public Theatre. He was the co-choreographer of the American College Theatre Festival award-winning Grand Hotel, performed at the Kennedy Center in April 2002.
Tassone served as adjudicator for Dance Masters of Pennsylvania, Dance Masters of America, Lucas & Co. and Headliners regional and national competitions.
“He created the dancer and human being that I am today,” said Kiesha Lalama, associate professor of dance. “Everything I am is because of that man.
“The legacy he has established is legendary, to say the least. He gave his heart and soul to this dance program and to the Conservatory,” she said. “All he wanted to do was put smiles on people’s faces through dance. He has touched thousands of dancers’ lives and launched so many careers. He is one of those teachers you will always remember because he is one of those who helped shape your career and who you are as a person.”
Funeral details will be announced at a later date.