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Riverside dance teacher Freddie Finn dies at 81

By in Press Enterprise on October 9, 2017

By Ryan Hagen

Freddie “Finn” Finazzo, who taught thousands of students how to dance over 63 years, died Sunday, Oct. 8, from heart-related complications. He was 81.

Finazzo, who died at home in the arms of his wife and son, opened Freddie Finn’s Dance Studio in 1954, when he was 18, as a way to finance his dance studies and performances.

He made a strong impression, one of his early students said Monday.

“I thought he was very arrogant, very cute, and I told my mom I was going to marry him,” said Gerry Finn.

None of those opinions changed. While they dated, Freddie received many offers to dance professionally on Broadway, which had been his dream.

“We talked about it and I encouraged him to do so, but I told him I would not be here when he came back,” Gerry Finn said. “So he stayed. … He came to love the studio and his students.”

Freddie and Gerry married in 1962 and had four sons: Chris, Matthew, Cory and Roman. Gerry and Cory, who are also professional dancers, use the stage last name Finn.

The couple had eight grandchildren, counting one who was being born Monday.

Thousands of students went through the studio, typically for 10 to 12 years, for 63 years until 2017. That’s when he and Gerry retired and handed over the studio to a former student.

Many students kept in touch for years after graduating, becoming teachers and friends.

“(I stayed for) the family atmosphere and the incredible dance teachers, really top-notch dance classes,” said Sherry Colgan Stone, 48. “Freddie’s was known throughout Southern California, great boss and always a very cheerful man. He was my first dance teacher there and I can remember the first step he ever taught us for the show and the huge smile on his face.”

A viewing and funeral are tentatively scheduled […]    

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