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John Cassese

  • Birthplace: Lake Mahopac, New York
Date of passing: 
October 18, 2019

John Cassese, known as The Dance Doctor, was a dance instructor who choreographed dance sequences for television shows and trained performers for many roles in television and film including Mad Men, The Bachelor, and L.A. Law.

John Cassese, known as The Dance Doctor, was a dance instructor who choreographed dance sequences for television shows and trained performers for many roles in television and film including Mad Men, The Bachelor, and L.A. Law.

Born in Lake Mahopac, New York, Cassese began taking dance lessons at the age of 10. Enamored by the euphoria that comes with hearing music and moving to it, and inspired by American Bandstand and Fred Astaire, Cassese became a professional ballroom dancer, performing and competing in prestigious competitions.

He later launched his teaching career, while also singing and dancing in off-Broadway productions and performing as a night club entertainer with his "John Cassese Band". Several years ago he relocated to Los Angeles, where his cousin, Hollywood publicist Maria LaMagra, reinvented him as "The Dance Doctor," offering private in-home dance instruction. His business became so popular he opened a studio and hired additional instructors. Today, Cassese's studio is home to several instructors who teach a variety of genres including ballet, hip-hop, Salsa, Tango, and much more. the Dance Doctor's corporate clients include such powerhouses as Sony, Paramount and Twentieth Century Fox.

Although Cassese's clients varied in ages and experience levels, he may be best known for training couples who are preparing for their wedding. Whether it's educating a couple about basic steps, helping the couple select the first dance song and accompanying dance, or choreographing an original dance for the individual couple, Cassese made learning how to dance for a wedding simple and fun.

While dance may have been Cassese's original love, his passion for singing also won him praise and attention. Cassese and his band performed for the Jerry Lewis' Muscular Dystrophy Pre Telethon Extravaganza. He performed at industry wrap parties and premieres (Evita, Broken Arrow, True Lies, My Giant); nightclubs (Tavern on the Green, the Improv, the Comedy Store); hotels (The Plaza, the Four Seasons, the Ritz-Carlton, the Peninsula, the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Beverly Hilton) and birthday celebrations (Billy Crystal's 50th, Wolfgang Puck's 50th) to name a few.

Cassese completed a series of swing dance instructional videos, as well as wedding videos which feature Fox Trot, Waltz and Salsa combinations.

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John Cassese

John Cassese

Photo credit: 
Howard Wise

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