Denise Echemendia

Denise C. Echemendia

1948 - 2020

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Obituary of Denise C. Echemendia

Denise Echemendia of Amherst, N.Y. died on November 30, 2020. She was an accomplished dancer, performer, and educator. 

Denise was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. to John and Marie Brigandi on October 15, 1948. She was the third of three daughters. She grew up in Kew Gardens, N.Y. where she learned to ride horses and dance. She graduated from Richmond Hill High School in Queens, N.Y.. She fell in love and married Diego Echemendia, the love of her life, and honeymooned in Spain.

During the “Saturday Night Fever” dance craze in the 1970’s, Denise and Diego owned a successful dance studio, Dancing Oasis, with locations in Manhattan and Queens. It was there she taught actors, like John Ritter, and N.Y. Yankees baseball players, like Jim Kaat, to do the Hustle and the Fox Trot. After her husband’s death in 2000, Denise moved to Katonah, N.Y. where she resided with her sister, Beverley, until her move to Amherst, N.Y. in 2007.

Denise leaves behind her beloved sister, Arlene Morsellino, her dearest nephew, John Morse, his wife, Sylvia Pachas, and their two boys, Daniel and Christian. She also leaves behind her beloved cousins, Eugene Lupia, Anthony Lupia, and Roberta Lyman, her many friends, and, of course, Chipper, her two-year old Shih Tzu. She was pre-deceased by her beloved sister Beverley, who died in 2015.

Denise lived her life with grace, integrity, kindness, and love. In late spring or summer, we shall gather to celebrate Denise’s remarkable life. 


To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven; a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

                                                                Ecclesiastes III


Denise hopes you dance …

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