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Local dance teacher retires at 88

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Most people retire at 65, but when you love what you do you tend to stick around a little longer.

Tony Romeo knew what he wanted to do since he was five and he really hasn't stopped doing it since. He's 88 and there's still a spring in his step.

After nearly 60 years, as a dance teacher Tony had his dance studio's last recital.

So what caused him to retire now? He quotes Gene Kelly when he decided to retire.

"'Dancing is for the young.'  He was right, you can't do the things you used to do and it bothers you, so I feel the same way," Romeo said.

Tony did solo dance work in New York City in the 1940s then came back to Youngstown to teach at his own studio.

He says he's probably had over 10,000 students in that time. And they all loved him.

Former student and now teacher, Kelly Johnson, said,

"Tony has always told us, if you take every day and live it to the fullest and do what you want to do, you'll be happy," said Kelly Johnson, a former student who went on to become a teacher herself. "That's exactly what he taught us; we dance and we're absolutely happy."

So what kind of advice does Tony have for aspiring dancers? Learn ballet. He says the great Bob Fosse required it of all his dancers.

"If you weren't ballet trained you couldn't get into his dance company. He felt, and I feel the same way, if you can do ballet you can do anything," Romeo said.

Well, Tony seems to have done it all in his long career and if you think he's going to take it easy in retirement, think again.

He plans to work out routinely at the YMCA. And take a few vacations starting with taking in a few shows in Las Vegas.

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