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Tryntje Shapli, 79

July 28, 2018

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Tryntje Shapli, 79, died peacefully on Saturday, July 28, 2018, at Berkshire Medical Center.

Born in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 15, 1939, as Margot Tryntje Ostrander, she moved to Berlin with her family at the age of nine. For the next six years she lived throughout Europe, as her father was stationed in Germany, France, Austria, and England. While in Paris, Tryntje began dancing, studying under the Russian Ballerina Olga Preobrajenska.  At the age of 15, Tryntje and her family returned to the States, and lived in Chappaqua, NY..

Tryntje met her future husband, Omar Shapli, in 1959 while studying dance at Bennington College in Vermont. Tryntje and Omar were married on Cape Cod on June 18, 1961.

Tryntje had a full career immersed in her passion for dance and the movement of the human body. She danced and studied with people such as Ruth Currier, Remy Charlip, Linda Tarnay, Pearl Lang and Phoebe Neville, among others. She was an original and creative choreographer, a Professor of Dance at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and at CalState Long Beach, and was certified in Laban Movement Analysis.

In addition to her passion for dance, Tryntje was also defined by her ability to see, feel, understand, and participate in the true magic of life. This magic was instilled in everyone who spent time with her and was deeply felt by her family and close friends. Tryntje was devoted to her family in ways that will always make each of them feel lucky and loved forever.  Sadly, her beloved husband passed away in 2010.

Tryntje showed tremendous strength and grace while fighting pancreatic cancer and other complications during the last nine months of her life, and her magic nature remained strong, as evidenced by the impact she had on her caregivers.  She died peacefully at Berkshire Medical Center with one of her sons by her side.

She is survived by her three sons, Tarik, Alaric and Zachary; two grandsons, Ivan and Isaac; two brothers Frank and Chrys; her dog Blix; and two cats Bramble and Luna.

Funeral notice: A private graveside service will be held at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research ( or Doctors Without Borders (

Recollections & Sympathy For the Family
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