University of Pittsburgh
June 22, 1999


Contact:  412-624-4147

Shona J. Sharif, senior lecturer and advisor in the University of Pittsburgh Department of Africana Studies, died Tuesday, June 22. She was 52.

Since 1986, Ms. Sharif has taught African-American health issues,

African-American, African, and Caribbean Dance at Pitt. As artistic director of the African Drum and Dance Ensemble, she choreographed and directed over

40 performances each year including, "Swing Low, Sweet in the Morning," "African Fables," and "Black Nativity."

At the University Ms. Sharif served as advisor to the Black Dance workshop, a student organization, and as a FOCUS mentor, a program for

African-American freshmen. In the community Ms. Sharif taught Saturday classes at the Oakland School of the Performing Arts, and the KUUMBA dance and theater workshop to children in St. Clair Village for the last 10 years. These children danced in "Black Nativity."

Ms. Sharif earned her B.F.A from Howard University in 1970 and her M.Ed. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1989. "Dance Performance and Audience Anxiety Response" was her thesis topic.

This year she received the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Excellence in Dance Award and the Pittsburgh Dance Council Award for Excellence in Dance. Other awards include the Pittsburgh Dance Council 1996 Choreographers' Continuum XIII award, Pitt's 1989 Doctoral Fellowship Award and Honors, and the 1982 Tri-State Expressions of Excellence Award.

Ms Sharif served on the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts' Dance Advisory Panel from 1993 through 1995, and was a panelist at the 1993 Sixth Annual International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference in Dallas, TX and the 1996 Ninth Annual International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference in Dayton, OH.

She is survived by her husband Ernest Bey, sons Oronde and Hassan Sharif, a granddaughter Jamayah Sharif, and three brothers Jacob, Mark, and Chris Coleman of Rochester, NY.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by White Memorial Chapel, Thomas Boulevard, Pittsburgh.