QUEENSBURY — Carlene Poster told an 11-year-old Melissa Froats that someday she wanted her to come back to Queensbury and teach dance for her at the Glens Falls Ballet and Dance Center.
Poster was thrilled when, after a year in the working world, the now college-educated 23-year-old Froats called her to say she was coming home and was ready to hit the dance floor.
“She is full of positive energy and a great personality and talent galore,” gushed Poster, the owner and artistic director of the dance studio on Bay Road.
Poster said she hopes to retire someday and pass the studio off to the capable hands … or feet … of Froats.
“I’m hoping that she will carry on the name and the school,” Poster said.
Froats was raised in Queensbury and started dancing at the Glens Falls Ballet and Dance Center at age 4.
“I grew up here, basically,” admitted Froats, who used to ride the school bus to the studio after school.
Dance helped the shy youngster gain confidence.
“I really think it helped me with my self-expression and just become the kind of person I am today,” Froats said as she caught her breath after teaching a jazz class. “I love the arts. I also love to paint and draw. So I’ve had a love for that. I’m just a huge advocate for the arts in general.”
But dance was always her first love, a relationship that is evident by the wide smile she wears while teaching it.
During a recent beginner jazz class, Froats waved her arms like a butterfly.
“Remember, our arms are just as much a part of dance as our legs are,” she told the young dancers in black leotards.
She reminded the quintet to continue to breathe through their movements and spot while they turned, and constantly encouraged them as they performed grand jetes across the gray dance studio floor.
“I honestly love the way it makes me feel,” Froats said about dancing. “It’s like a sense of peace, in a way. Definitely an outlet when you’re stressed out and overwhelmed.”
Froats expanded her obsession with dance at SUNY Brockport, where she double majored in dance and interdisciplinary arts for children and minored in recreation and leisure studies.
Unlike many aspiring dancers, Froats always knew she wanted to teach dance rather than perform it.
“I’ve always loved kids and I love teaching, I really do,” she said. “I have a passion for education. I love dance and I love teaching, so for me it was a perfect combination.”
Right now, Froats is instructing eight different classes at the studio — Mommy & Me, jazz, creative rhythm and movement, beginner jazz, intermediate jazz, advanced jazz, modern contemporary and beginner ballet. She hopes to add an adult modern jazz class in the future.
But right now, she’s just happy being back home in the studio that nurtured her and raised her to be the dance teacher she is today.
“These kids are awesome. They teach me something new every day. They really do. They inspire me. I love to inspire them.”
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