QUEENSBURY — The curtain has come down on the Glens Falls Ballet and Dance Center after more than a half-century.
Carlene Poster decided it was time to retire.
“Thirty-nine years is a long time and I feel like it’s time to do something else,” she said.
She enjoyed teaching dance but she would like to enjoy life and take a break from the hard work of owning a business. It is a lot of work to choreograph the performances, which are increasingly complex, and incorporating sound, lighting and changing visual backdrops.
“You have this monkey on your back. I could never ever not think about it.”
Being a dancer, she has developed arthritis and injuries because of the wear and tear on her body.
The school was started in 1965 by Oleg and Mireille Briansky. Poster took it over 39 years ago and has taught about 15,000 dancers during her tenure.
Poster said she will miss interacting with people on a daily basis including students, parents and her seven-person staff.
“Many of my faculty have been with me for 10, 15, 25 years. I was very lucky,” she said.
Poster was not able to find anyone to take over the school. She has sold the building to Adirondack Enrichment, which provides occupational and speech therapy to children with disabilities.
“It’s still going be a school for children, which makes me feel really good, because I designed the building,” she said.
The current facility opened in August 1989 and was built by Hilltop Construction with a “lot of love,” according to Poster.
Poster said she was glad to have incorporated jazz, modern dance, tap, hip-hop and ballroom dancing in addition to the traditional ballet. She also has added voice and acting lessons, as people seeking to do dance professionally on Broadway often have to be triple threats — singing and acting as well as dancing.
Poster, who is originally from Reading, Pennsylvania, started dancing when she was 7 years old and she recalled going down to Atlantic City for two months in the summer to perform there as opening acts from Glen Campbell, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.
She majored in dance, studying with top faculty at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
After getting married, Poster couple relocated to Glens Falls, where husband was going to join his father’s podiatry practice.Poster turned down a job at Skidmore College, partly because she did not want to drove on the Northway during the winter, and also because she wanted to be able to teach students for longer than the four years.
When the Brianskys offered her the chance to teach girls ages 3 to 18 and eventually take over the building, she jumped at the chance.
“I knew nothing about running a dance studio,” she said. “They helped me. I learned. I came from a very, very hardworking family and preserved.”