Catherine Frates–A time to dance

Catherine Frates’ inclination to dance goes back to her grandmother’s studio in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina.There was a succession of students who went off to school and came back to Roanoke Rapids and started dance studios.

But Frates had other ideas about her future that didn’t include dance. She had worked at a Junior Achievement radio station and fell in love with broadcasting. But when she returned for the next dance recital the following spring and helped with the children, she realized how much she loved dance. She returned to school and changed her major to Dance and Theater.

She met her husband, Tim, in North Carolina at a beauty pageant where he was taking pictures (she won.) He was working for the Wick newspaper chain. Eventually they ended up in Montrose where the Daily Press is part of the chain. They’ve been married 29 years.

“I told him that I would live anywhere he wanted,” she recalls, “as long as I could try to start a studio, and if it broke even I could keep it.”

Catherine teaches dance, “It is my love; it is my passion,” she said. The studio is located at 1912 S. Townsend, beside Big O Tires. This is the first studio she’s ever owned herself.

She needed 40 students to break even and had 41. The studio opened in 2004 and offered 2-3 year old classes called Motion and combo classes for 4-6 years old. Then they added lyrical, contemporary, hip-hop; lyrical is interpretation.“Our motto for the studio is “Dance for the Fun of it,” she said. “We have people who are very  skilled and others who are not so skilled. As long as they want to be here, we want to have them here.

I don’t pride myself in expertise of the dancers, I pride myself that they enjoy being there and that it is a fun place and it’s a safe place.”

They put on two recitals on the same weekend, usually the first weekend in May. “It’s the same recital twice,” Frates explained—Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Just a variety show. We try to choose the music according to the theme of the show. One year  all the songs had to do with heroes or villains no matter whether movies or fictitious.”

She orders the costumes from costume companies, “They’re not cheap but they’re very good quality,” Frates remarked. “They’re not like Halloween costumes. We have to order them in November or December because it takes some companies three or four months to get us costumes, depending on the their stock.”

There is a clogging competition team.  The children audition for that and get in according to their abilities. They sometimes have alternates and last year the alternates did so well, they ended up on the team. They travel to Denver and Colorado Springs to compete. “Clogging is really fun,” said Frates,  “and the little kids like it because they make noise.” There’s an adult clogging class for fun on Thursday nights at 6:30 p.m.

Frates has several helpers including a few teachers from local schools. “Veronica has a very big part in the studio,” she said. “Along with teaching Jazz, Tap, and Lyrical, she assists with numerous classes.”

Her daughter, Meredith Molineaux, comes from Grand Junction on Mondays and teaches the junior teen and teen adult classes, point contemporary. Her daughter Amber teaches hip-hop style. Sarah Arebalos teaches some of the clogging. I have assistants who will come in and help me out with the classes.

All the teachers choreograph their own classes. Frates puts the program for the show together which can be difficult because there are students in multiple classes, trying to make it so they don’t have numbers back to back and they have time to change their costumes.

But it all comes down to a joy and a passion for Frates. Dance still brings happiness to parents. Radio broadcasting, not so much.

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About the author

Mavis Bennett

Mavis Bennett

A western Colorado resident for most of her life, Mavis Bennett is the publisher of the Montrose Monitor. She has written for newspapers and magazines more than three decades and founded the popular Monitor Magazine in 2003. This web site is the logical progression for the Monitor.