For longtime Rangely instructor, dance has been a way of life

Frances Green has been teaching dance since she was 18. “Ms. Frances,” as she’s called by her younger students, has taught dance to two generations of Rangely dancers.
Frances Green has been teaching dance since she was 18. “Ms. Frances,” as she’s called by her younger students, has taught dance to two generations of Rangely dancers.
Frances Green started teaching dance classes when she was a teenager.
And she’s been doing it ever since.
“I started teaching when I was 18, and that’s a long time ago,” Green said.
For her, dance has been a way of life.
“It’s been so good for me as far as staying fit,” Green said. “It’s just a healthy way of life.”
Green didn’t start taking dance classes herself until she was 12.
“I was kind of old for just starting,” she said. “My mother’s sister put her son in dance and, of course, he didn’t want to go by himself, so mother put me in. It’s the best thing she ever did.”
Green took to dancing right away.
“I just had sort of a natural ability,” she said. “It just came to me. If I could see it, I could do it. If I watched something, I could go home and do it. That’s the way I teach children. If they see it, they try it.”
Green has taught two generations of dance students in Rangely.
“I taught dance to Clarence Hamilton, and now his son and daughter come to Giant Step to dance,” Green said.
She currently teaches dance — on a voluntary basis — to preschool-age children at Giant Step Preschool and Child Care Center.
“The kids love Ms. Frances and really respond to her,” said Kari Way, director of Giant Step. “She truly loves what she is doing and does a really good job.”
As an example of how kids respond to Green, Way told a story about one of her Giant Steppers.
“One day, while waiting for Ms. Frances, I said, ‘Ms. Frances is here.’ Breckin (Mcelhaney, 2), said, ‘Ms. Frances here, shoes off.’ He knew that he needed to take off his shoes for her. Just days before the (Dec. 7 Christmas) program, I told him that Ms. Frances was coming in a few minutes. His response was, ‘Ms. Frances my friend, love Ms. Frances.’ This sums up our thanks for Ms. Frances.”
phrgfrancesgreen2Like herself, Green has had former students go on to become dance instructors themselves.
A message written in the program for a dance recital by Sherree Berrett (maiden name), one of Green’s former students who was an instructor in Roosevelt, Utah, said, “Dedicated to my dance teacher, Frances Green, from whom all ideas come from.”
Green, who grew up in Florida, said it was her dance teacher who inspired her to first, love to dance, and second, to become a dance instructor.
“She was a dancer. That girl could dance, and she made us think we could, too,” Green said. “My dance teacher made me want to be a dance teacher. I only took maybe five years, but I learned a lot.”
Green, who is 5-7, said she felt self-conscious when she first started out dancing, because of her height.
“I always wanted to be little, to be petite, like my dance teacher. She was short,” she said. “But now I’m glad (she’s tall). I’m OK with it. I got to where I liked (being tall).”
Dancing was part of the culture when she was growing up, Green said.
“We didn’t have that many other things to do. We didn’t have TV,” she said. “After the ball games, we always had a dance.”
Frances Green, far right, who grew up in Florida, started taking dance classes when she was 12. She’s been dancing ever since. “It’s just a healthy way of life,” she said.
Frances Green, far right, who grew up in Florida, started taking dance classes when she was 12. She’s been dancing ever since. “It’s just a healthy way of life,” she said.
Besides teaching dance, Green has been involved in community affairs. She served as mayor of Rangely from 1988 to 1996 — becoming the second woman to do so — as well as serving on the town council.
Because of her boundless energy and energetic personality, Green’s age has been a subject of much debate.
“I get asked that constantly, even the kids ask me,” Green said, declining to reveal the mystery of her age, even for the purpose of this story. “I ask them, How old do you think I am? I want them to keep on guessing.”
As a dance instructor, Green keeps her students on their toes. She teaches what she calls the ABCs of dance — attention, balance and coordination.
“I’ve taught all ages,” she said. “I don’t put an age limit on it. The younger you can start them, the better. They’re more flexible, more limber. They can do anything you tell them they can do. They are so eager to learn. I really enjoy working with the kids.”
Green, who retired from Moon Lake Electric Association after 24 years, has taught dance classes in the schools, in her basement, even in the garage of the old Moon Lake building.
“I did have classes here for many years,” she said. “I’ve been here (in Rangely) for 50 years, and they didn’t have dance here, so I started it. I’ve taught many, many kids. It’s very rewarding.”
Boys, girls, it doesn’t matter, Green has taught dance to both.
“I have taught many, many boys (to dance),” Green said, mentioning Rangely “boys” like Jeff Rector and John Sims. “The boys fit right in. At first, they are reluctant, but I like teaching the boys, because they need it. They need the confidence, because they are shy. But once they get into it … they have been some of the best I ever taught. “
Even though her husband, Fred, isn’t a dancer — “He’s not going to do that,” Green said — her two grown children both took dance classes from their mom.
“I had to drag them with me,” Green said, laughing. “They took dance, they sure did.”
During her years as a dance instructor, Green has taught ballroom, acrobatics, hula, gymnastics, tap and ballet. She’s never had a student, regardless of ability, who couldn’t learn to dance.
“Some are never going to be able to do cartwheels or the splits, and some have just two left feet and no rhythm,” she said. “But I’ve never found one I couldn’t do something with.”
That must say something about the teacher, too.