Dance Instructor Takes on New Challenge
LaRae Majors is dancing her way through life. She has said many times, "I can't stop dancing." With the sell of LaRae's Dance Studio and Gym in December though she will begin a new chapter in her life. Majors is preparing for a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She is taking care of all the requirements in order to have her papers sent in as soon as possible.
Majors said, "It's a big job preparing for a mission. There are a lot of things to do and things need to be boxed up and prepared for storage. It's exciting but also a little scary.
"I was born in Elmo in a little log house on May 20, 1942. My parents were Charles F. and Zillah Faye Jones. I learned to dance while holding onto my father's hands. I would stand on his shoes as a toddler and he would dance me around the room. Two years ago at my show I had the privilege of dancing with my father. He was 95-years-old and could still cut a rug. He passed away last year. I'm so grateful to him and my mother for their encouragement when it came to my dancing they were always so supportive. I danced on the hay wagon as a small girl. It was my stage and I would perform for hours making up dances.
"I started taking dance classes from Roger Hinkins in Huntington in the late 1940s. I learned tap, ballet and acrobatics. I remember going to his home where he would roll back the rug to reveal a hardwood floor where I would practice new techniques and skills. I loved to practice. I learned to do back bends and back limbers using a tree trunk. I started pointe at age 9 and even had tap shoes so I could tap on pointe, which was a novelty at the time. I performed in many talent competitions throughout the state and won my share of competitions. I started taking dance classes with Louise Lauriski at Carbon College in 1953. I also started helping her in the summer with her students.
"I helped with tumbling and with the younger dance classes. Around this same time, I started teaching young students in my kitchen in Elmo. I remember my dad having to replace our kitchen floor at least three times. I remember too, the many black marks I had to scrub off of the kitchen floor. Together with Jolene Mower, we became assistants to Louise and were assigned our own classes to help with. I helped Louise and also taught my own classes in Elmo, Huntington and Castle Dale.
"I married Jethro Majors and we started a family. We have two children Nadene Majors Hinkins and Mike Majors. Nadene is married to Todd Hinkins and they live in Orangeville. They have four children, Jake, Jaley, Jed and Jasha. Mike lives in Weatherford, Texas and is in the home construction business.
"We lived in Salt Lake for 10 years and I began teaching dancing in the family room of our home. I held various jobs in Salt Lake, like legal and corporate secretary, bookkeeper, accounting assistant, auditor and part time tax consultant. I started a transfer company called LM Exchange and Transfer, which I operated until 1972. We moved back to Huntington in December 1969 so we could run the farm. Jethro also got a job at Deer Creek Mine and worked on the construction of the Huntington Power Plant.
"After we moved back I started teaching again in the kitchen and then in the basement. This continued until the present studio was built in 1976. I was helping at the schools with their gymnastics programs, which were just being introduced at that time. Mary Ann Jorgenson and Margaret Oveson encouraged me to build the studio at this time. I also began teaching students in Green River and would travel down there once a week and hold classes. I did this until 1980. I have attended a lot of training at various colleges and several clinics all over the United States. I was on the faculty of the National Association of Dance Affiliated Artists.
"Everytime I heard music I would just start making up dance steps to it and then I wanted to show them to someone. My daughter and granddaughters are the same way. Jasha is always saying, 'watch this, Grandma.'
"We bought the Chevron Gas Station on the north end of Huntington in 1971 and I learned to pump gas, change oil and tires.
"Jethro and I were divorced in 1982. In 1989 I opened Canyon Rim Cafe and that kept me hopping between dancing, cooking, doing dishes, community activities, family and church activities.
"I set a new state record for my age group in the 3000 meter race walk at the Summer Games in Cedar City in 1972 and I beat that record in 1996. After all, when you are over-the-hill you pick up speed.
"I sold Canyon Rim in 1999 so I would have more time to do the things I love for the grandkids. I've made them all quilts and pillows. I have taught four generations of dancers in Emery County. We always have a big spring show every year and about every three years I would get out there and dance with the girls. Dancing is just a part of my life. I believe as soon as babies are born they start to dance. They wave their arms and kick their feet. They dance. I've enjoyed all kinds of dancing but tap is probably my favorite. My grandfather Ericson was a tap dancer. He used to attach tin can lids to his shoes for taps.
"We've had the LaMajorettes, which were my first dance team, belly dancing, cloggers, mom and son teams, and the Spinners dance team. A little bit of everything. We used to do shows for fund raisers. One time we helped raise money for the band to go to Canada and other projects like that.
"I think the dancing has kept me healthy and given me lots of energy. I have had so many wonderful experiences with all those I've come into contact with. My life has touched and been touched by so many people. I had the opportunity to dance professionally but turned it down because the teaching was what I really loved.
"Closing the business has been hard after all these years, but I am ready to accept the new challenges in my life. I'm ready to go where ever the Lord is going to send me. I have always loved challenges and am looking forward to this next step in my life. Some people ask me what I'm going to do when I get back from my mission and where I'm going to live. I'm not worried about it, I'll just cross that bridge when I get there," said Majors.