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Our Legacy

Kathy Defrances.jpeg

Cathy De Frances

1945 - 2021

Cathy De Frances left a legacy one can only hope to achieve in their lifetime. She began dancing at the age of 3. By her teenage years, she was not only a beautiful dancer but a competitive gymnast as well. Her talents landed her a spot as an alternate on the 1960 US Olympic Gymnastics Team. She was a graduate of University High School in Baton Rouge. She learned very early on how to manage her schoolwork, dance classes and competitive gymnastics. 


In 1971, with the encouragement and support from her husband, Jimmy, along with three small children and one on the way, she opened “Cathy’s School of Dance.” Over the next several years, the studio grew by leaps and bounds! As their business expanded, so did their family and baby #5 was born. In 1980, Cathy and Jimmy built a new and bigger state of the art building from the ground up. They decided to change the name to what is known today as “De Frances Academy of Dance.” 


In the 90’s, Cathy was honored by being made a lifetime member of Dance Educators of America. In 2010 she was awarded the Debra Barnes “Art For Life” award by Showbiz National Talent. For over 25 years, Cathy and her daughters volunteered their time and talents for the Krewe of Tucumcari Mardi Gras Ball in the form of choreography, costuming and entertainment. In the early 80’s, she began competing her dancers on the local and national level. De Frances Academy of Dance quickly became known as a studio to watch out for! Many of their dancers won local and national titles throughout the years.


Cathy was considered a “Teacher of Teachers” during her amazing 50 years of owning a dance studio with three locations. Many of her past students went on to dance and teach professionally or own and operate their own dance schools in and around the Baton Rouge area as well as across the country. She was well known for her children’s work and her loving ability to make dance fun for her students at the same time developing them to their fullest potential. Her energy had no limits. You were one lucky student if Miss Cathy was your teacher! 


Education was very important to Cathy. Being a fulltime mom to five children and running a very successful dance studio was not enough. She was also very proud to be an educator at St. Aloysius school for 27 years where she taught dance classes to 7th and 8th graders as a PE credit.


Her daughter’s Gwyn and Angie are committed to continuing their mother’s legacy. Both grew up assisting their mother with her classes and learning the family business. Under their leadership and with two locations to serve the Baton Rouge and Prairieville areas, the De Frances Legacy will continue to grow and be known as a leader in the dance industry!

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