Behind the Scene – Studio A, Academy of Performing Arts
When Abbey Girard graduated with a Performance Arts Degree in 2015, she moved back home from Vancouver to Brantford, with the hope to come home and open a performing arts academy, but with the intent of working at a local studio or even the YMCA first. After taking a “very short break” she told me, “I don’t know what I’m waiting for. Why don’t I do it now? It’s my dream.” So, instead of looking for work she put together a business plan. Then with the help of her father they found a location at 128 Nelson Street and began to lay the groundwork for what is now Studio A Academy of Performing Arts. Taking full advantage of the Brantford-Brant Business Resource Enterprise Centre‘s Starter Company Program she laid it all out and put it all on the line. The BRC helped her organize her business model, secure funding, and provided invaluable advice on getting started. She then built the studio from the ground up, installing mirrors, flooring, lights, and everything else the studio would need.
Starting out with only 15 students; networking, positive reviews, and social media promotion, helped the studio quickly and expand to over 70 students. In the first few months they also had a very successful, yet inexpensive summer camp program that helped spread word of the growing academy. Abbey is the sole instructor, offering dance and acting classes for youth aged 2 to 18. She’s happy to be able to do it herself, building bonds and relationships with students that helps foster growth academically. Studio A has anywhere from two to five classes a day, Monday to Friday, with toddler-specialized classes and birthday parties on Saturdays.
With plans to expand into a newer and larger location within the next year; a larger stage, five dance rooms and more gymnastics options are top priority. Studio A has continued to improve and expand their classes, beginning with simply dance and acting, they now offer: acro, jazz, ballet, hip hop, musical theatre, acting, yoga, barre-fit, and teen dance fitness programs. When they expand, they will offer even more.
Abbey shared with me one of her favorite quotes, “You were once wild here. Don’t let them tame you.” from Isadora Duncan. She then shared with me one of her own, “Dance cannot be constricted to a preconceived set of finite movements. It is the freedom to give yourself to your body and your emotions, to outwardly release passion without worrying about upholding society’s guidelines for appropriate movements. Dance is for you. For your soul. Dance is for anyone and everyone.” It is Studio A’s goal, through arts and fitness, to educate youth to accept themselves and be brave enough to make mistakes, get messy, and be silly. Working with children to vocalize their thoughts and emotions through movements, helping them create their own works, and perfecting their artistic voices, is paramount at Studio A. They have many, very exciting summer camps beginning in July and are always accepting new students for its weekly classes. Make sure to Be Seen at Studio A Academy of Performing Arts.
Submitted by: Joshua Wall