Twenty-four-year-old Abbey Girard is the Owner and Artistic Director of Studio A, Academy of Performing Arts in Brantford, the city’s first non-competitive dance studio and performing arts academy, offering dance, acting and fitness classes. The studio, located at 128 Nelson Street in Brantford, opened its doors in October 2015 with only 15 students and taught five classes a week. Now, boasting over 200 registered students, Studio A is a sought after studio in Brantford well known for it’s tumbling, acro, gymnastics and cheerleading programs. Girard says, “it was my dream to have a studio that was welcoming, inviting and fun, but most importantly, a family. Even though we are non-competitive, we still work hard! We support each other collectively to help our students, children and friends reach their personal goals. We are the small studio with the big heart.”
Now with over 25 classes a week, Studio A offers everything from all levels of acro and tumbling to ballet, jazz, hip-hop, tap, musical theatre, cheerleading and more! Tiny Tots (ages 2-4) classes are also offered to introduce wee ones to the world of dance. New this fall at Studio A is an acro curriculum and leveling system for the students. Girard says, “The studio will be focusing on goal setting and learning life skills through these acro classes. We are now only accepting eight students per acro class to ensure each child receives proper evaluation time.”
Girard received a Musical Theatre advanced diploma at St. Lawrence College in Brockville, Ontario. She then went on to receive a degree from Capilano University’s Bachelor of Performing Arts program in Vancouver, British Columbia. While completing her degree, Girard had the opportunity to perform in both The Vancouver Fringe Festival and the International PuSh Festival. Since opening her studio doors in Brantford, Girard’s business has grown exponentially. Girard’s studio is non-competitive and a friendly, relaxed environment for students to learn new things. She keeps prices affordable, firmly believing that all kids in the community deserve a “chance to dance.” “I really wanted to make specialized youth programs affordable for more families to enjoy, while ensuring each student receives quality instruction,” Girard explains. Girard, a serial volunteer in the community and youth advocate, has worked tirelessly alongside her local Help A Child Smile organization to raise money and awareness for children with cancer.
Girard is a recipient of the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth-funded Starter Company grant, offered through the Brantford-Brant Business Resource Centre (BRC). Girard said, “[The BRC] helped me find what the community needed, and also what I needed to be doing.” Abbey located the BRC in 2015 and visited their office for free mentorship meetings and consultations and participated in mandatory program training. 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. Girard was awarded a $5,000 grant, which helped her start marketing her business and purchase new equipment for the studio. Girard adds, “I purchased all of the tumbling equipment, which then jumpstarted our acro, tumbling and gymnastics programs, which are our biggest programs here, and now our cheerleading program. Having this equipment allows our students to excel faster in their programs, which makes us sought after in the community.”
“Miss Abbey,” as her students call her, is a hard-working and passionate teacher whom her students adore. With plans to expand into a bigger space in the very near future, Studio A continues to grow alongside its students. Fall Registration is now open.
To find out more information about Studio A, please click here to visit their website
Please click here to view the full class schedule and to fill out a registration form
Abbey Girard, Owner/Artist Director
Studio A: Academy of Performing Arts