Royal Academy of Performing Arts 1

If you can dream it, then you can do it!

Behind the scenes at the Mandeville Auditorium at UCSD, more than 600 young dancers from the Del Mar, Carmel Valley and surrounding areas are queuing up stage right, racing through the changing rooms to dress for their next performance or laughing with their dance-mates – all while enjoying their recital day. Everyone is suitably dressed for their routine, from elegant ballet tutus with pointe shoes to “mouse” costumes, and each adorned with a confident smile when they hit the stage.

This is the live performance presented by the Royal Academy of Performing Arts (RAPA) that is located in a brand new 15,000-square-foot studio in Sorrento Valley. This state-of-the-art facility offers a home to learn and develop dance skills as well as self-assurance and life skills.

The open, bright and modern facility is equally as welcoming as Owner and Director Francine Garton. Her grin and warmth create a friendly, family-like atmosphere as she flits from room to room acknowledging and engaging each student, instructor and parent. Her proper British accent gives the Royal Academy a truly elegant touch.

Garton, hailing from Liverpool, England, completed her training and became a qualified teacher at the prestigious Northern Ballet College in Manchester, a leader in world-class dance known for passionate story-telling and a mastery of classical dance technique.

A professional dancer for several years, Garton soon began teaching. Some of her students were children from a struggling neighborhood in England.

“These children didn’t have much and couldn’t afford classes, but I was seeing such joy, and it in turn gave me so much pleasure to be making a difference,” Garton says.

For Garton, it was so rewarding that she knew this is what she was “meant to do.”

Having trained thousands of students and successfully owning the Royal Dance Academy in Carmel Valley for over 14 years, RAPA was the future she envisioned for her academy. She dreamed of creating a true performing arts academy with everything under one roof – a place where she could make a positive difference and inspire all artists to follow their dreams. The realization of RAPA is a true testament to her philosophy: “If you can dream it, then you can do it.”

RAPA boasts five extra-large dance studios with viewing windows, in-house auditorium retractable seating for over 120 guests, three music/voice studios with recording studio, acting studio with “On Camera” classes, Pilates Reformer & Gyrotonic studio, yoga, large parent waiting lounge with flat screen viewing TV’s, study and tutor room, life coaching, nutrition, physical therapy, dietician, injury prevention, and a healthy juice and snack bar.

The attention to detail and the variety of programs, offered from dance, voice, and filmmaking to Pilates and mother-daughter yoga confirms: “There really is no facility like this in the area,” Garton says.

“It is an amazing facility with many equally amazing opportunities for all artists, whether as a fun hobby or working toward a profession in the arts. We cater to everyone’s needs no matter what age or what level, and recognize that there is a place for everyone and a path for everyone.”

The caliber of instruction is second-to-none with top quality choreographers and teachers who have had great success in their fields. In addition, they inspire and love their students.

At RAPA, they recognize the need to develop the well-being of the child along with the technical aspects of his/her discipline. How to build and address topics such as confidence, relationships, teamwork, success, failure, goals, and stress are important to RAPA’s approach to help the students feel good about themselves and their lives.

“It is a great accomplishment to receive awards, but there is more that comes with that. It is not the only thing,” Garton says. “We want our students to know that there are other aspects to these successes. We want to focus on the whole being and the whole child.”

Royal Academy of Performing Arts is located at 11494 Sorrento Valley Road, San Diego. Call 858.259.RAPA (7272) for information or to schedule a class or tour. Children and adults of all ages and levels are welcome.