by WYNNE LOVE | photos by Tyler McElhaney

Parents know that sports can provide benefits far beyond physical activity; Royal Dance Academy (RDA) owner Francine Garton makes sure her dance studio does as well. “Our classes are not just about a plié or technicalities,” asserted Francine. “We teach life lessons and build memories that will help children throughout their life.”

DANCING the Dream
Raised in Liverpool, England, Francine attended the best ballet schools and danced professionally for years, but her passion for teaching led her to pursue her dream of opening her own studio in San Diego. With few contacts and two small children, she moved to California and opened the Royal Dance Academy in 2001.
In the twelve years since, Francine has expanded the studio three times and trained more than 3,000 dancers from 18-months-old to adult. “RDA is a very special place and I am so proud that I had the courage to follow my dream,” shared Francine. Now located in a Merchant_RoyalDance26,000-square-foot facility in Piazza Carmel, she has also expanded her programs. ”We offer the prestigious Royal Academy of Dance ballet examinations, LAMDA acting examinations, a competitive program and recreational program. You cannot find this at any other studio,” stated Francine proudly.

SINGING her Praises
Parents are quick to compliment Francine and the Academy. As Laura DiPietro offered, “My daughter considers the RDA her home away from home. Due to Francine and her extremely talented teaching staff she is now on Broadway performing in Annie.”
Parent Angie Brenner agreed. “They help to create dancers that are beautiful on the inside as well as the outside. My daughter has developed both personally and as a dancer. It is truly her second home!”

ACTING like Family
Francine’s success is due in part to her fabulous staff. “I don’t hire someone with the best resume; I hire people who can actually teach and love children.” Nonetheless, several of her teachers are RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) certified and many dance professionally, as do some of her former students.
“I strive every day to ensure that RDA is a loving, family-friendly environment,” added Francine. “Every child is to be treated equally whether they dance once a week or every day. They should improve every lesson and leave class feeling happy, confident and with a sense of achievement.” Take a look at all they have to offer at

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Name of Business: Francine Garton Royal Dance Academy
Owner: Francine Garton
Years in Position: 12
Year of Establishment: 2001
Address: 3880 Valley Centre Drive, Suite 201, 92130
Email Contact:
Phone:  858-350-9770
Description of Business: Royal Dance Academy is a family-friendly dance studio located in Carmel Valley, offering all styles of dance, acting, musical theatre and voice classes for children of all ages and levels. RDA has experienced, professional and nurturing teachers who love to teach and inspire children to follow their dreams. Whether dance is a fun hobby or a potential career, RDA has a place for everyone.