We had the good fortune of connecting with Ms Abigail Bouska and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ms Abigail, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Personally I would not say that I have started my own “business” quite yet, but at this time I am in the process of starting my own “brand’. I took on the name of “Ms Abigail” very early on in my career around the age of 19. Starting as a dance teacher for little kids, all the other women I worked with and trained under where all married, or about to be and had the students referring to them as “Mrs. So and so”. Ms Abigail sort of started out as a joke because I was so young and very clearly single; but it grew on me. It was the perfect way to label my personality; a touch of class, earning respect from my students, coworkers, and myself, as well as embracing my feminine power and drive. It was truly one of the tools that I noticed later helped me realize I could label myself as and be a Teaching AND Preforming artist. It was something that allowed me to be me and not put myself as a box, a title that can remain constant but grow with me as I grow in my career and as a woman. I wanted to be different from the other artists I see and the teachers I had as a child. My generation grew up with the problematic phrase “The show must go on” drilled into our brains. We where taught to sacrifice who we are, our physical, mental, emotional health all for a project or a role. Unfortunately I learned first hand the consequences that come from that. Not only did I want to be a performer who broke that toxic mold and set an example for ways to create healthy good quality art; I also wanted to ensure that what was trained into and enforced on so many like me, is never done to another child. My teaching philosophy is rooted in emotional education/mental health awareness, healthy expression and communication, and instilling positive core values in children about themselves. My motto is ” where you are today is beautiful”. There is such beauty in every single individual I have the privilege to work with or teach. Every day I strive to help not just my students see their beauty, but retrain myself to see mine as well.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Growing up I was always a loud child. I was thrown on stage around the time I was 4 with the hope it would “shut me up” or at least give me a place to put all my energy. What no one saw coming, let alone wanted, was for be to be louder than ever both on and off the stage 20 years later. There is a reason I do what I do. Not only do I have a passion for the preforming arts and can command a classroom just as well as a stage, but I have a burning desire to show the love and support and provide the resources to children that I was never given. Every day as an artist, teacher, and human being, I strive to speak up about and educate on mental health within the preforming arts for all ages. Not only is there so much about mental health that gets stigmatized, miss labled, or hidden regardless of the topic or age group; but the arts are such a powerful tool for healing, self expression/exploration, and so much more. Music speaks what the soul struggles to sing and dance expresses what the heart longs to say. When I am not teaching, I am composing music related to mental health issues. Not only has it been a way for me to heal and process the unhealthy environment I and so many where brought up in, but, it is also a way to share my own stories and struggles and provide some hope to a child who feels scared and alone in the world. If I can give even one person the ounce of bravery they need to call someone or ask for help, that is what matters the most to me.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
7 years ago due to a health crisis and other circumstances beyond my control, I lost my talent scholarship for a very big college musical theatre department and failed out of said college. While this was incredibly crushing, it was most likely the best thing to have ever happened to me. Upon moving back to Dallas, I randomlly enrolled in a little community college; Collin County Community College, where I would go on to spend the next 6 years on and off studying with and meeting multiple people that would go on to change my life, and ultimately lead me to join new theatre companies, meet people I would grow to love, and inspire me to finish the music I had been composing for almost 8 years. Professor and Director Joanne Zipay re-ignighted my passion for Shakespeare and preforming after a trauma, Professor Christopher Morgan proved to me that I had everything inside me I needed to bring my music to life if I would only ask for help. Dance Professors Courtney Mulcahy, Tiffany Anold, Meghan Cardwell-Wilson, and Melissa Johnson took a young girl who dreamed of being a ballerina but was told she could not dance, and turned her into a full time dance teacher. Although an academic degree has not yet been in the cards for me, the training, support and life long connections I made at Collin completely changed, and most likely saved my life.

Instagram: @msabigailofficial

Other: Tik Tok; @msabigailofficial

Image Credits
Dynasty Dance Academy- For group recital photo

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.