Ballet/dance class for 3.5 y.o.

Hi there - my kiddo loves to dance and is interested in ballet; has anyone taken ballet classes at tutu school in montclair? 

I'd like to find something fun & easygoing and am also wary of enrolling him in any classes that are heavily gender stereotyping. I'd be grateful for any input or if you have recommendations outside of tutu school. 

much thanks!

Parent Replies

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Hello, our child is taking the Twinkle Toes outdoor class with Berkeley Ballet Theater and it's really sweet and low pressure. There are a couple of boys in the class, and I haven't seen any gender stereotyping. The kids just wear their normal play clothes, which is nice.

Van Der Zwaan Dance Studio has boys in their ballet program and I believe just opened up a class for boys. It’s a wonderful studio.  

I hope you also get replies of parents of children in that age group, but I’ve taken adult beginner ballet at both Shawl Anderson and Piedmont Ballet Academy, and recommend them both highly. I’ve been impressed by the progressive philosophy about things like body image and finding joy in dance, and I would expect that would carry over to avoiding gender stereotypes as well.

My girl has been with the Van der Zwaan dance studio in Berkeley for almost 5 years and loves it. Here is the link:


I highly recommend you check out Berkeley Ballet Theater's pre-ballet classes (in-person and distant right now) .  My four year old is taking classes this session in a mixed gender class. Very open. Focused on playful movement and imagination.

Let me know if you have more questions!


I highly recommend Berkeley Ballet Theater.  My son loves to dance and has been attending for about 5 years, since pre-ballet level. Every teacher has been inspiring, supportive, and fun. Even throughout this pandemic they have been awesome, teaching through zoom and safely-distanced outdoor classes. 

Our family loves Berkeley Ballet Theatre in Berkeley. They are socially inclusive and committed to dance and the arts as part of the larger project of social justice. The dance instruction is high caliber and fun. When we were looking for a ballet school, we looked for a school that would be good for boys and they were very good at answering our questions around gender and ballet instruction for boys. My son started there at age 8 and loves it, and many of our friends there started when they were preschoolers.  It’s a joy-filled environment and they’ve handled pandemic learning really well too, which has provided lots of positivity during this time.  They’re also very friendly if you wanted to talk with them about the specific needs and wants of your family, I’m sure they would answer any questions that you may have.

Check out Kids n' Dance in the Laurel District (Oakland). We went there when our kids were that age for several sessions. Play-oriented, creative, inclusive, low-pressure. Mostly girls, inevitably, but not "girly"--my son was happy there as a preschooler. We loved the teachers.