Dance Classes for 6yo and 8yo - not ballet

Hi! Looking for more current recs for an 8 yo boy and 6 yo girl for a fun (not ballet) dance class they can do at the same time in the East Bay (Berkeley north). No place that does recitals where the girls wear makeup, no glitzy costumes, some place or some teacher that won't make them feel incredibly awkward and unfunky. They are inclined to hip hop (nae nae, dab) more than, say, Irish dance, but I'll consider anything that's not ballet. The archives are old. Thank you!!

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Look into Shawl Anderson on the corner of College and Alcatraz on the Berkeley/Oakland border. They are the best for modern/jazz, very low key, no glittery outfit and makeup. They have beginner/intermediate/advanced classes for kids, youth and adults, and also a pre-professional modern dance program for teens.

Try the Fluid Feet class for children, offered by Albany Rec. I know the instructor, who is a professional and a kind, patient parent and community member. I think the Albany Rec activity guide publishes her name and contact info if you want to reach out to her to make sure the class is indeed a match before signing up.

Shawl-Anderson Dance Center is wonderful.  They are in South Berkeley on Alcatraz by College Ave.  Shawl-Anderson's main emphasis is on modern dance but they do have ballet classes too.  The teachers are fantastic and they are so encouraging of the kids.  There is also a whole community of adult dancers, some of them seniors and life-long dancers, who go there for weekly classes.  Shawl-Anderson does not encourage anorexia nor does it value only one type of body--it's not a tutus and tiaras kind of place at all.

You may want to check out creative dance, world dance, or tap at The Beat in West Berkeley. Creative and world are back to back, which you may need to do with the two ages, but they are fun classes with a great teacher.

Definitely check out BrasArte on San Pablo and Hearst.  It's a Brazilian cultural center and they have several kids classes. I can personally recommend the Tuesday Brazilian and Saturday Brazilian Ballroom. Both classes have boys and girls. The kids do have the option to perform in festivals and parades (wearing amazing home-made, one-of-a-kind costumes) but hopefully this doesn't turn you off! Happy to answer any questions you have! 

I think Destiny Arts is a wonderful organization and they are in very north Oakland so not too far at all from Berkeley. My 8-year-old has been taking hip-hop there since September, twice a week.  The teachers and staff are wonderful, warm and diverse.  They had a performance in December which was a terrific celebration of community and the only "costume" required was the Destiny t-shirt (and even that is not a dealbreaker).  There might be another performance in spring, but I'm not sure. They do a lot of work in various afterschool programs as well. I think they are so wonderful that if I won the lottery I would write them a gigantic check.

Hi, if the 6-year-old will be 7 by the end of July, I recommend DanceVersity at Ashkenaz, it's a mix of world and ethnic dances so the costumes are more fun than glitzy.

There is a fabulous new camp being offered in Albany - Irish Dance Camp. The teacher (Barbara Butkus) is wonderful with the kids and an amazing dancer. For more information, check out the Albany Activity Guide.

July 24-July 28
Ages: 8-17
$190 (resident)/$200 (non-resident)

Barbara is also hosting an Irish Dance Night at the Albany Community Center on Friday, June 23. Only $5 and children under 12 are free!