Looking for a Dance Class for 3.5 year old

Hello Neighbors! I am looking for a dance class for my 3.5 year old daughter (turns 4 in February). She loves music and dancing but I want to avoid any classes that might plant a seed of perfectionism in technique or body image. I was looking at Shawl Anderson modern dance class, and Onstage Kids n dance looks great, but Iooks like parents are not allowed to stay due to Covid and I was hoping to watch at least for a few sessions!:) I would  love any thoughts and recommendations, thank you in advance!!


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Hi there,

I studied ballet for many years growing up and your concern on finding the right studio is a good one.  I’d highly recommend Shawl Anderson.  I take classes there now and it’s a very warm and accepting community of dancers of all ages.  Their teachers are excellent. My daughter is also taking classes there now and really enjoying them.  The little kids are typically in the downstairs studio which has a big window where parents can watch from the porch outside.  

You can call them to confirm which studio they’d be in but it’s most likely the one I referenced.  

You ca

You can watch the classes at Kids n dance via zoom. 

My daughter is the same age and takes ballet at Tutu school Montclair.  Definitely no focus on perfectionism at this point.  Parents are requested to stay during the lessons in case the little one needs their help.

Hi Julie,

Kids N Dance is the best- I would suggest you send them an email and let them know your situation. They will likely work with you so you can observe! 

Teacher Ariel is an absolute doll! My daughter loves her! 

Good Luck! 

My 3 yo liked Kids N Dance. They do provide a zoom link for parents to watch the class.

Hi, I think Shawl Anderson is great. If he class is in the downstairs studio you can watch from outside the building.

Our almost-5yo is in the modern dance class at Shawl Anderson and absolutely loves it. Annelise, the instructor, is excellent, and he actually looks forward to going (with an enthusiasm we don’t get on preschool mornings). At first I wasn’t sure how the dropoff format would work for him, but I think it’s actually much better than me being in the class — participation seems to come easier for him when hanging out with me isn’t an option. And there’s a recital for families at the end of the semester!

My 4yo is in Shawl-Anderson’s Creative Movement / Modern class and he absolutely loves it. It is a drop-off class, so I can’t tell you much about what they actually do (besides “magic rocks” which is his favorite part but which he declines to describe further). I think anything called “creative movement” is supposed to be focused on imagination and having fun dancing, so definitely don’t think they’re pushing kids to do things in a “perfect” way yet.

Shawl Anderson has been lovely for my 3 year old and we were allowed in for the first two sessions.  I highly recommend it! 

My daughter turned 4 in August and has also always loved music and dance. She did a class at Berkeley Ballet Theater last year but we switched to Van Der Zwaan this year, which she (and I) much prefer. It seems much more age-appropriate and fun for the littlest ones, and there's not a strict uniform required. Looks like there are some pre-ballet/tap classes still open for the fall if you have a flexible schedule, otherwise check back in Dec to see if you can sign up for a weekend class when the spring session opens up!

We really like Berkeley Ballet Theater! They have classes that you can do with your child and also creative movement and ballet classes for little kids where you can watch through the window and are invited in to observe a few times/year. It's a really inclusive and body positive environment.

Teddy Bear Hip Hop at Destiny Arts is fabulous. The teacher is amazing and parents get to watch.

My daughters loved the Tutu School. We went to the Montclair branch. You can watch the class and it is not focused on perfection, more the love of ballet. They use pros like wands, scarves, etc to switch it up while still learning the foundations of ballet (positions and steps, etc). There are optional performances too.