Ballet for Adults

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Ballet classes for adults?

Sept 2010

I am looking for recent reviews or recommendations for a place for me to take ballet classes. I danced ballet as a child/teenager and through college. But the last time I took a class was over 10+++ years ago! Add on two kids and 20+ pounds, and I am a little nervous to take a class again.

So where are some places I could take a class? I live in the Oakland Hills, so not too far! I am only interested in ballet, not other kinds of dancing. I really don't want to feel out of place (and OLD!) in an adult class full of 18 year olds. I am not a beginner, but I am not sure my body can do anywhere close to what I could back in the day. What level should I look at? Is ballet like riding a bike? Thanks for any recommendations! Out of shape, but ready to dance again!

There are at least two places for adults to take ballet classes in SF that offer very very high quality teaching for non-professional and novice dancers.

Alonzo King Lines Ballet: -- through their dance center: they are a professional company with professional training, but also offer novice non-professional classes at all levels. My coworker is taking ballet and loves it. I will be checking it out for it's very high quality children's classes for my daughter when she is old enought for more serious pre-professional training (something she is currently interested in). They are near Civic Center Bart

ODC is the other place to check out: you will need to dig into their web page, but do so. They are excellent (again, by hearsay, and also seeing their profesional performaces). They are in the Mission.

Berkeley Ballet Theater ( offers adult classes. I have not taken any of them, but I often see the adult students when I pick up my daughter, and I can assure you that they are not skinny little 18 year olds. Classes are at the Julia Morgan Theatre (College & Derby). EH

Berkeley Ballet Theater at the Julia Morgan center on College Ave has a whole schedule of adult ballet classes ranging from Beginner to Advanced. 9 years and 3 kids since my regular ballet class

YWCA in Berkeley. I took classes ages ago, and with this class at the YWCA is easy to get back re-learning positions, names, etc.. As easy or as hard as you want, and really really enjoyable. Not to mention a good deal ($50 for 6 classes).

Shawl Anderson in Rockridge. They are on Alcatraz, just a few doors east of College Ave. A word of caution: This is a serious dance school (professional dancers take classes there), so the class levels are 'real'. I am in the same boat as you; did ballet for years growing up, and am still in relatively decent shape... or so I thought. The Intermediate class absolutely kicked my butt! maia

Shawl-Anderson Dance Center , 2704 Alcatraz @ College in Oakland ( is a wonderful place for ballet and other types of dance for all ages. In my late thirties, I took ballet at a school at Church/Market in SF where the instructors wanted to work with the ballet *body-type.* It was very discouraging, so I signed up with Shawl-Anderson and never felt out of place as an older student with a non-stereotypical ballerina body. Nice dance studio, school and folks. Marie

There are several wonderful outlets for adult ballet classes in the East Bay.
- Danspace (Miles and Hudson in Oakland)
- Shawl-Anderson (Alcatraz and College in Oakland)
- Berkeley Ballet Theater (in the Julia Morgan Center, College in Berkeley)

If you are really nervous about starting back to class, begin with an 'elementary' class even if you are--or were--a more advanced dancer. I recommend Mary Armentrout's Sunday morning class at Danspace. She's been teaching it forever; and she's very gentle, positive, and welcoming, and she does give corrections.

If you have enough of a dance history that you don't need to start at the elementary level and want to jump back in a bit faster, try some of the many Beg. to Intermed. classes on the schedule at BBT. These classes tend to be a bit more anonymous, and you'll have to operate more on your own in terms of what you get from the class; but there are several strong teachers on the schedule offering classes at that level.

S-A also has a huge range of classes and teachers, all worth checking out. You just kinda have to get out there and test the waters to find the teacher and class that is that best fit for you, where you are now.

But believe me, there are LOTS of adult dancers taking class. You will NOT be alone in a sea of teens! Darcy

Getting back into ballet classes

October 2002

I am getting back into ballet classes for the first time in over 4 years. Does anybody have a good recommendation for a particular class or instructor? More specifically, has anybody had good or bad experiences with the adult ballet classes at Berkeley Ballet Theater on College Ave and Derby? Which instructor did you have? I am looking for a class with a diverse range of body shapes, as I am not the size I used to be when I previously took ballet classes. Any suggestions on the topic are appreciated. Thanks. Leslie

Recommendations received: