Ahkenaz is all ages all the time. A wide variety of music and dancing almost every night of the year (and weekend days, too). You'll want to look over the options on their website calendar, and consider ear protection in some cases, but kids are often seen there.
I've also heard of - but don't know much about - Luna Dance, which seems to offer parent-child dance opportunities.
Soul Sanctuary in Berkeley on Sundays at 11am at Ashkenaz is very sweet and family-friendly.
Expect families, solo-Berkeleyians, scarves, natural objects, coloring materials - an open dance floor and respectful and playful adults. It’s very “Berkeley.”
There are different DJ’s and musical themes — every week is different!
It’s donation-based and run by volunteers. You can pay for someone else’s future dance!
All shows at Ashkenaz are all-ages (I'm not sure if kids have to pay full ticket price). You can look at the calendar and filter to see just "jazz" if that's what you're looking for, but it's a great place to explore all kinds of music (and dancing). It can sometimes (not always) be loud, though, so consider bringing child-size ear protectors just in case (they offer free foam earplugs for adults, in case your ears are sensitive)
Archived Q&A and Reviews
I'm happy to recommend the Performing and Recording Workshop for Young Musicians held this summer in Berkeley from June 16-20 and June 23-27. My son has been attending this camp for the past 6 years and it is truly the highlight of his summer. The camp is run by two talented local musicians, Eve Decker and Lisa Zeiler, both of whom have a gift for bringing out the best in their young musicians. The kids form bands and cover tunes that they choose, then record them on a CD and perform for family and friends at Ashkenaz. I am always blown away by how great the bands sound and by how much fun the kids have together. If you'd like to get more information or sign up your musician (who either plays an instrument or sings)please call Eve at (510) 331-0934 or Lisa at (415) 377-8588. Anne
If your child enjoys playing music, this is a phenomenal camp. My daughter LOVES this Music Camp. She had her favorite week of the summer there last year and created the most amazing music she's ever made! She didn't know anyone when she arrived, and the staff made her feel so at home and at ease that every day was an exciting day for her.
The camp is run by 2 wonderful Bay Area musicians and music teachers, and takes place at Ashkenaz! What a kick for the kids to get so at home there!
The Concert Show on the last day was inspirational, as all the kids were so proud to show off their band and songs - which we still play and dance to in our living room!
I highly recommend this music camp - and my daughter can't wait until next time! -Scott
this is a review of the Performing Arts Camp led by Eve Decker and Lisa Zeiler held just two weeks each summer. they are dedicated teachers and very cool musicians. my kids, age 16 and 18 now have been attending since they were 10. this is the only music camp they enjoy-and we have tried several others. it is around 26 hours a week, but has a lot of carpooling. the kids arrange themselves, sometimes with help, into groups around a song/band/genre. then look for others to round out the sound. there is a performance, really good energy and FUN on Friday, and each kid performs in about 3-5 songs. there is mostly covers of rock and roll, but also pop, indie, rap, metal, original music, country, soul. kids have to bring an instrument (unless they are vocalists) and as well as guitars, keyboards, and drum sets we have seen mandolins, saxaphones, ukeleles,violins, percussion of all sorts and other amazing instruments. every year there is a different mix of ages, but it has always worked out well for us. the kids are very supportive of each other. this is a great way to start the summer. Dotty
Does anyone have feedback on the summer performing arts camp that meets at Ashkenaz and culminates in a Friday performance there? My son is 14, will be entering high school next year, and is concerned that the kids in the group will all be younger. parent of musician
My son did Ashkenaz Summer music camp for the past 2 years, at ages 11 and 12. He was just about the youngest kid there, both times. It's mostly teens. He loved it.
Re: Belly Dancing Classes (Oct 2004)
I have taken a lot of belly dance classes and I have found the best teacher. Her name is Dara and the class is great for all levels. It is held at Askenaz Tuesdays at 5:30, it lasts an hour and costs $10.00. Great place to start or to get new inspiration.... annie
Re: Informal dance/movement class for 3-year-old (March 2004)
My daughter has been going to a great creative dance class every Tuesday at 3:30 at Ashkenaz on San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley. Per Eisenman is the instructor. He has a degree in dance from Oberlin. The class is really fun for the kids. It involves movement through storytelling, shape making, with music and improvisation. My daughter is 2.8 years old now, and is participating 90% of the time. Even though she couldn't follow along on her own at first, Per made sure that she stayed involved, if she wanted to. The class is for 3-5 year olds, but he let me and a friend of mine put our 2 year olds in anyway. The classes are small lately, and I know he would like more kids in the class. Per is one of the most easygoing, thoughtful people I have met. My daughter wishes every day could be ''Tuesday Dance Class Day.'' It's $10 a class. Melissa
Re: Kid-friendly dance places (Oct 2002)
Ashkenaz is extremely kid-friendly. It's at San Pablo and Gilman in North Berkeley. See http://www.ashkenaz.com/calendar.html. Letitia
Ashkenaz, on San Pablo just south of Gilman in Berkeley, has dance nights, with lots of the music you described. Kids are totally welcome. Jean