Dance Classes for Preschoolers
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Looking for music and dance class for preschooler
My 4 yr old loves music and I'm looking for a class for her that will bring in some dance as well. I don't think she's ready for ballet -- something a little more loose and lively would fit the bill. Thanks! Emily
I haven't tried them myself yet, but I know both the Berkeley Y and Albany Y have dance classes for this age group. another mom
Try Sherrie's Dance Studio in El Sobrante.4592 Appian Way right off San Pablo Dam Road. There's a class called Tiny Tots-Introduction to Dance which includes Jazz, Tap, Ballet, etc. They use fun props, lively music and parents are involved. cheri
Dance class for almost 2 year old
Hi all, My daughter LOVES to dance, and sing. I'd love to start her in some fun social dance classes. I'm not looking for anything too strict. It would be great to find a class with several different music styles where she can have fun with other kids while moving her body to music. Everything I've seen so far either starts at 2.5 or 3 years, or seems very rigid and formal. Any ideas of something fun she can start now? Thank you! Jinny
Kids 'N Dance 'N Theater Arts! My kid has been going there since she was a baby. They have a fun Parent & Me class starting at 18 months (I think). Totally playful, low stress, creative. They get to dance, sing, wear costumes (if they want), ''play'' instruments, and even have 15 minutes of free time on awesome gym equipment. anon
Check out Kids N Dance - they have Mommy (or Daddy, GM, Nanny) & Me ''Creative Movement'' classes that I think start at 18 mos. They have some free play time on toddler gym equipment, then slightly more structured dance time with music and cute little dress up costumes. Both my daughter and son loved it! Dancin' mama
Kids 'n Dance (http://www.kidsndance.com/index.html) has Parent & Me classes that start at 18 mos. My daughter was in one when she was not much older than that. It was fun for her. At one point in class they bring out costumes and the kids dance pretending to be dinosaurs, or fairies, or snowflakes or whatever the costume of the day is. There was some free play with some of their equipment, there was some stretching, and then they would take turns hopping like a frog or some other movement. Very simple, low pressure and fun. Carrie
Morning Dance Movement Class for Preschooler
Next Fall my daughter will be in preschool in the afternoons from 1 - 4. We're hoping to find a movement, yoga, gynastics or dance class that would be age appropriate (all the kids are 4-5), but in the morning on a weekday. I can almost guarantee that if one is available, that there's a few of us interested. Gia
You have to check out Kids N Dance. I have yet to meet a kid who didn't LOVE dance classes there. Especially the pre school age. Anon
My 4 year old daughter is into dance and ballerinas and the whole thing. Do you know of a good dance class for her in the El Cerrito to North Richmond or Pinole area? Thanks
(Announcements about classes were received from Ashkenaz and Danspace)
Looking for a modern dance class for a preschooler age 5. Something more exciting than ballet but not as hip as hip-hop? mother of a would be dancer...
There is a wonderful dance class at the World Dance Center every Tues and Thurs from 4-5pm open to children who are 8-12 Years Old. Part of Brasarte, this class focuses on dance from Brazil and the kids perform at Carnival and the Yemenja festival every year. The quality of the class is great and this is a wonderful community to be part of. there is also a camp associated with the school for three weeks this summer concentrating on costume making, drumming, dance and capeoira from different regions of Brazil. Please look at www.brasarte.com for more information or call 528-1958. Aberger
KIDS 'N DANCE in Oakland. The class is called pre-ballet, but is essentially modern. The owner has a background in modern dance and strongly feels that it is a more developmentally appropriate introduction to dance than ballet. The classes are SO MUCH FUN (my kid counts the days until it is a Kids 'N Dance Day) but are also more than just fun - the children learn an amazing amount. Four stars in my book! They are on line kidsndance.com and their phone is 531-4400. anon
Check out Kids N Dance in Oakland (www.kidsndance.com) for lots of great modern dance classes for kids. It's one of our favorite places for dance and theatre classes! Other places that have modern dance include Danspace and Shawl-Anderson. Dance Mom
There is a great modern dance school called ''Genesis Dance Sport'' www.genesisdancesport.com with a campus in JCC in Walnut Creek (Tice Valley Rd).Teachers are professionals and dancers perform in Zelerbach. Calsses are M-W 3.50pm for 3-6 y.o. and 4.50 for 6-8. First class is free. Modern ballroom dance for boys and girls. elena
My son is turning two and loves to dance (he mimics tap dancing) and music. His grandmother takes care of him 4 days a week and it would be great to find a class she can take him to where he can do fun dancing/music activities appropriate for his age. We are in the East Bay. Thanks. Jennifer
Music Together classes are given all over the East Bay, and sound like they might be a good fit for your 2 yr. old. The classes are mixed ages from infants up to age 4-1/2. Info from their website: In a Music Together class, up to twelve children and the adults that love them meet for 45 minutes each week for ten weeks to experience songs, chants, movement activities, and instrumental jam sessions. Both adults and children sit in the circle and participate, led by a teacher with early childhood educational and music skills. www.eastbaymusictogether.com marilyn
Check out Jon's School of Music: www,jsom.com. The class is perfect for 2-year-olds. Jon is energetic and very creative. Most children just love him. My son has been going for 3 years (since he was 1.5) and has learned so much. Jon teaches Monday and Thursdays in North Berkeley. Liz O.
You will love Music Together classes for your son. Look up Music Together online, there are classes offered in many Berkeley locations, including at Julia Morgan. My kids loved it! Musically
Kids N Dance sounds like the right place for him. They have 2 locations- one in the Laurel District in Oakland, and one in Lafayette. We loved the Mommy and Me (which was also was Daddy/Grandma/Nanny and Me) class at that age, and went to the Oakland location. I HIGHLY recommend the teacher Sara Hampton-she can keep 10 toddlers completely engaged and happy for the whole class! They do some gymnastic free play at the beginning and then more dancing to music with all kinds of fun props and simple costumes. Usually the class was pretty even boy/girl ratio at that age. www.kidsndance.com Mom of a dancin' girl
Montclair Recreation Center on Moraga Avenue has a terrific Ballet and Tap class for 2 years up to 4 year olds. Miss Marilyn is the teacher and she is great. It's a lot of fun and not too expensive. I think it's $75 for Oakland resident and $80 for non resident and it's 8-10 week sessions with a performance in June. My daughter did it last year and the performance was definitely the highlight! Luv of Dance Berkeley parent
I am looking for dance classes for my preschooler: - Free movement rather than ballett - Saturdays or afternoons - Berkeley/Oakland/Albany/El Cerrito would work for us. Most classes I can find for 3 year olds are weekday morning classes or if at other times, they are for older kids. Is Kathleen Hogan/little feet still teaching classes? Where? Any leads welcome
My daughter took the beginner (pre-)ballet class at Albany Community Center this spring and we had a very good experience. The beginner class is for 3-5 year olds and it was on Friday afternoon -- albeit early afternoon. I don't know how consistent the schedule is from session to session. (We expect to be back when they start again in the fall, but my daughter wants to take tap next time! Apparently some of the kids do both classes, back to back.) Holly
You must not have looked into Kids 'N Dance in Oakland on MacArthur (btwn 35th and High). They have TONS of preschool classes offered and have a great program. The owner and teachers are great. They have a website, kidsndance.com I think. parent of 3 yr old dancing dervish
This recommendation fits your needs, except for the ''free movement'' part...Katie's Dance Studio is in El Cerrito, right on San Pablo. It has classes for 3.5 and up, and they have Saturday morning classes for that age. The class is tap & jazz, and lasts 45 minutes (half tap and half jazz). They use fun, hip music (lots of Disney theme songs), and the kids love it. They will let you ''try out'' a class to see if it's the right fit for your child. Classes start in September. (510) 524-1310. heidi
I am looking for a dance class for my daughter that will be fun and playful but will also help her to become more coordinated. She trips all over herself constantly and, given the choice, doesn't choose to be very physical. I don't want her to have to conform to be in a ballet class (same color leotards, ballet shoes and a bun head) and I don't want her to be dressing and dancing as if she were on a music video. Any suggestions? anon
The dance classes at the Berkeley Y (which you can register for even if you're not a Y member) are low-key and don't require any particular clothing. My (somewhat clumsy) three-year-old has enjoyed both the pre-ballet class and the Rhythm & Roots class, which is basically the same as the ballet class but with better music and added drumming. The classes introduce dance concepts in a general way, but most of the time the kids are moving in a pretty free-form way. They don't have as many dance classes in the summer but there should be some. Mother of a little dancer
Definitely try Kids N Dance in Oakland. There is also one in Lafayette. Our daughter started classes there when she was 4, and has loved every minute of it. You can learn more about it by going to the website: www.kidsndance.com
They do ballet, jazz, tap, modern, hip hop, gymnastics, creative movement, etc. The kids learn steps, moves, technique etc. through imaginative play in a way that promotes creativity, builds confidence, self-esteem, strength and coordination. They have a ton of fun and get lots of encouragement-- it's not a rigid, conforming kind of environment at all. And they learn a ton about dancing. The woman who runs it is amazing, and all the teachers are enthusiastic and wonderful with kids. Our daughter adores them, and she doesn't readily adore adults!
We were very hesitant to enroll her initially. She was shy and clumsy, very uncoordinated, and had terrible balance, and she had started to notice that other children could do lots of things that she couldn't do. We were worried that putting her in dance classes where she would stick out even more as the clumsy kid would just make the situation worse.
Well, she may not grow up to be a professional athlete or dancer, but she has completely thrived in her classes at Kids N Dance. After just one session there she already had much better coordination and balance, and her confidence in herself grew enormously. There is always a range of abilities in every class, but now she mostly fits right in middle somewhere-- instead of sticking out. And even when she was at the most UNcoordinated end of the range, because the classes are structured so that everyone succeeds, she never felt bad about herself in her dance classes. As her confidence grew, her willingness to try new things grew, and as that happened, she quickly got better and better. Now she wants to take 4 or 5 classes there a session. She has so much fun, I think she'd like to live there. The current session ends in mid-June. You can also start mid-session. Do check it out!! Their phone number is 510 531 4400
I think Luna Kids Dance would be a lot of fun for your 4-year old daughter, as it was for mine at that age and for several years after. It is definitely not a ''conform or else'' sort of class: the teachers encourage kids to explore movement and enjoy the music in each child's individual way. My daughter took classes in Oakland, and her favorite teacher (and mine) was named Freesia, but I'm not sure she's still on staff. The website is www.lunakidsdance.com.
Check out Danspace in the Rockridge. http://www.danspace.com/ The Serendipity classes are great for kids that age, the teachers are fun and it is not too formal. There is a minimal dress code but not very restrictive (all my daughter cared about was that they let the girls wear leotards with attached skirts). Dance Mom
I highly recommend Kids N' Dance. They have 2 sites - one in Lafayette on Mt. Blvd and one in Oakland (I'm not sure where). I really liked their fun and playful approach. My girls loved it. Happy Dancing
We did a class at Kids N Dance and are now doing a class at Danspace. Part of our motivation for doing dance is the same as yours. I can't recommend Brooke Byrne at Danspace highly enough. Both classes were enjoyable but I've seen more actual skill-building in her class at Danspace. It's a bit more regimented -- tights and leotard (though colors not specified for 4y/o) and parents are only supposed to stay on certain days. Brooke manages to make the classes very fun and engaging while gently helping along some of the kids who aren't getting the moves. As an example of how fun it is, my daughter just went to a birthday party at Danspace and part of the party is a dance class that's just like her regular one. kate
A great place for dance and creative movement is Kids 'N Dance in the Laurel District in Oakland. They have a great approach to teaching kids that's full of fun and imagination, and while they do have an integrated curriculum, this school does not have the rigidity of a formal dance/ballet studio. Check out their website at kidsndance.com and read about their teaching philosophy to find out more. Both my younger daughter (age 3) and my older daughter (age 7) take classes there and they both love it. For your 4-year-old, check out their Creative Movement class or Pre-Ballet class. They also have something called ''Little Theatre'' where the kids learn songs and dances from a musical and put on a performance. It's cute - not tacky - and lots of fun! Brenda
Luna Kids Dance on College Ave at the Julia Morgan Center sounds like just what you want. It's VERY low key and aims to help the kids enjoy music and movement. My kids loved it. Shona
I want to enroll my three-year old boy/girl twins in a dance class--maybe a gymnastics/movement class. Can people recommend a good studio that would be good for boys and girls and not be too wrapped up in gender stereotypes? Thanks
There is a great tap/ballet combo class at Dance Theatre Arts in Hayward. It's taught by Sharon Kitchen who has been teaching kids for over 30 years. My daughter loves her. There is currently a 3 year old boy in the class as well as about 4 other girls. It's on Wed evenings at 6pm. Good luck! Dance Mom
Kids N Dance specializes in teaching young children. You can do a free trial at our Oakland location. 3 year olds get to dress up weekly in costumes made for them and dance stories like, Kings, Queens and Dragons, Dinosaurs, Merry-go-round horses and more. All of the movements that are taught are real dance movements but the kids just think it's a game. Like when they try to do a passe' (balance on one leg with your toe to your knee) The teacher says, ''Tap your toe in the bath, ouch it's hot'' (they all lift their toe to their knee) Kids learn to leap, gallope and other moves over animals we put on the floor. But the best thing about Kids N Dance is that all of the teachers are very friendly, outgoing, animated, and see each child as an individual. This is the most important thing at this young age. Kris Kris mueller
I'm looking for updated info on informal (not ballet) dance classes for 3-4 year olds. I can't find ''Little Feet'' which got great recommendations a few years ago -- does anyone know if Kathleen Hogan is still teaching? Thanks.
Kathleen Hogan taught at my daughter's preschool, and she's great. Unfortunately, she is currently in treatment for brain cancer. Put out some good thoughts for her; we miss her very much. My daughter came home with so many wonderful dance moves.... We're very sad that she's suffering, and I'm pretty sure she's struggling financially as a result too. Other dance classes: you can try Kids N Dance, which is in Lafayette and Oakland on Macarthur near 35th. They have ''creative movement'' classes, which are fun for kids. There's also Luna Kids Dance, which meets in several different locations. It's more creative dance.
Kids N Dance in Oakland, Lafayette and at the Orinda Rec. Center offers creative movement for 3 & 4 year olds. Coordination, cooperation, and basic dance skills are developed through a curriculum using imagination and pretend play. New costumes are brought to every class for weekly story dances. Dancers pretend they are baby animals, princesses, pirates, etc. that go on exciting adventures. Our teachers are cheerful, friendly, and see each child as an individual. Check us out at www.kidsndance.com Kris Mueller, Kids 'N Dance and Theater Arts Owner
My daughter just started classes at Kids 'N Dance at the Oakland location. She absolutely loves it. I'm only familiar with her teacher, Sara, and she's wonderful with the kids. It's a drop-off class (a first for my daughter who just turned 3 in April) and she was a little hesitant to go, but once she saw the (very cute) storefront and saw the other kids, she was off and running. She asks to go back every day! They have another location in Lafayette too. I chose it based on their philosophy (check out www.kidsndance.com for the blurb), which puts fun foremost and we couldn't be happier. christy
Can anyone recommend a dance class for my almost 3-year old daughter? In Lamorinda, Rockridge or Berkeley? Ballet is a bit more structured than she likes, but I am still open to feedback on ballet classes that take 3-year olds independently. Offering a fun class where she can move to music with children her age and up. She seems to have outgrown mommy and me classes but there seems to be an age gap. Many programs look like they take kids at 4 or 5 in their beginning dance programs. Anon
Try Danspace, the Serendipity class is free form, but teaches some ballet terms. Each class varies according to what the teacher decides to do. We love Brooke, she is inspiring, energizing and kind to the children. They have a website. At Danspace they don't offer pre-ballet til about 5 or 6 years. anonymous
Try www.kidsndance.com. They have locations in Oakland and Lafayette.
Check out www.danspace.com (in Rockridge). They have a variety of movement classes for young children. Tracy
Kids 'N Dance has 2 locations, one in Lafayette and one in Oakland in the Laurel district. We have fun imaginative dance classes for 3 year olds. The teachers are very friendly and wonderful with the kids. The kids dress up weekly in costumes and do story dances. They do a lot of pretend while they learn how to dance. Check us out. Our website is www.kidsndance.com. 510-531-4400 Kris Mueller
My three year old daughter has taken and enjoyed classes at both Kids N Dance in Lafayette and Kinderdance at the Lafayette Recreation Center. The latter is significantly cheaper but there are fewer times so it depends on your schedule. anon
Danspace has classes for kids starting at 3. They have to be potty trained. Here's the web site: http://www.danspace.com/children/c_overview.html
My 3 year old daughter loves dancing so much that I'm thinking of signing her up for a class. We're somewhat limited by logistical considerations, so don't want to drive too far from Rockridge. Shawl-Anderson and Danspace both offer classes for three year olds, but I worry that their approach might be a little hard-core for that age. Anyone have experience with them for little kids? It looks like Music Together might be an alternative that's more developmentally based -- but do their mixed age classes really have 3 and 4 year olds or are they mostly toddlers?
My son started Danspace at age 3.5, taking the Serendipity class with Brooke. It seems age appropriate, incorporating imaginative elements, and they hop, jump, and march, and most of the kids seem to love the class. I think each teacher is different. Joanne
for dance classes, you might want to try Oakland Parks & Rec. They have a few classes. I only know specifically of the ones in Montclair taught by Miss Marilyn. It's called Magic Movement, very inexpensive, and the kids seem to like it (she also teaches ballet/tap to the older kids, but it's very structured). You should be forewarned that Miss Marilyn tends to run extremely late, virtually never starting the first class on time, and one time she showed up 45 minutes late for a 50 minute class just to tell us all about some sad story of getting her car fixed or going to the doctor or whatever it was, but she didn't even bother to call in to the director who staffed the place so that the 20-30 parents w/ their kids could have made better use of their time rather than simply trying to control the restless boredom. This and the fact that she nearly ran me over driving very fast to the class (again, running late) were enough frustration to make me never go again. But like I say, others like it and there are many classes to choose from and it's cheap. Close to your neighborhood, Berkeley Ballet at Julia Morgan Theater has ballet classes, including a ''we dance together'' class. But they are pricey, and still a little bit traditionally structured. Luna Kids Dance offers classes at a few locations-Montclair, Mills College, somewhere else. They are more creative movement. Finally, Kids N Dance on Macarthur near 35th has great creative dance classes for all ages. They tend to get pretty full on the weekends, but their weekday morning classes are almost never full, and my daughter's favorite teachers are on those days (alas, for us working types) janet
My daughter started taking ballet classes at Danspace when she was 3 years old and absolutely loves it. From my experience, I do not think it is too structured, however, teacher Brooke is great about keeping the children focused. Her classes emphasize movement and fun. Plus, my daughter loves twirling around like a ballerina. Hope this helps Laura
We go to a class that sounds like a great fit for you! My 3.5 yr old girl just started her second semester of dance class with the most creative, and talented teacher, Sara, at Kidsndance on Macarthur below Redwood Heights. She uses different kinds of music, has a dialog going the whole class about pretend blowing bubbles, imaginary balls etc and every time they use costumes, ie kangaroos, merrygoround ponies and today penguins. The class is well paced and the kids are so involved, I've never seen anything like it. My kid talks about Sara all the time. She teaches several mornings but the class we take is called creative movement for 3-4 yr olds and is at 9:30 am on Thursdays. It's not full for the fall yet and they offer a 4 week trial class for new students that starts anytime. Their number is 531-4400 and website kidsndance.com Ricki udonato [at] yahoo.com
I can't believe more people don't know about Kids 'N Dance in the Laurel District. They are on MacArthur between 35th and High. They have been there for about a year and are well worth going out of your way to get to (though easily accessible from 580 & 13) They have won tons of awards, have great teachers, and creative classes for all ages (starting at 14 months!) For the young ones, they do a new story dance with costumes for every class.This is the place to go if you want your child to learn dance/do gymnastics while having fun at the same time. I can't say enough good things about them. From the outside storefront, you would never know how large and beautiful the space is. Give it a try. They are on line at kidsndance.com anon
My son goes to kids n dance and loves it. is 35th and MacArthur too far? they seem to have many classes all week long good luck
My pre-school aged daughter might be ready for dance (or pre- dance?) class, such as ballet. We live in Oakland. Any recommendations for nearby schools you've liked, the kind of class I should look for or engaging teachers? Many thanks! Cyntha
Check out Danspace on Hudson in Oakland, near Rockridge BART. www.danspace.com My daughter loved the creative movement-type classes for 3.5-6 year olds called Serendipity, taught by Brooke. Very creative, not too strict, pretty energetic, and fun. Brooke is no- nonsense in a gentle way, very effective with a group of preschoolers. Susan
To all parents of preschoolers, I wholeheartedly recommend truly wonderful dance classes for the 3 to 7 year old set (and beyond): World Dance Center (1831A Solano Avenue) in Berkeley offers a great range of classes for kids and adults; I study in the adult ballet classes there. My teacher Nona Refi has recently begun pre-ballet classes for preschoolers on Tue and Thurs from 3:15 to 4, and there are also creative dance classes for the same age group on Monday and Friday. I'm picky about dance; I've danced my whole life, and have had the full complement of teachers all around the country. Nona is one of the very best teachers I've had: fun, musical, correct in her instruction, and wise and insightful, too! We love her. My 19 yr old son and his girlfriend have also studied with Nona; she gets wonderful reviews from every age group. See www.brasarte.com for the full schedule of classes. Let your kids dance with great teachers; they'll thank you! Melissa
I would like to sign my 3-year-old (will be 3 in March) up for either gymnastics classes or dance classes. She doesn't do well with the ''free-play'' stuff, I think she'd like something with instruction, but fun and flexible (loose structure). I was thinking either the instructional gymnastics at UC Village or some kind of ballet or dance. Any recommendations? She LOVES to dance! *mom of a dancer
You definitely should check out Kids 'N Dance on MacArthur in the Laurel District. The speciallize in working with young ones (they even 18 month old classes w/ family participaion) Incredibly engaging and creative for the kids. They have combination gymnastics and dance or classes specializing in one or the other. They have story dances every week with different costumes and though it looks like fun and games the kids really learn skills. My 2.5 year old has been with them since she was 18 months and her balance, concentration, coordination and turn-taking abilities seem to be above her peers that have been in other movement classes. My daughter loves it so much that we have to play ''dance class'' 3-4 times a day - she is always one of her teachers and at this point can lead us from warm-up songs all the way through to the end when the kids get stamps. The teachers are fabulous (especially Sara) and all of them seem skilled in both dance and early childhood education. As you can tell, I love this place and want to see them get supported in their new Oakland location. (They have a studio also in Lafayette that has been around for 10 years or more) check out their website kidsndance.com anon
Hi. I'm looking for some kind of dance class for my little girl. Maybe ballet, hula or even hip-hop classes. Any recommendations will be appreciated! Thanks!! Jane
My daughter has been attending dance classes at Shawl-Anderson since she was 3. The teachers, Reenie and Maurice Charriere, are wonderful. They engage the children with movements they can really do, and incorporate props (ribbons, balls, etc.) and instruments (drums, shakers) that the children love. My daughter is now 6, and remains enthusiastic about this program. (There are separate classes for different ages ranges.) Another plus is that there are boys in my daughters class, and one of the teachers is male, which I think is a good role model for both boys and girls (not to mention again that Maurice himself is a really good teacher.) Karen
Hi, I am looking for a dance class in Alameda for my 2.5 year old. My preference would be for tap lessons but we're open to other types of lessons, too. Also, if 2.5 is too young, I am happy to wait until she's three to enroll her. Thanks
Our daughter goes to Dance 10 in Alameda at 9th/Santa Clara. The class is a combination of tap, jazz, tumbling. We've been there for more than a year and our daughter loves it. We started when she was a young 3 but you could call the studio to find out if they have an age requirement.
I checked the archives for a toddler dance and/or movement class and most listed were no longer being offered. Does anyone know of a good, informal class in the Berkeley area for my three year old daughter? anon
- Berkeley YMCA
- East Bay Dance Center
- Little Feet Dance & Movement
- Luna Kids Dance
Can anyone recommend a good pre-ballet or other dance class for 3 year-olds in Oakland or Berkeley? (I've checked the website and the information is either old or not specific to this age.) Lisa
- Julia Morgan Center for the Arts