Dance Classes for Teens & Preteens
My daughter is interested in learning ballet. Ideally, she would prefer a class with other teens (rather than 6 y.o. or adults), and an environment that is serious about ballet but not preprofessional. Shawl-Anderson has received positive reviews on BPN in the past, but I'd like to hear about the recent experiences of other teens who started ballet lessons as teens, either there or at other studios. What did you or your teen consider when you were looking for a studio? We're interested in studios in Berkeley, North Oakland, or Albany. BTW, she took lessons for a year when she was 5, but doesn't really remember it. Mom of exploring teen
About Shawl-Anderson....there are several dancers at Shawl-Anderson who follow a teacher and attend all of that teacher's classes. This means that very advanced dancers can be in a beginning class! My teen found this very intimidating because it seemed that everyone else was getting the choreography faster than she was. I think this may be the experience at many dance studios, but it might be useful to give her a heads-up. Anonymous
My son started ballet when he was much older, at 21. He's tried lots of places. He liked Berkeley Ballet Theater, on College, which has good teachers and a warm atmosphere. He also loves the SF Academy of Ballet, right at Church and Market. He takes BART and transfers to MUNI and then is right there, just by the MUNI stop. They have a good and thorough and progressive program for young people that is after school and then in the summer, with individual attention for the students and good teachers. hope she has fun!
My 13 year old would like to take either a dance camp this summer, OR a summer dance class that meets more than once a week. Anything in the Berkeley/Albany/El Cerrito/Richmond area would be great. She is a beginning dancer, but wants to do more. Hurry! It's almost April!!
My daughter has attended DanceVersity summer camp at Ashkenaz in Berkeley for many years, and has always loved it. The students have a wide range of dance experience, from none to lots. All levels are welcome, and together they learn new forms of dance from all over the world. (The kids are grouped by age, not ''level.'') It's a casual, fun environment, and the teachers are great. You can find more information at danceversity.com. Susan
Our 13 year old would like to attend a dance camp this summer. She is pretty new to dancing, but really enjoys it. She would like to go to a camp that meets every day (she wants to improve, but most classes are only offered once a week, so she is frustrated). We live in El Cerrito, which is ideal, but will also consider Richmond, Albany, or Berkeley. Oakland, if near BART. Thank you! Not a Dance Mom
If she's into ballet, Berkeley Ballet Theater offers a summer intensive program. The beginner and beginner/intermediate levels will be held July 8-26 this year, 9:00-5:00. You can sign up for one to three weeks. In addition to ballet, last year's classes included character, modern, musical theater, yoga, and choreography. More info is available on BBT's website:http://www.berkeleyballet.org/summer_workshops.php Edna
Try Katie's Dance Studio on San Pablo in El Cerrito. They do at least a one-week dance camp every summer and I've heard talk of them doing more this year. Katie can be reached at 925-229-2695 or at the studio 524-1310. ~ Dance Mom
You may want to look into Danspace (Danspace.com). I checked the website and this summer's offerings aren't up but you can see what they did last year. It's on Hudson near Claremont which is only a 5 or 6 blocks from the Rockridge station.
My daughter has been attending classes there since she was almost 4; she's 8 now and we moved to Alameda a year and a half ago and we're still going. She hasn't taken any summer classes there but I was thinking about it for her this year.
Their philosophy around dance is to take it seriously but not to be too serious with the kids. They are very age-appropriate in all of their dance classes which I like. Call them, or send an email and see what they have to say. I'm sure they'd put your daughter in the right place for her and it's a great place to experience dance.
Good luck! Claire
My 12 year old would like to take dance, and has been taking at Katie's Dance Studio, in El Cerrito. She likes it, but the class is only offered one day a week. She would like to attend a dance studio or take classes several times a week, not just once (that is, something like three jazz dance classes per week). She is a beginner. We live in El Cerrito, and ideally, I do not want to drive far. Thanks! El Cerrito mom
My daughter thoroughly enjoyed dancing at Cerrito Dance Arts in El Cerrito from 7 years old through high school. There is a variety of dance styles and classes offered: Jazz, Tap and Ballet. Maryse Young has run the program for many years. Address is 1534 Kearny St. El Cerrito. The following info comes from their web posting: CERRITO DANCE ARTS CENTER cerritodancearts.com Please call us with any questions at: 510.527.9255 (office). 510.234.2780 (studio ). or email us at: dance [at] cerritodancearts.com. or stop on by for a drop in class! wen
If your daughter likes Katie's, I'd recommend taking more classes there. The prices are very competitive, and the price goes down the more classes you take. I'd call Katie and get some recommendations on additional classes to try out; find a couple more classes (either jazz, hip hop, or whatever she wants to try), so she can have multiple teachers, and be there more days. A happy Katie's mom
This is kind of a silly question, halfway in between ''reommendations'' and ''advice.'' How does a not- naturally-great-dancer pre-teen kid learn how to dance in a not-ridiculous-looking way to Top 40 dance music? I see my child's friends moving to this music in ways that look pretty cool, but have no idea how they're learning to do that. Is there a modern equivalent of the 1970s' ''Soul Train,'' videos that can be rented, etc.? I wouldn't mind knowing how not to look like an idiot on the dance floor myself! Anonymous
They learn from videos on youtube or interactive game systems such as wii or xbox. The latter are actually fun for adults too. They're easier to learn from (moves are repeated and you can choose level of difficulty) and you can see yourself on the tv screen to see how you actually look. It's also a great workout. Ask among your friends to see who has one of the consoles with a dance game, see if you (or your child) can try it out. You can also rent consoles (just Google it) or buy them used (Craigslist is a great place for wii). New Dancer
I'd say use a Wii and get one of the Just Dance (1-3) programs. You and your kid can learn a lot of steps to popular songs. Good exercise for you, too! soul trainer
I think this is a great question. I would recommend any of the dance games, i.e, Wii Just Dance, Michael Jackson the Experience. The songs are fairly current and you will get some dance moves that don't look completely ridiculous. On the goofiest side kids can do a whole dance routine when the song comes on at school dance and it's lots of fun. Also Youtube videos. That's where I taught myself how to do the Dougie. They have tutorials! Totally wish I had that when I was in middle school. Also, I love Michelle Obama and Beyonce Let's Move: http://youtu.be/mYP4MgxDV2U Awesome! Lots of great moves and lots of fun. dancing mama
I am looking for a beginning dance class for a 12 year old boy. He has a fair amount of experience performing in musicals, but would really benefit from a bit of dance training. He isn't the most coordinated guy and I don't want to put him into a situation where he'd feel awkward or uncomfortable, I just want him to learn more about how to dance. anon
Call Katie at Katie's Dance Studio in El Cerrito. There are boys in many of their classes, and I know there is at least one ''boys only'' class. They teach tap/jazz, hip hop, ballet, acrobatics, etc. Katie is the owner--925-229-2695. heidilee
Luna Kids Dance might be a good fit for your son: http://lunadanceinstitute.org/current-schedule/
I'm looking for a dance instructor for the 10 teenagers in the court for my daughter's upcoming quinceanera. We need someone to get together with the kids for a few times to teach them a choreographed dance of the waltz and/or alternative dance. ak
Laurie Ann Lepoff of Social Dance for Shy People & Klutzes is a wonderful dance teacher with 29 years experience. She's based in Oakland and teaches a lot of different dances including waltz. She's creative, non-judgmental, fun and good with young people. Her website is www.stepsontoes.com. You can also call her at 510-444-4621. enjoy the party
Looking for summer dance classes for 15 year old girl with several years of dance experience mostly in enthnic dances of middle east. She is interested in exploring other dance forms (Ballet, Hip Hop, Jazz, etc.) Any recommendations is greatly appreciated.
Cerrito Dance Art on Kearney at Potrero is a great little studio. Maryse Young teaches tap (for adults as well as kids) as well as jazz and ballet, her college age son will be teaching a tap/jazz class this summer, and her mother teaches a class in Hawaiian dance for adults. They're all excellent dancers and great teachers. I highly recommend it. got my tap shoes
My daughter stopped competitive ice-skating and wants to start dancing, she likes modern dance especially, but is interested in all kind of dancing. Does anybody recommend a good dance institute in Berkeley? Thank you! anon
My daughter took dance at Destiny Arts when she was younger and really liked it. They have hip hop, modern and african dance, and martial arts. Here is their website and phone number. http://www.destinyarts.org. (510) 597-1619. Nadja
Can any recommend a place for a 16 1/2 year old to do ballet or jazz dance? She has very little experience and is currently more than a bit out of shape ( actually she is heavy) but a long time ago used to do some ballet and has a real gift for movement ( modern would be probably the best for her, given that she is not long legged , but she says she prefers ballet or jazz). Thanks for any suggestions. Suzanne
Recommendations from 2000
My daughters have been taking a class in swing, salsa,walze, etc for months now at Julia Morgan on College Ave. It is a fun class with a great instructor. The population has been up and down, and right now it is down. We could use some students in the class. The class for teenagers meets at 7:00 PM Friday. Adults meet at 8:00 PM. The class is $5 for the kids. I don't know how much he charges for the adults. Go down the walkway on the south side of the building. Up the brick steps. It is the studio on your left. Try it out! Sunsol (Jan 2000)
A senior girl recommends swing dancing classes in response to the Advice Needed mom who is interested for some social dancing classes for her son. Visit http://www.zootsuitswank.com. There's a live band every Sunday night at Live Oak Park Rec Center, 6:30 for the class, dance begins at 7:30. $9 includes the lesson ($6 after 7:30). All ages welcome, but late teens through 20's predominate. Michael (April 2000)