Onstage: Kids 'N DanceCommunity Subscriber
Dance & Musical Theater Classes, Camps & After School Program
Check out Kids n' Dance in the Laurel District (Oakland). We went there when our kids were that age for several sessions. Play-oriented, creative, inclusive, low-pressure. Mostly girls, inevitably, but not "girly"--my son was happy there as a preschooler. We loved the teachers.
We go to Kids N Dance for my 2.5 yr old and it's a good blend of play and dance. The first half hour is free play in their kid gym and the second half hour is teach led dancing.
Try Kids n' Dance in Oakland. They have classes for your daughter's age group; I don't know if any are gymnastics only but my daughter's pre-ballet/gymnastics class was very light on the "ballet" part (mostly exploring movement) and all the kids seemed to love the tumbling part. My daughter's teacher, Miss Cindy, was great with the kids.
Kids n' Dance in the Laurel District in Oakland is worth the drive. They have all kinds of different dance classes for all ages. It is fun and non competitive. They also have an excellent musical theater program. Also check out Shawl Anderson in Berkeley.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Kids N Dance N Theater Arts in Oakland and Lafayette has an awesome Parent & Me
dance/gymnastic class starting at 18 month. Super fun gym room, sweet energetic
teachers. Dance part is gender neutral. Check them out: kidsndance.com
Kids N Dance for active 3 year old?
Hello, I have an active 3-year-old daughter who is currently enrolled in 45-min of ballet/tap each week, but we are looking for something different once this semester is up, with more imaginative play instead of copying ''moves'' by the teacher. Has anybody tried Kids N Dance for their classes or their birthday parties? Thanks in advance for your advice. MommyToActiveCreative3YO
What you have described you want is exactly what Kids 'N Dance does. My kids are older now and past the creative movement phase of dance classes, but I felt compelled to write because I am such a fan of what they do. In my opinion, Kids 'N Dance's approach to teaching dance is the best way to introduce dance. While it it creative and playful, everything they do is purposeful. The warm-ups were always super fun, and then they would lead into a story dance that would incorporate all the moves they ''practiced'' in the warm ups. The kids, of course, had no idea that this was what was going on. They just thought they were on an adventure - the costumes and specially arranged music transported them into another world as the teacher unfolded the story as the kids danced. And it was a new story every class! It was the highlight of my kids week (and mine - it was soooo much fun to watch via TV monitors in the lobby). Actually, the entire week was a count down until Kids 'N Dance. They are a great organization and I totally credit them for inspiring my girls and providing them with a solid dance foundation. -Fan of Kids 'N Dance
I highly recommend the dance classes at Kids N Dance. Both of my girls started there at 2.5. They are 6 and 10 now, but still go for other types of classes. We started with the Mommy and me classes; they were a perfect intro to have my daughter be more independent. A plus side was that I made some new mommy friends!
The younger dance classes are very play-based and fueled by imagination. Each dance has a theme and a story that goes with it and most times there are simple, but fun costumes. They learn basic dance moves in a fun way and definitely do not get bored. My daughters loved going and they always looked forward to class. When we took the classes that were half gymnastic and half ballet, my daughters were always disappointed when gymnastics time was over because they enjoyed playing on the equipment so much. Wearing a pretty ballet outfit and having their own shoes was also a high point. (Although shoes weren't usually necessary or could be borrowed.) For the younger kids classes, they usually have many of the same class running during a week so it was easy to make-up a missed class. We started with a 4 class pass in the beginning rather than committing to the whole class to see if our daughter liked it. We have always had great teachers; they genuinely seemed to enjoy working with the kids.
My daughters are now really into the theatre classes. They started at 5. There are 3 levels of classes as the kids get older. The younger kid's plays are cute and the older kid's plays are amazing. I am always surprised at how such a professional production can be pulled off in such a short period of time.
The summer camps are also a nice option too to try; there are one week long classes for a few hours a day with many themes. For a bit older kids, they have week long theatre camps. Part of the day is play rehearsal and the afternoon is swimming or an outing. I think it is a great combo and the kids get to really know each other which helps them do a better job in the play. And the final play performance on Friday is amazing!
My older daughter at 5 loved the classes so much we had a birthday party there. It was so easy; we got to pick the dances (different themes - fairies, princess, charcters, etc.), and a teacher led them through the dances and costume changes while the parents relaxed. Then we brought in dessert and snacks. The attendees had fun and I had to do very little - a win-win combination. Renata
Re: Summer camp recommendations for 2nd grader
For a full day camp with aftercare til 6:00 consider a musical theater camp at Kids n Dance. The do a whole production in one week. Rehearsals are first, free time on gym equipment, and then later in the day they do fieldtrips. Usually they are swimming trips to Cull Canyon and Roberts. What is nice about it is that it is a mellow group of no more than 12. My kid can never handle the masses of kids that get herded in various directions like at Camp Galileo. This is at the Oakland Studio Anon
Kids-N-Dance Birthday Party
We are considering doing a Kids-N-Dance birthday party for our 5 year old daughter's upcoming birthday. She did a Kids-N-Dance camp this summer and had a great time. I am wondering if anyone has done/gone to one of their birthday parties in the Oakland Studio and what you thought.... thanks!
We had a great experience with Kids 'N Dance birthday parties. My daughter loved it so much for her fourth birthday that she asked for the same thing for this year's party. They have lots of themes to choose from, but will work with you if you want to modify it in some way. I love that when they put all the dances together, whichever ones you choose, they manage to turn it into a cohesive story. I've found that kids that usually don't participate, get into the the imaginary world that the teacher creates and are soon out there with everyone else. Aside from the dances, the teachers are really helpful for the second half: helping serve, cleaning, making sure kids have things to do with their free time. Well worth the money (which is actually relatively inexpensive comparatively) anon
Re: Musical Theatre for 9-year-old son
Kids 'N Dance and Theater Arts!......They have a FABULOUS musical theater program for kids with age groups that start at 4 and end at 14. What I love about them is they work hard at giving all the kids a great experience. Scripts are customized for each cast and everyone is given a chance to be challenged and have fun. The quality of the productions is amazing considering the broad range of talent. We have done three shows already and our daughter loves it and has made a great community of friends. An added benefit that I wasn't expecting is that she is learning about responsibility and teamwork. She insists on practicing with the CD they give her everyday so that she is ready for class. Usually we are in the car and she happily sings at the top of her lungs wherever we go! They do musical theater in both of their studios (Laurel District - Oakland, and Lafayette) and also do productions at the Orinda Rec. Center. happy low-key stage mom
Re: Short-term summer camp for 4-year-old
I am not sure what your 4 year old likes to do, but my daughter loves dance camp at Kids N Dance in Oakland, Lafayette, or Orinda (not Berkeley). They have 1-week sessions all summer. I think their website is kidsndance.com.
Re: Young Drama Queen looking for Venue
If you are looking for a great musical theatre class for kids, there is a hidden gem at Kids N Dance in the Laurel district in Oakland and in Lafayette and Orinda. In the Oakland studio they have a Beginning Theatre on Thursdays (age 6-12), Intermediate Theatre on Mondays (age 8-14) and a lot of ''Little Theatre'' classes for age 4-6. The classes culminate in two full performances. Check it out! Stage mom
Re: Gymnastics Class for 18-month-old
Check out the creative movement / gymnastics classes at Kids N Dance in Oakland (www.kidsndance.com). There are fun ''parent-and-me'' participatory classes for the under-two crowd, and the teachers do a great job keeping the kids engaged and participating. Enjoy!
Re: Ballet classes for six year old Richmond
KIDS N DANCE! It's on MacArthur, in Oakland's Laurel District (with another studio in Lafayette). If you are in Richmond, it would be a bit of a drive for a ballet class, but in our opinion, well worth it! We've met families there who drive from Richmond, Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, San Leandro, Hayward, etc. They offer a wide range of dance and movement (as well as musical theater) classes. Our daughter started taking classes there last year and just LOVES the classes, and all the teachers. I can't say enough about how wonderful this place is for children. Steps, positions, technique, etc. are taught using imaginative play and creative movement, so the emphasis is on having FUN while learning. They use costumes and props for ''theme'' dances and have a blast-- getting exercise, using their imaginations, and learning dance all at the same time. At the end of the approx. 11 week session, each class has a performance that all the adults are invited in to the room to watch.!
All the teachers we've met are not only great dance instructors, but also great with kids. Our daughter is very shy around unfamiliar adults, and hesitant to try new things, but she has really blossomed there. The teachers have done an amazing job at not only teaching her, but also helping to build her confidence and self-esteem. The woman who runs it, Kris, is also wonderful. I could go on and on, but I'll stop. They have a website, Kidsndance.com, but the best thing is to experience it first-hand and go check it out. You can watch the class going on in the adjacent room on a big monitor, and you can hear it, too. And you'll see how happy the kids are! Ok, I'll stop. The phone number is 510 531 4400. It's a great place.
Re: Summer camp for 4 1/2 year old?
Last year our 4 year old daughter went to several camps at Kids 'N Dance in Oakland. She did a musical theater camp (Lion King) and two dance camps (Happy Feet and Diego). She had an absolute BLAST! The teachers were great, crafts were creative and fun for the kids to do, and the shows at the end of each were adorable and impressive considering the age of the kids. In each class there always seemed to be at least a couple of boys. This might be exactly what you are looking for.
It's not exactly summer yet, but time to start thinking ahead . . . My 6-year-old daughter, who has no discernible singing or acting expertise, has been asking me to find her a singing or acting camp for this coming summer. Most such programs seem to be for the 8+ set, but I just noticed an ad for Kids 'n Dance, which has programs for much younger kids. I've read the BPN reviews, but didn't see anything specific to their summer-camp THEATER programs. I'd love to hear your opinion, especially if you are the parent of a youngish kid who does not at first glance seem Broadway-bound. (Also, I'd happily listen to any other recommendations for a 6-year-old.) Thanks! Anonymous
In response to your question about Kids N' Dance, while I do not have any experience with their summer camp, I can very enthusiastically recommend their theatre arts program! The director, Kris Mueller, is quite talented and just wonderful with the kids. My daughter has been in the program for one year, starting when she was six, and she has really blossomed -- starting out rather shy and asking for a chorus role only, but now has no fear of singing and dancing solos in front of an audience. They learn so much, too! Much more than just acting and singing and dancing -- they learn to work together, support one another, focus/not be distracted by the audience, be quiet when backstage (not easy!), memorize their lines, etc. etc. Our experience with Kids N' Dance has given us much more than I was expecting and I highly recommend it! Brenda
Kids 'n Dance is a wonderful, nurturing place for curious kids to experiment with theater and dance. ALL of the teachers are fabulous with kids, and have this wonderful ability to keep even the youngest children enticed and on task. There is no pressure for children to be anything other than themselves, and it is pure FUN. My kids have not participated in the theater classes but we have gone to the theater performances for both the 4-6 year group and the older kids group, and it is fabulous with costumes, set design and everything! As for the dance classes, my girls (3 and 4.5) would be sorely disappointed if we discontinued, it's the highlight of their week. Try it, you won't be disappointed. Kristen
My daughter has participated in Kids N Dance for almost three years. Mostly these are the afterschool programs, but also some of the summer programs. Kris Mueller, the director, deserves alot of credit for including all of the children despite their differing temperments. It is a no-pressure environment focused on having fun. There are no prima donna attitudes. I have really come to appreciate the important educational benefits of theatre arts through KND. The kids learn to speak before a group, the value of practice, and working together in coordinated fashion. I recommend it.
Re: Dance or Drama Class for 7.5-year-old boy (Nov 2004)
My daughter has taken dance and theater at Kids N Dance and really loves it. They do shows like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Sound of Music, Peter Pan. The teachers are all wonderful, it's amazing how much they could get out of the kids. The shows are fun to watch and the kids really enjoy themselves!! They also have hip hop, jazz, tap there. My daughter took the ballet/modern when she was 7 year olds and there was one boy in it. There dance is very playful, fun and imaginative. They pretend to be Queens and Dragons, cats, Dalmations, and dressed up too. During the class they did some structured dancing too and at the end they preform on stage. The dance show my daughter did was called Cirque Du Soliel and they had glow in the dark clothes and danced with red lights on a string. They have a web site Kidsndance.com Hope that helps you. anon
Re: Ballet classes in Orinda for 3.5 year old girl
Kids 'n Dance in Lafayette has wonderful, fun oriented, non stressful classes for kids from preschool on up. They also run classes at the Orinda Community Center. Kris, the owner is very child and process centered as opposed to strict technique, although technique is taught at developmentally appropriate levels. Good luck, Sindy
I have been looking for a dance studio for creative movement for my 2yr old and have passed by this new studio on MacArthur (sort of near High St. in Oakland). Their website looks pretty good, but I would love to hear if anyone out has had any experience with the teachers there. anon
Look no further - it's absolutely lovely. We've been doing dance with teacher Sara since they opened. I can't speak highly enough of her. Her manner with the kids is warm and age appropriate, and the facility offers an imaginative approach to dance classes complete with costumes that change weekly. My older daughter did their drama program, and I was knocked out (as was she) by what they were able to accomplish in a short time. The kids had fun, everyone felt included even if they didn't have a 'main' role, and they learned a lot. The staff as well as the owner, has been warm, flexible and friendly. There is even a nearby coffee shop to grab a cup while class is in session. If you're fast, you can even do your marketing at wonderful Farmer Joe's down the street. Sign me... ...a happy dance & drama mama
My daughter takes a Creative Movement class at Kids N Dance and she LOVES it!! Her teacher Sara is patient, and great with the kids. I have other friends whose children take other classes at Kids N Dance they too love it. Sylvia
We discovered this as an alternative to the structured ballet classes that my daughter seemed stifled by, but she really wanted to move & dance. It's really pretty fun. My 3 yr old loves it! and I've been to the younger class,a nd they have lots of fun too! 2 yr olds have a Mommy & me type class, with lots of fun movement, dance, gymnastics things to do. The teacher that we've been to is fun, imaginative, creative, enthusiastic. My only complaints about the place are that the space is small, and the transition area between classes, with kids & parents coming & going, can sometimes be really cramped. Also, I kind of wish the studio space was a little bigger, but it's actually fine for everything they do with the kids. They have a 4-class pass if you want to try it out, and I understand you can also do dropin. If you sign up for one class you can do makeup in another class if needed, and if there's room in the class (which seems to change from a moment to moment basis on the Saturday classes). The weekday classes are less busy. Oh, and most importantly, you really need to check in with them to make sure that the class you want to do is actually offered. They have an extensive schedule, but sometimes no one signs up for a class so it isn't actually offered. Most of the morning classes seem to be offered, but many of the afternoon/early evening classes aren't open despite the listing on the schedule. janet
My 2.5 year old son took the introductory 4 week session of the Mommy and Me Creative Movement class at the new location in Oakland at Kids N Dance. I can recommend it. He enjoyed it, the teacher was very good with the kids (I think her name was Nicole) and the studio was clean and bright. It is very convenient to where we live, so we will probably take a few more classes in the future - but at this point he is more into running and jumping! I am very happy that they are in the Laurel and want to support them so they will stay in business. Valerie
I have just started my second session of the ''Mommie and Me'' class at Kids-n-Dance in the Laurel. This is the class for 20 month to 3 year old kids. My son is now 2 and 1/2 and LOVES the class. We do it on Friday morning with Nicole. Nicole is energetic with the kids and keeps the energy of the class lively and fun. We've done a couple makeup classes and found the other teachers great as well. Chris is the woman who owns the studio and she's there alot and makes us feel welcome when we come.
I plan on keeping him in the class until he's too old for it. My son asks to go to ''dance class'' and has a blast when we're there.
I highly recommend the class and would just say try to get into a class that isn't totally full. His Friday class has about 5 kids in it and with the adults there's 10 of us and that feels perfect. See ya there! monica
My 5yearold takes preballet/modern dance at Kids 'N Dance in Lafayette. the kids are taught a few basic movements, and the empahsis is on incorporating those movements into a different short dance skit each week, with costumes. It is very much geared to the short attention span and physical coordination of the 45 age group. And quite fun! The Saturday teacher, Christina, is very good and patient. Nancy