WhiteMorningStar

Ballet schools in California - Los Angeles

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A coworker of mine wants to sign his twin daughters up for ballet lessons (they're only 3) and asked if I had any suggestions (near West Los Angeles).

 

Since they're so young, I'm almost inclined to suggest that he check if the local parks dept has ballet classes (it would be actually more creative movement/pre-ballet than ballet technique anyway)...

 

He found a studio in Westwood but the prices are $20 per hour. That's a bit steep for class for a 3-year-old and I'm not even sure they have classes for kids that young. Westside and Conjunctive Points are somewhat close by- do they have classes for such young students and would it be practical?

 

There's also supposedly someplace nearby where it's $10 per class (on Sunday mornings, I think) but you don't have to pay for a month at a time, just per class... any suggestions?

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[edited to remove quote]

 

Definitely at least check the parks department. I did this many years ago as a wee kiddo (5? 6?) and the teacher was FABULOUS - very nurturing and loving. It was fun, age-appropriate, and quite reasonably priced. When I went to a good studio after training at the park she had given me no bad habits to unlearn and had instilled a love for ballet. He might get lucky and find such a gem as well - it is worth the look, especially at that age, where it will be all creative movement.

 

I attended a park out in the Valley, and Mrs Jensen is long since retired, but I wouldn't encourage spending $20/hour before checking the park system, local YMCA's or other community centers. The studio I am with now got at least one of our creative movement teachers (and she was really very good) from a community center.

 

jayo

Edited by jayo

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Westside Ballet does not offer classes for three-year olds, but they can start in pre-ballet classes around the age of five.

 

You might also check out Dance For Kids in Brentwood.

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Stop checking and tell your friend to wait until they are at least 5! Three years old is just TOO young to start them. How many years of creative movement and pre-ballet can they handle? They are not ready for "real ballet" before 6 or 7, at the earliest, so starting them at 3 will cause burnout before they even arrive in a regular ballet class.

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I agree, particularly if it is the parent(s)' idea to enroll them in a class.

 

I struggled with this very issue when my daughter was three and had been nagging/pleading/begging to go to ballet class. Six months of continuos whining, however, prompted me to explore options for such a young child. I definitely thought 3 was waaay too young for any serious ballet, but I didn't want to squelch her interest. I most certainly would not have enrolled her in anything because I thought she should do it. I did enroll her in a creative movement type class at a local studio (which I also knew screamed "Dolly Dinkle"). It was basically a structured dress up party which allowed her to express herself through movement, and she had always had difficulty verbally expressing herself up to that point. It ran its course, and by 4 1/2 she had tired of it, which did not surprise me at all.

 

Two years later, at 6 1/2, she asked to enroll in a "real ballet" class at a company-affiliated school and loves it. I always have a concern when parents put children into activities because "it's the thing to do" or because the parent thinks it's "good for them" especially at such a young age. In our case, though, I do think that early experience was a good one for my daughter in that it did sustain her interest in dance. Would I do it with my younger daughter? No--she's a very different personality, and I would be afraid she'd burn out.

 

I would encourage the parent(s) in this case to be very cautious because I agree that, in most cases, three is just too young.

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I started nagging and whining at 4.

My mother had serious resistance power. I didn't get to start until 3rd grade. Pity that was 1/2 hour classes but satisfied me thru 5th grade. I didn't have the nerve to ask for the Tap my after school program offered as well. I didn't know it wasn't the real thing and my mom didn't likely know or care if it kept me happy/quiet.

I'd go for the parks and rec play classes rather than spend a lot of money. You can always transfer to a real school at age 6 if the childs interest persists.

Laschwen

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DD started "creative movement" classes when she was three at the same pre-pro studio where she "lives" to this day. She has never looked back. The first summer she cried when I didn't sign her up to take through the summer. I once asked the teachers if it was good for her to take year-round or would that cause "burn-out". Her teacher told me that if she was going to burn-out, it wouldn't matter how I monitored her class schedule. She either would or would not burn-out depending on how much she loved dance. If she did burn out, essentially, so what?? That would only matter if I wanted her to be a dancer when she grew up.

 

I chose to send her to the pre-pro school at that early age because I figured if she was going to take class, she may as well take it at the best-teaching facility I could afford. Besides, I had recommendations for the classes there. There were parks programs that were cheaper, but I figured that the atmosphere of the dance school was important, too.

 

There were also alot of performance schools and/or Dolly Dinkles I could have stumbled into and am glad I was lucky enough not to. I know a few dancers that started and stayed at competition schools, who are now not willing to change to a more technique-based program. Seems a shame, given the dancer's goals that might not be realized due to lesser training.

 

I did not start her in class because I intended that she become a dancer, but I did start her in class because I thought she might enjoy it. Twelve years later, I can say she certainly did. Her non-dd sister also took the creative movement class beginning at age three. She only did it for about a year and a half before switching interests to gymnastics.

 

If I had it to do over again, I would still start these two girls in the 3-yr old creative movement classes at the pre-pro studio. But that is these two daughters--another child may warrant a different approach.

 

But the reason to start a 3-year old in some type of "creative movement" class shouldn't be about getting a headstart on ballet, but more about involving the child in developing her body awareness and gaining control over it.

 

A Early Childhool educator I admired greatly taught me that certain "brain" activities are tied to physical accomplishments. The early childhood teachers at our school did work with 3-5 year olds with learning balance, right from left, skipping, etc.---all the things included in a creative movement class. She once told me that a child cannot learn to write until they can "cross" their midline--such as in walking heel-in-front-of-toe or preparing for a cartwheel. It wasn't as important that the feet came off the ground very high in the cartwheel as it was that the hands were placed across the mid-line and the torso rotated as such. I found it fascinating that I could see the correlation in the class between those that could do that physical mid-line crossing and those that couldn't with the children that could write and those that hadn't yet been able to "learn" that skill.

 

In addition, the early physical learning pays off in other ways. For example, if a child had an undiagnosed learning disability (which at age 3, usually hasn't presented itself), these creative movement classes actually help the child with coping brain pathways. These are critical years for brain processes to develop. If caught too late, it often is difficult to intervene.

 

For example, my non-dd and my nephew both have an auditory processing disability. When my nephew was 10 years old, he was diagnosed and had some specialized intervention. The therapist told my sister that the best thing for him would have been to have been involved in gymnastics/tumbling during the ages 3-5. That would have helped him significantly by training his brain in various alternative pathways. At 10, they told her there was only so much they could re-train, but that he would always have issues because they had lost a window of opportunity.

 

My non-dd, on the other hand, had been involved in gymnastics since age 4--which she wanted to try instead of dance. She, too, had the auditory processing disability, but when it was discovered at age 9, she was able to re-train to the point where she has virtually no remaining issues. The teachers/therapists told me it was because she had been in gymnastics at such a critical brain time.

 

So, although there is no real reason to put a 3-year old into a creative movement class for purposes of furthering a ballet career, there is reason to put a child that age into a program that is fun because it does benefit the development of both the brain and body.

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I don't think the parents are trying to push them into ballet. He said that the girls have ballet pictures up on their walls and dance around the house- which a lot of little girls do- and ask when they can start taking ballet lessons.

 

I talked to the father today and suggested that he might look into what the parks/rec programs have to offer and/or wait. He agreed, saying that most of the studios he looked up only had classes for kids ages 5 1/2 and up. He mentioned that they might be taking some class which incorporates tumbling and movement (that costs $80 a month for 1 class a week). Just trying to find something for them to do, I guess. The dad's a martial arts instructor so I don't he necessarily wanted to sign them up for something so structured (they are only 3, after all), but since his daughters expressed some interest... compared to me who never wanted or asked to take ballet (my mom wanted my sis and I to get out of the house and do something so she signed us up for piano and ballet. My sis hated both of them, I learned to like both of them...).

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I recently relocated to Los Angeles and would like to find a ballet school. I am an adult dancer at an advanced beginner level. I mainly dance for enjoyment/excercise. I live in the Studio City area and would love to find somethign near my home if at all possible. Any recommendations? Thanks!

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Not sure what's near you in Studio City, but once you get your bearings and don't mind driving "over the hill" -- Westside School of Ballet in Santa Monica has many adult basic beginining, beginning and intermediate classes. They were recently named by LA Magazine as the best ballet school in town.

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I know LA pretty well as I'm from here. I just don't know places. I've actually heard of school, though it would be a drive. If I can find something closer it would be easier as traffic in LA is not so easy. though if nothing else I can start there!

Thanks for the info.

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I know LA pretty well as I'm from here.  I just don't know places.  I've actually heard of school, though it would be a drive.  If I can find something closer it would be easier as traffic in LA is not so easy.  though if nothing else I can start there!

Thanks for the info.

 

Try Ana Chelselka

Performing Arts Center

Media Dance

Los Angeles Ballet Academy

Millenium

Burbank School of the Ballet

Madeline Clark Studios

 

There are lots of schools in the Valley

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perfect! thank you so much!

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I recently relocated to Los Angeles and would like to find a ballet school.  I am an adult dancer at an advanced beginner level.  I mainly dance for enjoyment/excercise.  I live in the Studio City area and would love to find somethign near my home if at all possible.  Any recommendations? Thanks!

 

I would try Anna Cheselka Dance Center in Studio City. The teachers are retired ABT, Joffrey and have a fabulous early Sat am class and Tues, Thurs, Sun am classes that are great!. You can also try Stefan Wenta at The Dancers Studio in LA off Pico, about 20 min from Studio City. He won the Lester Horton Lifetime Achievement award for teaching and is known worldwide. I would not recommend Westside Ballet.

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I actually took a class at Anna Cheselka last week and loved it! it's a great little studio and the teacher was great. I work on the other side of the hills so perhaps i'll check out the Dancer Studio once I start working!

Thanks for the recommendations!

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