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I have some experience with this school (though not primarily with the dance department). Here is the link for the combined dance, theater, performance department.




What I do know first hand is that the academics at ucberkeley are truly excellent. The only objection might be the large size of the undergraduate student body. This is the campus (and a very beautiful one) of the school many academics believe is the single best public university in the US or possibly on the entire planet. In addition, once a student has matriculated, a liberal stop out policy allows prolonged leave of absence with a readmit (no reapplication required) after many years (possibly of professional dancing).


The school does not have a high level ballet program itself, although their modern offerings are more impressive. What is available is a great array of bay area local classes at an advanced level with many options. Some of these choices are listed on this website:




I would especially recommend Berkeley Ballet Theatre:




in easy walking distance from campus and leaning toward Balanchine style.


Also in Berkeley itself (actually the Berkeley/Oakland border, but an uncomplicated bus ride or a more ambitious walk):




at the Shawl Anderson studio primarily known for modern, but also offering good open adult ballet as well as jazz.


In addition, one of the many hidden gems you just have to know about (not listed on bay dance), the Ballet Studio in San Francisco:




Check the faculties at these schools and you will be very pleasantly surprised.


Although these are mostly open adult classes, some, such as the Academy of Ballet (see bay dance) might accommodate college age students in their pre-pro classes. In addition, the excellent teachers in many of these open adult classes do take an interest in regular (frequent) students. At the San Francisco Dance Center (again look on bay dance), you can take open class that may include Lines Ballet company members (see also Lines/BFA Dominican University program described here on BT4D)—a real treat, and an inspiration.


There are too many studios offering good class for me to list them all here; all those mentioned are accessible by public transportation. Most of the modern schools like ODC also offer excellent ballet classes.


I hope I am not violating the advertising rules. Please edit if necessary. That is not my intention. What I am trying to suggest is the University of California campus offers superlative academics in an area with an array of open classes comparable to those offered in New York City.


Heads Up :o Deadlines are early and imminent. The end of November, I think:




Good luck to all.


PS Please note: Some of these San Francisco studios are in somewhat or down right sketchy areas. :wub: Okay by day for students (college age) with urban savvy. Not recommended by this parent for students alone at night . Use discretion and common sense.

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  • 11 months later...

Hi, I'm not new to Berkeley, but I haven't really explored SF. What areas of SF are considered sketchy at night? I'm looking into joining a preprofessional program there- maybe Academy of Ballet, if you know anything about that program.


I'd also like to add that if people who want to attend Berkeley don't want to travel all the way to San Francisco for classes they can also check out (besides the Berkeley studios you listed) Walnut Creek for some great classes. Contra Costa Ballet has a good reputation, though I've never personally been there myself.

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  • 1 month later...

Sorry for the delayed response hailin.


You are 100% right about Contra Costa Ballet. They offer excellent technical training and a fairly short walk from the Walnut Creek Bart station.


As far as 'sketchy' areas in San Francisco, I was simply giving my opinions as a somewhat conservative parent (better to be safe than sorry school) who also recognizes different folks come from different backgrounds and levels of urban savvy.


The Academy of Ballet also offers excellent training as well as very convenient Muni/Bart connections (if these are combined). If you drive, parkng close can be difficult, and I would recommend using a buddy system when walking at night, but I always recommend this for young women travelling in the dark when ever possible.


As stated in my previous post, high among my personal favorites remains The Ballet Studio. You can see a video interview with the school director on the Cal Performances website as he discusses his experiences with Twyla Tharp on the video links section of the program notes.




I should also update the information about taking class at San Francisco Dance Center with Lines Company members as this policy has changed since my last post. Please double check with their front desk to find out the new policies.




I wish you the best of luck as you explore the many rich dance opportunities in the area.

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  • 2 years later...

I am a ballerina and I was thinking of going to college in California.


I like the looks of University of California-Berkley as a school. But I don't know much about their dance program. Has anyone had any experience with it or any info about it?



Any info would be GREATLY appreciated.




Edited by Prima*Ballerina
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Thank you everyone for your replies.


Does UCB have a dance major? Or would i just need to go to school there and then dance at a local studio?

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Abby, read the first part of the first post again. She states that it is not a high level ballet program, and one would need to supplement with training at other schools. There is a dance dept., so I assume there is a dance major. However, it seems to be stronger in modern.

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