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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ballet Schools in California - San Francisco Bay Area

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The South Bay is the San Jose area. Traffic is unpredictable, but normally is under an hour away. Ballet San Jose accepts post grads. One of their older SI students this past summer is a trainee now.

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San Jose is more then one hour away if you need public transport. look into East Bay since the BART covers that area. There is a good school in Mountain View (pacificballet.org), and they have adult drop-in classes but you would be stucked with transportation

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I have been taking adult classes at Berkeley Ballet Theater and enjoy them very much, but am looking for a pre-professional program so that I can have more pointe work/partnering.


I would love to go to San Jose to take class, but I think that with public transportation it would take about 2 hours to reach. I will look into the Mountain View school, however. Hopefully it has a BART stop.


I'm hoping to hear more suggestions! Thanks for all of the suggestions so far- I really appreciate it!

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Pacific Ballet offers an outstanding pre-pro program, but it is geared toward children and teens. The adult classes may not be at a high enough level for you, although the faculty is excellent.


BSJ is literally right on the light rail system in downtown San Jose, if this helps.

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I was going to mention BBT, but you already study there! I think it is a very good school. Sally Streets, Director Emerita, danced with NYC Ballet and is Kyra Nichols mother....

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Yes, I agree that BBT is great- but I'm too old for their pre-pro program, which is sad because it would definitely be the most convenient to attend. I looked up the public transportation I would have to take to reach BSJ and learned that it would take 2 hours and 15 min to get there by train/bus. That would be a 4.5 hour total commute and that is definitely too much =(


Any other suggestions? I know I'm too old for City Ballet School in SF and I visited Academy of Ballet in SF and it was alright, but the students didn't seem overly friendly, with me, with each other or with the teacher, and the facilities weren't quite as inviting and warm as BBT (as an architecture major environment is a big deal to me... haha). Plus there was no pianist. I'm probably just spoiled, but I do like having an accompanist in class. Any thoughts? I might be completely wrong on my first impression, but the way I see it- if I'm traveling an hour/day to reach a school, I want it to be really worth it!


I'm planning on visiting SF Conservatory of Dance this Monday. It seems like a good program, but I've always enjoyed having a good balance of classical and contemporary and SFCD definitely is not classical. This is so difficult!

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I would highly recommend Contra Costa Ballet School. I do notice that their program which more closely fits what you are seeking has the upper age requirement of nineteen. I know the directors and highly respect them. The faculty is very good, too.




About your observation of the Academy of Ballet on Market Street...In my post on the old thread (which you might not have read), as far as "architecture", this is my favorite San Francisco studio. I grew up in SF and know the history well. This studio may seem "funky", but it is steeped in rich history. It began its life as a ballroom/dance hall during WWII. During the 60s, all the major international companies rehearsed in this space. Ulanova, Plisetskaya, Fracci, Bruhn, Nureyev, among many other famous dancers have all taken class and rehearsed in that studio. Alan Howard, of Ballet Russe fame, was the director of the Academy of Ballet during these years and through the 70s. He was my teacher. Richard Gibson, who is the director now with Zory Karah, was also my teacher. They are excellent! I have sent many of my students to experience a summer program to the Academy of Ballet. It was a wonderful experience for all of them. So, give it a second look...

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That sounds promising- I'm sure I was just being too quick to judge about the Academy of Ballet- even though I was busy checking out the environment, I did notice that the advanced students there seemed talented.


Would Contra Costa be willing to take me even if I'm older? I think I'll email to inquire. Thanks for the advice! It is would be more convenient to arrive in Walnut Creek vs. San Jose.

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I second Gina Ness's opinion about Academy of Ballet. My daughter will be returning to the Bay Area next fall and is hoping to take classes there as well. She will be looking for a new studio so I appreciate you posting whatever outcome you find.It seems to be a challenging need- preprofessional and young adult niche. College is in her plans so finding classes that fit her schedule will be a challenge. Good luck in your search and keep us posted.

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Contra Costa Ballet replied that the student division is generally for younger students, but suggested I take class in their adult division. Eh...


I'm heading to take a class at the SF Conservatory of Dance on Monday. I'll update when I find out more about whether or not it's the school for me. The students do seem to range up into the older ages there so hopefully it'll be more welcoming to old kids like myself.


Also, as a side note- the area around Academy of Ballet seemed relatively populated and therefore girl-friendly when I left at 6:30 in the evening, but does anyone know about the safety of the area by Market St and Church St in SF as the evening progresses? I'd be taking the BART back alone and I want to be smart about things.

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I visited the SF Conservatory of Dance this morning- and while I enjoyed the class I took very much (the studio was very nice, the pianist was great and Summer Lee Rhatigan, who taught, was wonderful as well) the trip there was terrible. I got lost numerous times as I went from bus, to BART (subway) to bus, with much walking in between and after. I'd love it if only that hour and fifteen minute trip wasn't so stressful...


We'll see what happens. It also depends on whether or not they accept me into their program and how much their program costs- since I'm a college kid I have to work to afford ballet classes- so I'm hoping for the best. The Academy of Ballet is always still an option, but it's about the same trip as SFCD, just in a slightly different direction. I thought I would be able to handle it, but now that I think about it- a trip like that every day might be taxing on my schoolwork and I. Maybe I just need to toughen up.


Are there any new suggestions?

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Did you check out the open classes at Lines Ballet? They are challanging, have a pianist and have classes throughout the day for different levels.

My dd takes the advanced when she is home. The advanced classes are many times scattered with SFB dancers, when on break and Lines Ballet dancers.

Great option.

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  • 1 year later...



DD, now 13, just got back from ABT New York. She loved it there but also discovered that the training at her studio has been pretty second rate. We kind of knew that already but its the best our area has to offer. She's still not old enough for a residency program and is worried that if she continues at her current studio things will only get worse. Basically everything she was told is good technique at ABT is opposite to what she is told at her own studio ( probably not everything, she is a teen, but enough for her to know things are not good there). She feels she has improved and doesn't want to go back to the way she was before. Which means switching studios.


She would like to find an ABT certified teacher. We already know there aren't any where we are so are looking at the San Francisco Bay area. Does anyone know? I contacted ABT to ask for a list but so far no one has gotten back to me. Alternatively, she would like to study Chechetti ( sp?). There is one school in our area but I have been told it is not a good school. So does anyone know of a school in the Bay Area. It needs to be more on the East Bay side. We can't travel out to Marin or Santa Cruz.


Thank you in advance for any help ypu can give.

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