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Ballet Schools in California - San Francisco Bay Area

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Can anyone give me some current feedback on the schools in the SF Area -specifically the classes for young kids? I am interested potentially in SF Ballet, City Ballet, Westlake School of Performing Arts and Academy of Ballet -and any others that I may not know of. I am looking for a school for my daughter to start at.


Of course it doesn't have to be a pre-pro school at this stage but this seemed like a good thread to ask in:)

Edited by gymdancemom
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  • 6 months later...
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Does any one have some current recommendations for good schools in the North Bay area? The politics at my DD's current school are breaking her spirit and I think it is time for a change...

Which part of the North Bay?


Marin School of Ballet- San Rafael

Napa Regional Dance-Napa

Ligioso Ballet in Benicia- Cecchetti Method

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  • 10 months later...

Our local ballet company recently shut down. Although there is talk of the affiliated school continuing on its own, there is no guarantee this will happen. Our daughter is (was?) in pre-ballet there and absolutely loves to dance.


In the event that the school is unable to continue, should we make the hour drive to San Francisco to enroll her in pre-ballet at SFB, knowing that she would have to audition either way at age 8 and might not make it in? Are there any excellent ballet schools closer to the South Bay that we should consider for this age/level? We are recent transplants, so I don't know the area very well yet. Thank you!

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How old is your child? If she is very young, it is not worth the drive, and you would not be able to sign her up until fall session anyway.


If she is under 6 or younger, there are many solid options in the south bay, and pre-ballet classes are a dime a dozen. They don't learn real technique in pre ballet classes so as long as she is having fun, I would pick something that is near to where you live and will allow her to start this semester.

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San Jose Dance Theatre (which is actually in Santa Clara near the airport) offers classes for pre-ballet through open adult. They can be a little pricey and the studios are somewhat unimpressive, but the floors are sprung, the instructors are good (at least at the upper levels, which is what I am familiar with), and they have a large Nutcracker (with SF Ballet guest dancers) that they perform every year at the same large venue the recently folded company to which you referred performed. I know several dancers who used to be at the company affiliated school who are now at SJDT.


It is my understanding that they will also be starting a daytime pre-pro division in the fall that will cater to home-/online schooled dancers.

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  • 5 months later...

Thank you all! Just wanted to come back and update. DD's ballet school is continuing to operate without the company and offers both recreational and pre-professional tracks. Everything is the same - the building, the teachers, etc., and they're putting on their own Nutcracker this year with the school's studio company, so it all worked out! :clapping:

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I am also on the hunt for a pre-professional program that would accept a 20 year old. I live in San Jose but will be taking the semester off for ballet and am willing to commute. I would prefer a program that has 20+ hours of dancing per week. Thanks!

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thuanphung, check out The New Ballet School in Downtown San Jose (40 North 1st St). They have a pre-professional Studio Company that has the number of hours you're looking for, as well as many advanced classes. Hope this helps!

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Unfortunately, it seems the New Ballet School does not take older folks in any other programs except the professional senior program (which I am definitely not ready for)

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thuanphung, to get 20 hours of ballet, you might need to cobble together a schedule from several schools. Those I know of that have classes for older students are Zohar in Palo Alto and San Jose Dance Theatre. Both teach adult students and both offer performing opportunities, but I think both top out at about 10 hours/week for their adult classes. SJDT also has upper level student classes that you might be able to take - I don't think they top out at age 18. I suggest calling and talking to the AD. In addition to the AD, SJDT has former Ballet San Jose dancers teaching many of the upper level classes.


Additionally, have you looked at Lines in SF?

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  • 8 months later...

Instead of the [LINES Ballet] summer intensive, does anyone know about their Saturday classes? DS 17yo is looking to try a few of them: Beginning Horton, Int/Adv Contemporary Jazz, Intermediate Contemporary. We wonder what age group of students, class sizes, and level.

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Well, open classes will have a variety of ages - from teens to well, dancers possibly in their 70's!  I know my cousin takes classes there from time to time and she's in her 70's.

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Thank you, Lady Elle! You are right on! He took a class on Saturday and in a class of 15, 50% men. He was probably the younger ones with two other girls around his age. The oldest he claimed was old - bald and has a pop-belly! LOL - teenager's description of old, of course!

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Cmalltheway, the drop in classes there tend to vary based on the teacher and the class time. Some of their classes will have local current professionals (with names we may recognize) and will also have what my kids call "old ladies taking dance". Every class I've seen has people aged 15 - 50, but generally the teachers do a decent job of gearing the class so that everyone will get something out of it.  He may also want to try some of the ODC classes as well.....

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