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Ballet Schools in California - San Francisco Bay Area

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Thank you, lemlemish! It's not easy trying to find a mixture of classes to expose our dancers to a variety of classes and preparing them for auditions

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I'm wondering if anyone knows any Balanchine school or teacher in Bay area? My family will be moving to San Mateo area, so I have to look for a pre-pro school to continue my training. Thank you! 

Happy New Year! : ) 

Edited by e_bunny
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e_bunny, there is a teacher named Pierre Vilanoba in San Francisco. He used to dance with the San Francisco Ballet and Paris Opera and can teach Balanchine. On a broader note, if you are looking for a pre-pro studio near San Mateo, my son attends a wonderful studio called Bravissimo. It's in Belmont which is just south of San Mateo. It's Cuban Vaganova rather than Balanchine, but the teaching is wonderful. 

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Thank you! I looked up “Pierre Vilanoba” and it seems that he has his own private company that offers coaching. Couldn’t find more details online but I will email the company and see if I can get more information.

I love Cuban style - that’s where I started! We will be traveling up to see some schools and hopefully, I have the chance to meet with the teacher and even try a class! Thanks again for the info since I’m a bit anxious about this sudden move. 

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e_bunny, feel free to message me before you come. The teachers at Bravissimo are terrific, and my son has thrived there! As far as Pierre goes, their website is Coda Consulting. He does private lesson and also teaches at a ballet school in Marin. Talk to his wife, Regina. She does all of the scheduling.

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e_bunny, welcome to the bay area!

Finding a new school also depends on how far you/your family are willing to travel. My DS trains at the New Ballet School in San Jose - about 40 mins without traffic from where we live. He has visited various ballet schools around the greater bay area. Key consideration point for us was getting enough training by male teachers as well as having other male dancers to train together, not to mention teachers our kids liked.

Since you can't contact us directly, perhaps have your parents create an account and reach out to us with questions.

You are right on about visiting various schools and take classes before deciding. Best wishes on your search for a new ballet home! 

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I’m sure others in or moving to the Bay Area would appreciate having the first hand information shared on the Board. 😉🙂

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Pierre also teaches occasionally at Pascale Leroy's school in SF (Pascale was a teacher at SFB school for years). He just finished a winter session intensive at the school.

For exclusively male classes, you might want to also look into City Ballet School of SF. Nikolai Kabaniev has a great boys/men's program there with male only classes, partnering, contemporary, stretch, etc. It's Vaganova, though, not Balanchine but Nikolai is incredibly dedicated to his dancers and is a gifted teacher.


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Whoops! Sorry dancemaven! I totally didn't make the connection that this was the student, not the parent. I'll be more careful! :)

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For my son, male training has much to do with connections between teacher and student. He and Nikolai did not see eye to eye. Zori from The Academy of Ballet was slightly better for him. However at the end, New Ballet School is the one he chose and has trained him extensively from YAGP to auditions. NBS has multiple male classes (different age groups) as well as partnering classes (level based). 

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Pierre Vila Noba also teaches at Marin Dance Theatre, just north in Marin county.  My son goes there with some other boys, and takes boys classes with Pierre, as well as combined classes.   Pierre also gives privates and has been immensely helpful to my DS.  Their website does not show the boys program, so don't be fooled when you check them out. It depends where you live, but  if you are north bay, that is an option.

I highly recommend "the French Sessions" that Pierre Vila Noba and Pascale Leroy have each winter and summer.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

Nikolai only is committed to students who HE thinks has any potential   We know of one who he use to degrade and that student got tired of his methods and now is in the upper division at SFBS  

There is also  Bay Pointe in South San Francisco, I haven't heard much about it other than it is a vaganova based school.  

I agree with the comments about Pierre in Marin Dance Theatre and Pascal LeRoy.  Fabulous teacher from what I have seen.  And gives wonderful alignment corrections and is tough but not demeaning, but rather get gives constructive criticisms.   He was a former principal at SFB   

There is also Charles Anderson at Contra Costa Ballet in Walnut Creek. Fabulous and challenging and he danced professionally in NYC. 

Edited by pmom
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  • 4 weeks later...

We found a gem of a teacher, Vincent Cowart, at The Beat in Berkeley.   He teaches a floor bar on Friday at 2:15.    He was one of the first African American principals for the Oakland Ballet.   He is one of the kept  best secrets.   Hurry and study with him, before he moves to Nashville in the summer.    

Another male instructor who offers Balanchine is Raymond Tilton, former SFB dancer,  at Berkeley City Ballet, and he also teaches for Diablo Ballet in Walnut Creek and Napa Valley Regional Dance.  

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We have a bit of a conundrum as far as Bay Area dancing now as well. We've moved up the Peninsula (don't want to say our exact city but it's about halfway between SF and SJ) and now it's just not feasible at all for us to commute into San Jose on weekdays. My daughter doesn't get out of school until almost 4pm and there's no way we can make it to downtown SJ to her old school by 5 or so for evening classes. The freeway is just getting worse and worse. Commuting on weeknights into San Francisco is just as bad if not worse. So now we're looking at changing schools and finding something closer to home. You would think there would be more options in this area. A performing arts school nearby that I was looking at just had a scandal that was in the news, so that one's out. I'm stressing a bit for next year. There's a small Vaganova-based school nearby that's had some YAGP regional top 12 placements, so we may give that one a try.

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