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Ballet Schools in California - San Francisco Bay Area

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My apologies! I'll reiterate my advice to the OP to query on Berkeley Parents Network for more direct information from current OSA parents.

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  • 2 months later...
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Does anyone have information about Teens at Line, at Alonzo King Lines in San Francisco?  

There is plenty of information on this site about their summer program and a good amount about their various programs for college-age adults.  This is a different program just for teens ages 11-18.  It runs during the school year (there may be some summer classes too) and starts Sept 9th.  https://linesballet.org/education/teens-lines/

The program runs Saturdays and Sundays and many take it to supplement regular training.  They generally expect students to come both days but, if a student is training elsewhere, they are willing to allow a single day (for us, the commute would be a killer to come both days, as it's 1-1.5 hours drive each way).  It runs Sept 9, 2019-May 16, 2020.  It's not a drop in program but they are starting teen drop in classes Sept 9th, which may be on weekdays, so I'm not sure how that works.

There are 3 levels and they are not divided by age.  It appears that only level 3 (which requires 5 prior years of dance training) has pointe.  There is a placement class for newcomers on day one but everyone is accepted.

My daughter is 14 and coming home from Boston Ballet Newton tomorrow.  She already dances at two studios just to get a reasonable number of hours and they're both on break.  I called to ask if younger teens can take their drop in classes (nope, they're for ages 16+) and by sheer chance got the director of the teen program when I pushed the prompt for the operator.

I'm not sure it's worth driving up to 3 hours for a 1.5 hour class (plus an hour of contemporary on Saturdays) but we're both unhappy with DD's local training options and looking into the overall possibilities.  I'd like to hear more from anyone else with experience in this program.

The program also includes master classes and some workshops, and those might be a good option for us, given the distance.  Feedback on those is welcome. Thanks!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello. My DD (13 yo) has done teens@LINES intermediate (now Level 2) for two years. She was at a recreational studio and wanted more hours to train and we loved the Alonzo King philosophy as well as the company so we thought it was so neat when we found the program. 

The instructors are amazing and the studios are beautiful. The new Dance Center Manager (of 1 year) who also manages the teens program is from SF Ballet School, so has great experience with youth programs. She cares about each student and has wonderful energy and has been changing/improving the program thoughtfully (the previous director was wonderful as well though). I am sure you will observe all this in the final sharing at the end of the session. My DD has learned so much there and would continue if her schedule allowed it. 

There seemed to be a bit of a range in the level of students in terms of passion and skill level but this is to be expected in a community program and was not an issue.  Some attend top SIs, so there are beautiful and dedicated dancers that my DD looked up to. 

As for masterclasses, they look great, but unfortunately my DD could never free up the entire day in the past (they used to run all day), but it looks like they are shorter now, so she may try to attend this year. 

The slight problem we experienced last year was that classes were occasionally canceled, my DD being the only student to show up, which she would find out after arriving at the studio. My DD also had to miss classes for sure (for auditions and school related commitments) but we would always try to email in advance. I think the program is growing (Int was especially a small class, perhaps 6-7 students. Adv and Beg were larger classes so may not have had this problem) and they are setting expectations about attendance and notifying absences in advance so I think this will be better. But I wanted to let you know since your commute is long. 

The only not so positive thing to say about it is the neighborhood (mission/tenderloin) but the building has 1-2 security guards/elevator operators, so we never felt unsafe.

All in all, it was a wonderful program for my DD for what she needed and I have high hopes that it will only get better and better! 

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  • 3 months later...

This thread is for regular year ballet schools in the San Francisco area.  It has nothing to do with summer intensives. 

Some off-topic posts have been removed. 

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My first hand information is as follows: Any dancer at OSA that is pursuing ballet as their primary interest might be okay for the middle school years but 0 percent of them ( although they try)will not be able to continue in HS. There are currently 2 boys in HS attending the school,  enrolled in pre pro ballet ( one of them mine)and are NOT attending an emphasis. There are many more stories of this nature, but I'll stick to first hand. More than a big personality.  Save yourself the drama and the trouble. Just look another direction if ballet is the pursuit.

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Thank you for firsthand candid feedback bout OSA.. We went with CocoSpa.  Well first hand experience, CocoSpa isn’t exactly great for academics, but we like the dance department. My student is happy there socially and seems to like the  instructors. Katharine Korloff is the main dance instructor and she is classically trained in ballet.they have other styles like contemporary too and they have guest teachers.   My DK  supplements ballet training with a new ballet school called Diablo Ballet School. They have an affiliated company wand the company teachers teach the classes.  

Edited by dancemaven
Removed unnecessary full quote of immediately preceding post.
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San Francisco Academy of Ballet was recommended on this thread.  I think it’s worth checking out as a year round option. 

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Diablo Ballet School in Pleasant Hill,  from  firsthand experience:  it’s a new school. It used to be affiliated with Walnut Creek Parks and Recreation but they decided to open their own school  in Pleasant Hill. Yes, Ray Tilton  is there and and yes,  he is very professional and treats everyone with respect.  He has been there for a few years, so no, he isn’t new there. They have a lot of nice teachers and they all are company members. No drama, no favoritism.  Just professional teaching by professional level and professional minded dancers . The company goes out to to community schools and the business community. Our DK has made a lot of improvement and friends. 

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  • 1 year later...

We are moving to SF in the fall and are looking for a pre pro school for my daughter . She has trained seriously under a principal dancer from Boston ballet  for the past 8 years and wants to pursue a professional career . Can anyone recommend a school in the city that has a strong pre pro program that occurs after schooL ? We want her to continue highschool in a brick and mortar school. I know sf ballet is all day once you are in level 7 or 8 so that would likely be not an option for us . We are willing to consider Marin county and further down the peninsula as well for a great program . Thanks in advance for any advice! 

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We looked for my DD 1.5 years ago. She attended a few trial/placement classes and we talked to other families at various schools and a former professional/private instructor who knows many of these schools through students and instructors. 

In SF, I would check out Dance Training Center and City Ballet (FYI, they are currently both at temporary locations). We also think the owner/instructor of Terpsichola Ballet School is wonderful--she is trying to build out a serious vaganova pre-pro program. Some may add Westlake School for the Performing Arts and Academy of Ballet to the list. 

In Marin, there is Marin Dance Theatre, and in the south, we liked Menlo Park Academy of Dance and Bayer Ballet.

It must be hard looking during this pandemic. Good luck. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

If looking for Balanchine training in the Bay Area, I recommend Contra Costa Ballet in Walnut Creek. Charles Anderson danced with NYCB and teaches group and private classes and really great with teaching Balanchine. He has had students go on to PNB and SAB. 

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