Looking for a way to channel your child’s boundless energy? Dance classes are a great alternative to team sports, especially for younger children, and no age is too early to begin. Babies can sway to a rhythm even before they can walk, and children as young as two or three can benefit from age-appropriate dance classes. Here are some of the best studios around the Bay Area that will nurture your child’s love of creativity, music, and movement.

Registration is now open for ODC School’s 2015-2016 Session!
Photo: ODC Dance

San Francisco

ODC Dance Commons
Located in the heart of the Mission District, ODC offers ballet, hip hop, contemporary and more to children ages 2 through 18. Beyond classes, ODC connects kids with ODC/Dance, a world-class modern dance company; ODC Theater, a presenter of cutting-edge dance, theater and music; the Rhythm and Motion Dance Program, which partners with the ODC School to offer multicultural dance and performance opportunities.

ODC Dance Commons
351 Shotwell St.
San Francisco, Ca
415-549-8519
Online: ODCdance.org

Jamaroo Kids
This cozy San Francisco studio offers the perfect beginning dance class for young kids. Designed to introduce little ones to the basics of dance, the class explores different styles of dance and music from around the world. Students build their dance repertoire by learning steps as a group, and develop their own creativity during free dance time.

388 4th Ave.
San Francisco, CA
415-614-2001
Online: jamarookids.com

Lynn Douthit School of Dance
Lynn Douthit has taught generations of dancers; her school has been a part of the San Francisco dance scene for over 35 years. The school offers Combination Dance Classes consisting of Tap, Tumbling and Jazz dance for Preschool through Teen and Adult Tap.

399 San Fernando Way
San Francisco, CA 94127
650-291-5637
Online: www.sfdanceschool.com

JCCSF Dance School
With more than 30 classes per week, JCCSF offers instruction for toddlers through teens. Classes include pre-ballet; broadway bound; hip hop, tap and tumble; jazz/lyrical, and more. The studio offers both group and private classes. The organization’s philosophy to teaching focuses on helping kids learn social awareness through cooperation and interaction with others.

Jewish Community Center of San Francisco Dance School
3200 California St.
San Francisco, Ca
415-292-1200
Online: JCCSF.org

ballet photo: Ana Picazo
Photo: Ana Picazo

Marin County

Marin Ballet
This is the school for budding ballerinas in the North Bay. Pre-ballet classes start at age 3, and classical ballet classes in the Vaganova tradition start at age 7. All students have the opportunity to participate in the annual spring recital, and students 7 and up can participate in the annual Nutracker ballet.

100 Elm Street
San Rafael, Ca
415-453-6705
Online: marinballet.org

Tutu School
North Bay moms swear by Tutu school, a girly, adorable studio at the Marin Country Mart. Classes focus on the joy of dance, preparing younger children, from 18 months to 8 years, for a more disciplined study when they’re older and ready. Boys are welcome, too! Tutus are not required but welcome. Also check out Tutu School locations in San Francisco, Redwood City, and Walnut Creek.

Tutu School Larkspur
2201 Larkspur Landing Circle
Larkspur, Ca
415-419-5610
Online: tutuschoollarkspur.com

Roco Dance
Roco Dance studio offers dance classes for kids age 4 through 18 in a wide variety of disciplines including Hip Hop (look for classes taught by the amazing Micaya and others), break dancing, Brazilian fusion, modern, contemporary, aerial (!), jazz, ballet, and pointe.

Also check out the schedule for their Fairfax location.

Roco Mill Valley
237 Shoreline Hwy.
Mill Valley, Ca
415-388-6786
Online: Rocodance.com

Marin Dance Theater
MDT trains little dancers starting at age 3, with plenty of performance opportunities. The studio focuses on technique as well as dancer health—podiatrists make bi-monthly visits to the studio, and sports medicine consultations are provided for free to students. Be sure to check the dress and attendance policies before signing your little one up!

Marin Dance Theater
1 Saint Vincents Dr.
San Rafael, Ca
415-499-8891
Online: MDT.org

Los Cenzontles Dance Academy
Photo: Los Cenzontles Dance Academy

East Bay

Los Cenzontles Mexican Arts Center
Introduce your little one to the rich cultural dance traditions of Mexico at Los Cenzontles. They offer dance classes in a variety of Mexican and Latin styles to all ages. Children’s movement and dance classes start at age 4, while children ages 7 and up can sign up to learn Zapateado Jarocho or a combination of Banda, Cumbia, and Merengue.

13108 San Pablo Ave
San Pablo, CA 94805
510-233-8015
Online: loscenzontles.com

Tiffany’s Dance Academy
Tiffany’s specializes in Classical Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical and Hip-Hop for dancers of all ages. They have eight studio locations around the Bay Area — in the East Bay, two in the South Bay, and one on the Peninsula — and countless fans. Tiffany’s comprehensive dance program and professional instructors have won them multiple Bay Area Parent Family Favorite awards over the years.

37439 Fremont Blvd
Fremont, CA 94536
510-793-5299
Click here for more locations 
Online: www.tiffanydance.com

Kids ‘N Dance
When confronted with rigid and exacting reality of ballet classes, many girls end up dropping out of ballet, despite their ballerina dreams. So Kris Mueller has created Kids ‘N Dance to focuses on fun and creativity while still teaching the basics. Students from 18 months to 16-years-old are welcome and the classes range from pre-ballet to ballet/modern to tap and musicials. The studio also offers gymnastics. Also check out their location at 3840 Macarthur Blvd. in Oakland.

Kids ‘N Dance Lafayette Studio
3369 Mt. Diablo
Lafayette, Ca
925-284-7388
Online: Kidsndance.com

Danspace
Classes at this Rockridge studio are small, gently structured, and focus on music and age-appropriate movement. Classes begin at 3.5 years old and are focused on fun and developing a love of dance until age 8, when formal dance training begins. A class called “serendipity” helps children from 3.5 to 6 develop basic motor skills, coordination, flexibility, rhythm, and spacial awareness using sories, games, props, and a wide variety of music. Other classes include pre-ballet, ballet, pointe, modern jazz, choreography and more.

Danspace
473 Hudson St.
Oakland, Ca
510-420-0920
Online: Danspace.com

Van Der Zwaan Dance Studio
From ballet to musical theater to jazz, tap and hip hop—the best thing about this studio is its founder and head teacher, Paula, who is known for capturing both the attention and imagination of even the youngest dancers. Combining technique with fun, one mom called their classes “exactly what the 3–5 set looks for in a dance class: fun, movement, leotards and skirts, music, and glitter at the end of class.”

1537 & 1539 Shattuck Ave. 
Berkeley, Ca
510-717-3872
Online: zwaandance.com

Principal Creative
Photo: Principal Creative and Performing Arts

Peninsula

Peninsula Ballet Theater
Instructors at this San Mateo studio will help place your child in the right class based on his or her abilities, not strictly by age alone. Tots ballet starts at age 3, and other classes include jazz/lyrical, hip hop, tap and multiple levels of ballet for kids up to age 12.

1880 S Grant St.
San Mateo, Ca
650-342-3262
Online: Peninsulaballet.org

Principal Creative and Performing Arts
Whether your little dancer likes to tiptoe through the tulips or bop to the beat, Principal Creative and Performing Arts has a class that’s perfect for him or her. They offer classes in a variety of styles, including ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, capoeira, musical theatre, Irish Ceili, hula, and hop hop. Classes start at age 5; for kids under 5, their Small Fry Dance Club offers classes at select preschools around the Bay Area.

1528 S. El Camino Real Ste 208
San Mateo, CA 94402
650-393-5593
Online: www.principalarts.com

Kirkpatrick’s School of Dance
Peninsula families have been sending their young dancers to Kirpatrick’s since 1956; many of the teachers at Kirkpatrick’s began their training there. Dance styles offered include ballet, tap, hip-hop, modern, and jazz. Classes are offered for children as young as 3.

1701 Leslie St # 100
San Mateo, CA 94402
650-525-1900
Online: kirkpatricksdance.com

Indian Fusion Dance Academy
Photo: Indian Fusion Dance Academy

South Bay

Indian-Fusion Dance Academy
If your child loves to dance but ballet isn’t his or her style, sign them up for a high energy Bollywood class! Indian-Fusion Dance Academy (IFDA) offers Bollywood classes for all ages and levels. No experience is necessary for beginner classes, just a lot of energy and enthusiasm. In addition to Bollywood, the school offers classical, folk, Bhangra, hip hop fusion, and yoga classes.

3872 Vista Point CT
San Jose CA 95148
408-238-4034
Online: indian-fusiondance.com

Dance Attack
Dance Attack offers dance classes for all ages, styles, and levels. Tots as young as 2.5 can join Dance Attack’s Creative Movement class, a combo ballet-jazz-tap-class. Combo classes continue through age 6, at which point classes split into separate styles, including ballet, hip hop, jazz, tap, and tumbling.

120 Carroll St.
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
408.245.5432
Online: danceattackstudios.com

Dance Academy USA
The Dance Academy USA studio offers classes including hip hop, break dancing, lyrical, jazz, tap and ballet. This massive facility has seven rooms, 35 instructors and more than 200 classes per month for kids age two and older. For newborns up to 13 months, check out their “Baby Sensory” classes which encourage brain development through play.

Dance Academy USA
21269 Stevens Creek Blvd., Suite 618
Cupertino, Ca
408-257-3211
Online: Danceacademyusa.com

Does your little dancer have a favorite class in the Bay Area? Tell us about it in the comments below!\

–Ana Picazo, Kristen Philipkoski and Erin Feher