Ballet Studio (credit: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Ballet is not only a classical art form, but a fantastic way to get a total body workout without hitting the gym. Practicing ballet works all the major muscle groups, as well as develops balance, coordination and rhythm. A regular dance practice can be fun, relaxing and challenging all at once, and is also an activity the whole family can get involved in. The East Bay is home to a wide variety of ballet studios, encompassing everything from performance-based classes to competition ones. Here are five of the area's best.
1988 Second St.
Livermore, CA 94550
The Livermore School of Dance is a multi-discipline dance school that opened in 2004. The school offers ballet lessons for ages two through adult, and for all levels of dancer from complete beginner to advanced. Dance instruction is performance-based, with a focus on safe execution of technique in a fun and structured environment. Monthly class tuition is competitively priced, and classes are offered Monday through Saturday.
39 California Ave., Suite 110
Pleasanton, CA 94566
Located in Pleasanton, the Vineyard Ballet Academy focuses on performance-based ballet. The family-friendly school is dedicated to providing instruction in proper technique within a nurturing and safe environment. Dancers enroll in classes for a full spring or fall semester, with drop-in classes available as a supplement. Creative movement classes are available for younger children, and pre-ballet through level four classes are offered for older children and adults. The school holds two recitals each year, one at the end of each semester.
1537 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94709
Berkeley's Van Der Zwaan Dance Studio is a mixed-discipline studio with a dual focus of competition and performance. Ballet classes are offered for ages three through adult, and for all levels of dancer from beginner through level five. Those looking for a more rigorous dance curriculum may also take pre-pointe classes, and a pointe class is available by invitation. Students have the opportunity to perform in both winter and spring recitals each year, and more advanced levels have a chance to dance in the Nutcracker recital or join the competition team.
22461 Foothill Blvd.
Hayward, CA 94541
Located in Hayward, Fusion Dance Project is a dance school offering instruction in a wide variety of dance disciplines ranging from hula and jazz to tap and ballet. A range of ballet classes are offered, specialized for everyone from toddlers through seniors. Students can progress from the pre-ballet level all the way through level four advanced instruction. Both performance and competition based programs are offered, and private lessons are available.
473 Hudson St.
Oakland, CA 94618
Just off of Hwy. 24 in Oakland, Danspace offers dance instruction to ages three and a half through adult using the Corvino approach. Instruction focuses on classical technique while emphasizing musicality, balance and coordination. Younger children will benefit from Serendipity classes that focus on the development of motor skills, spatial awareness, rhythm and coordination. Older children and adults may enroll in classes from pre-ballet through advanced pointe. Several opportunities for performance are available to students throughout the year.
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