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Also see Dance Classes for Preschoolers for more reviews.
Hello, I have an active 3-year-old daughter who is currently enrolled in 45-min of ballet/tap each week, but we are looking for something different once this semester is up, with more imaginative play instead of copying ''moves'' by the teacher. Has anybody tried Kids N Dance for their classes or their birthday parties? Thanks in advance for your advice. MommyToActiveCreative3YO
The younger dance classes are very play-based and fueled by imagination. Each dance has a theme and a story that goes with it and most times there are simple, but fun costumes. They learn basic dance moves in a fun way and definitely do not get bored. My daughters loved going and they always looked forward to class. When we took the classes that were half gymnastic and half ballet, my daughters were always disappointed when gymnastics time was over because they enjoyed playing on the equipment so much. Wearing a pretty ballet outfit and having their own shoes was also a high point. (Although shoes weren't usually necessary or could be borrowed.) For the younger kids classes, they usually have many of the same class running during a week so it was easy to make-up a missed class. We started with a 4 class pass in the beginning rather than committing to the whole class to see if our daughter liked it. We have always had great teachers; they genuinely seemed to enjoy working with the kids.
My daughters are now really into the theatre classes. They started at 5. There are 3 levels of classes as the kids get older. The younger kid's plays are cute and the older kid's plays are amazing. I am always surprised at how such a professional production can be pulled off in such a short period of time.
The summer camps are also a nice option too to try; there are one week long classes for a few hours a day with many themes. For a bit older kids, they have week long theatre camps. Part of the day is play rehearsal and the afternoon is swimming or an outing. I think it is a great combo and the kids get to really know each other which helps them do a better job in the play. And the final play performance on Friday is amazing!
My older daughter at 5 loved the classes so much we had a birthday party there. It was so easy; we got to pick the dances (different themes - fairies, princess, charcters, etc.), and a teacher led them through the dances and costume changes while the parents relaxed. Then we brought in dessert and snacks. The attendees had fun and I had to do very little - a win-win combination. Renata
Re: Summer camp recommendations for 2nd grader
For a full day camp with aftercare til 6:00 consider a musical theater camp at Kids n Dance. The do a whole production in one week. Rehearsals are first, free time on gym equipment, and then later in the day they do fieldtrips. Usually they are swimming trips to Cull Canyon and Roberts. What is nice about it is that it is a mellow group of no more than 12. My kid can never handle the masses of kids that get herded in various directions like at Camp Galileo. This is at the Oakland Studio Anon
We are considering doing a Kids-N-Dance birthday party for our 5 year old daughter's upcoming birthday. She did a Kids-N-Dance camp this summer and had a great time. I am wondering if anyone has done/gone to one of their birthday parties in the Oakland Studio and what you thought.... thanks!
Re: Musical Theatre for 9-year-old son
Kids 'N Dance and Theater Arts!......They have a FABULOUS musical theater program for kids with age groups that start at 4 and end at 14. What I love about them is they work hard at giving all the kids a great experience. Scripts are customized for each cast and everyone is given a chance to be challenged and have fun. The quality of the productions is amazing considering the broad range of talent. We have done three shows already and our daughter loves it and has made a great community of friends. An added benefit that I wasn't expecting is that she is learning about responsibility and teamwork. She insists on practicing with the CD they give her everyday so that she is ready for class. Usually we are in the car and she happily sings at the top of her lungs wherever we go! They do musical theater in both of their studios (Laurel District - Oakland, and Lafayette) and also do productions at the Orinda Rec. Center. happy low-key stage mom
Re: Short-term summer camp for 4-year-old
I am not sure what your 4 year old likes to do, but my daughter loves dance camp at Kids N Dance in Oakland, Lafayette, or Orinda (not Berkeley). They have 1-week sessions all summer. I think their website is kidsndance.com.
Re: Young Drama Queen looking for Venue
If you are looking for a great musical theatre class for kids, there is a hidden gem at Kids N Dance in the Laurel district in Oakland and in Lafayette and Orinda. In the Oakland studio they have a Beginning Theatre on Thursdays (age 6-12), Intermediate Theatre on Mondays (age 8-14) and a lot of ''Little Theatre'' classes for age 4-6. The classes culminate in two full performances. Check it out! Stage mom
Re: Gymnastics Class for 18-month-old
Check out the creative movement / gymnastics classes at Kids N Dance in Oakland (www.kidsndance.com). There are fun ''parent-and-me'' participatory classes for the under-two crowd, and the teachers do a great job keeping the kids engaged and participating. Enjoy!
Re: Ballet classes for six year old Richmond
KIDS N DANCE! It's on MacArthur, in Oakland's Laurel District (with another studio in Lafayette). If you are in Richmond, it would be a bit of a drive for a ballet class, but in our opinion, well worth it! We've met families there who drive from Richmond, Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, San Leandro, Hayward, etc. They offer a wide range of dance and movement (as well as musical theater) classes. Our daughter started taking classes there last year and just LOVES the classes, and all the teachers. I can't say enough about how wonderful this place is for children. Steps, positions, technique, etc. are taught using imaginative play and creative movement, so the emphasis is on having FUN while learning. They use costumes and props for ''theme'' dances and have a blast-- getting exercise, using their imaginations, and learning dance all at the same time. At the end of the approx. 11 week session, each class has a performance that all the adults are invited in to the room to watch.!
All the teachers we've met are not only great dance instructors, but also great with kids. Our daughter is very shy around unfamiliar adults, and hesitant to try new things, but she has really blossomed there. The teachers have done an amazing job at not only teaching her, but also helping to build her confidence and self-esteem. The woman who runs it, Kris, is also wonderful. I could go on and on, but I'll stop. They have a website, Kidsndance.com, but the best thing is to experience it first-hand and go check it out. You can watch the class going on in the adjacent room on a big monitor, and you can hear it, too. And you'll see how happy the kids are! Ok, I'll stop. The phone number is 510 531 4400. It's a great place.
Re: Summer camp for 4 1/2 year old?
Last year our 4 year old daughter went to several camps at Kids 'N Dance in Oakland. She did a musical theater camp (Lion King) and two dance camps (Happy Feet and Diego). She had an absolute BLAST! The teachers were great, crafts were creative and fun for the kids to do, and the shows at the end of each were adorable and impressive considering the age of the kids. In each class there always seemed to be at least a couple of boys. This might be exactly what you are looking for.
It's not exactly summer yet, but time to start thinking ahead . . . My 6-year-old daughter, who has no discernible singing or acting expertise, has been asking me to find her a singing or acting camp for this coming summer. Most such programs seem to be for the 8+ set, but I just noticed an ad for Kids 'n Dance, which has programs for much younger kids. I've read the BPN reviews, but didn't see anything specific to their summer-camp THEATER programs. I'd love to hear your opinion, especially if you are the parent of a youngish kid who does not at first glance seem Broadway-bound. (Also, I'd happily listen to any other recommendations for a 6-year-old.) Thanks! Anonymous
Re: Ballet classes in Orinda for 3.5 year old girl
Kids 'n Dance in Lafayette has wonderful, fun oriented, non stressful classes for kids from preschool on up. They also run classes at the Orinda Community Center. Kris, the owner is very child and process centered as opposed to strict technique, although technique is taught at developmentally appropriate levels. Good luck, Sindy
I have been looking for a dance studio for creative movement for my 2yr old and have passed by this new studio on MacArthur (sort of near High St. in Oakland). Their website looks pretty good, but I would love to hear if anyone out has had any experience with the teachers there. anon
I plan on keeping him in the class until he's too old for it. My son asks to go to ''dance class'' and has a blast when we're there.
I highly recommend the class and would just say try to get into a class that isn't totally full. His Friday class has about 5 kids in it and with the adults there's 10 of us and that feels perfect. See ya there! monica
My 5yearold takes "preballet/modern dance" at Kids 'N Dance in Lafayette. the kids are taught a few basic movements, and the empahsis is on incorporating those movements into a different short dance skit each week, with costumes. It is very much geared to the short attention span and physical coordination of the 45 age group. And quite fun! The Saturday teacher, Christina, is very good and patient. Nancy
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