Ballet classes offer a wonderful way to inspire your kids to express their emotions through music, storytelling and creativity. Ballet also has other benefits, such as learning to appreciate the art form and keeping your kid active in a fun, graceful and disciplined environment. And, can we talk about how cute they look in those tutus? Several local dance studios in San Diego offer ballet classes for all levels and ages. Read on for nine of our favorites and get your tiny dancers ready to leap into the wonderful world of dance.

photo: City Ballet of San Diego

City Ballet of San Diego
Located in Pacific Beach, City Ballet offers a strong dance curriculum consisting of several classical styles. All the instructors have professional ballet backgrounds and bring their own individual qualities to the school. Classes are offered for kids ages 3 and up and each child is carefully evaluated to ensure that they are physically ready for the level in which they are placed. There are opportunities to perform throughout the year and students can audition for The Nutcracker – voted by The Tommy Awards to be San Diego’s best!

What’s Unique: The school is affiliated with the professional City Ballet of San Diego company. Students may be hand selected for the two year Trainee program, which serves as a stepping stone from advanced student to professional dancer. This could lead to an apprenticeship with the main company. Each year, the school also hosts a summer intensive program, where they invite world renowned guest artists to work with the students.

941 Garnet Ave.
San Diego, Ca 92109

photo: Marissa Mullen

Bunny’s School of Dance
Dancers ages 3 and up will love learning at this longtime dance studio in La Mesa. A combo class of ballet, tap and tumbling is offered at various levels in a relaxed, informal environment. The small, intimate studio features a bright, cheerful atmosphere, with a strong emphasis placed on fun. At the end of the year, students get to show off their skills in an annual dance performance at the San Diego County Fair.

What’s Unique: This studio is especially great for young, beginning dancers. Because the classes are a mix of tumbling, ballet and tap, toddlers and preschool aged kids are never bored. A variety of fun age appropriate games and activities really get the kiddos involved, while learning basic steps and discipline. A free trial class is offered before signing up. And unlike most studios, Mom and Dad are also allowed to stay and watch their little dancer, which helps keep tears to a minimum!

8062 La Mesa Blvd.
La Mesa, Ca 91942

photo: Proud M. via Yelp

Neisha’s Dance & Music Academy
This state-of-the-art facility has two locations – one in Point Loma, and one in the heart of Eastlake. They accept kids as young as 18 months to their creative dance program. If your kiddo wants to do more than just ballet, they have many other options such as tap, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, acro, creative dance and musical theater. The clean, family environment complements the positive attitude of the staff, which encourages teamwork, discipline and respect for one another.

What’s Unique: Proud parents can view their dancers at class through the one-way observation windows. Live feed flat screen monitors are also located in the lobby. Neisha’s also hosts a monthly Kids Night Out, a fun party at the studio. In addition, they offer music and preschool classes, all at the Eastlake location. And don’t forget about the guys!  Boys only classes are offered for boys ages 8 and up.

870 Jetty Lane
Chula Vista, Ca 91914

2650 Truxton Rd
Dance Place at Liberty Station, Ste. 107
San Diego, Ca 92106

photo: May C. via Yelp

Balletcenter Studios
Balletcenter Studios is made of up two studios – Balletcenter West in Mission Hills and Balletcenter East in El Cajon.  The warm and inviting environment provides a high standard of achievement, while working to increase technical skills, stamina, placement, line and style. This dance program specializes in ballet and guides students through a full course of study, starting from age three, all the way up to the pre-professional level. There are two annual performances, including The Nutcracker in the winter and all of the students, (including the adults!) are given the chance to perform.

What’s Unique: This is the only studio to offer Dance On The Spectrum, a special program for autistic students. Designed for ages 3-10, the program utilizes special education teaching techniques and engages children by encouraging them to express themselves through the joy of dance.

Balletcenter West
1111 Fort Stockton, Ste. F
San Diego, Ca 92103

Balletcenter East
Blossom Flinn Station
14860 Olde Highway 80
El Cajon, Ca 92021

photo: Ballet Institute of San Diego via Flickr

Ballet Institute of San Diego
If your little ballerina is a serious dancer, check out Ballet Institute of San Diego. This Studio, located in Kearny Mesa, offers a comprehensive ballet curriculum that ensures each student will receive the training they need if they aspire to be professional dancers. This includes an internationally renowned faculty with a personal, inspired approach to every student. They also provide quality performing opportunities as well as classes in contemporary, repertoire pointe technique, improvisation and character dance. In addition, there is a body conditioning program to help prepare the youngest students for ballet training and increase their physical abilities.

What’s Unique: The studio space is huge, the largest one being almost 4000 square feet. All three studios feature specially designed wood sprung floors and are covered with studio flooring. Ballet Institute of San Diego recently merged with San Diego Academy of Ballet – a move which serves to constantly bring new and exciting opportunities to its students.

7868 Raytheon Rd.
San Diego, CA 92111

photo: San Diego Civic Youth Ballet via Yelp

San Diego Civic Youth Ballet
San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, a longtime dance studio in Balboa Park, holds more than 50 classes weekly in the famous Casa del Prado studio. Young ballerinas can start taking lessons as early as 4 years-old. Tiny dancers will love participating in four major yearly performances, including The Nutcracker and Fairy Tales in the Park.

What’s Unique: San Diego Civic Youth Ballet hosts a homeschool program that serves students and families. The classes provide educational enrichment and are an affordable option for families searching for outside arts and culture curriculum in their homeschool lesson plans.

1650 El Prado
Casa del Prado Building
San Diego, Ca 92101

photo: Marie A. via Yelp

Pacific Arts Dance Center
Pacific Arts Dance Center is the result of Del Mar Ballet and Royal Academy of Ballet Arts joining forces to create a dance enterprise in the heart of Carmel Valley. The gorgeous new facility features floor to ceiling windows in the studios, with spectacular views. Your kids will want to dance all day long! And with multiple classes in ballet, jazz, hip hop and tap, they can do just that.

What’s Unique: This studio offers the RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) program to its students.  If you’re looking for a structured, grade level program with exams once a year, you’ll find it here.

5550 Carmel Mountain Rd. Ste. 210
San Diego, Ca 92130

photo: Lynch Dance Institute

Lynch Dance Institute
This is a new studio in Poway that fosters the love of arts through quality dance instruction. They focus on building a strong classical foundation through technical proficiency. Lynch Dance Institute recognizes that each student is different. The school celebrates that by taking individual needs into consideration when planning their programming and performing opportunities. They also offer a variety of super fun summer camps like choreography workshops, fashion design, musical theater and cross training.

What’s Unique: If you want to get in on the action with your tot, they have parent-toddler classes. There is also a Dancing Tales class for 3 and 4 year-olds wherein they can learn different dance concepts through storytelling and two all boys classes (ballet and creative movement) taught by Mr. Lynch.

12227 Poway Rd.
Poway, Ca 92064

photo: SD Dance With Me

SD Dance With Me
These classes are perfect for beginning ballerinas. Little ones can start as early as 20 months and participate in the Dance & Music Discovery class where rhythms, sounds and music are all explored. Creative movement classes are designed for toddlers to learn some basic ballet, jazz and hip hop with the aid of fun props like hula hoops, ribbons and parents (if needed!)

What’s Unique: This is a great studio to start very young dancers off with discovering the joy of dance. Keep in mind that they are only open Mon.-Weds.

2650 Truxtun Rd., Studio #109
Dance Place, Liberty Station
San Diego, Ca 92106

Do you know of a great kids’ ballet studio that didn’t make our list? Let us know in the comments!

––Marissa Mullen


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