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Our small, successful program for girls and boys is now in its 16th year of providing high-quality classes in Creative Movement as well as Beginning and Intermediate Ballet.

Director Kathryn Roszak trained on Ford Foundation Scholarships at Balanchine's School of American Ballet in New York, and at the San Francisco Ballet School. She danced as a soloist with the San Francisco Opera Ballet, and has choreographed for A.C.T., San Francisco Opera Center, and of course for productions with her own Danse Lumière company, which has performed internationally. She has taught children at Marin Ballet, San Francisco Ballet's Center for Dance Education, and at A.C.T. As a lifelong dancer, Kathryn has encouraged the love of dance by developing an innovative and exciting dance program for children.

The Program is held at the Finnish Hall at 1970 Chestnut St, Berkeley, CA 94702 in Berkeley near North Berkeley BART Station.

Our highly trained, enthusiastic teachers have considerable experience working with children. We provide a creative, supportive atmosphere, with personal attention. We also provide time for parents to discuss their child's progress, as well as opportunities for parents to observe.

We've been recommended in Berkeley Parents Network and have been listed as one of the Best Dance Studios in the Bay Area by CBS5 (KPIX-TV) "Eye on the Bay".

At the barre! 2010

Nutcracker, Osher Studio, 2012

"BridgeDance", Union Square, San Francisco, 2012

"Nutcracker", Kensington Hilltop School, 2010

Taking direction, Summer Dance Camp 2012

Class in 2004

Classes and Levels

Our classes are designed to progress at rates that are developmentally appropriate for your child's age. Our teachers are experienced dancers who will recommend level placement.

Creative Movement/Pre-Ballet
Monday, 45 minutes, ages 3-6

  • Classes give each child nurturing attention. Along with the joy of dance, children learn coordination, cooperation, listening, rhythm, how to work in a group, and gain confidence on their own. Sometimes we'll have 6 year olds in this class, either because they are with siblings, or because creative dance is developmentally the right place for them and they enjoy it.

Ballet 1
Monday, one hour, ages 5-7

  • The standalone Ballet 1 class introduces basic ballet barre work and center exercises, with emphasis on rhythm and musicality (there is also a Wednesday class, combined with Ballet 2).

Ballet 1 and 2
Wednesday, one hour, ages 7-9

  • The Ballet 2 level introduces more ballet vocabulary in both barre and center, including principles of balance, turning and jumping. There is a lot to learn at this level. Ballet 2 students will be offered accelerated work and more challenging parts in recitals. They will also take on leadership roles in the class. This is designed to be a yearlong course or more.

Ballet 3 and 4, Performance Group
Wednesday, 90 minutes, ages 10-13+

  • This class is for dancers with one to two years or more of training, either with us or elsewhere, and involves more dance technique and performing. Combinations of movement are now offered and included in recital material. Teamwork is emphasized, and the older children develop further leadership skills. This class involves a good deal of concentration and is challenging.

  • The Performance Group extends the class, and may offer participation in outside performances; previous performances have taken place at the Berkeley City Club, and Yoshi's Jazz Club in Oakland. In May 2012, students joined professional dancers from the Danse Lumière company to perform Kathryn Roszak's "BridgeDance" at Union Square Live in San Francisco and at the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary Festival as official participants.

Suggested class attire:
Creative Movement: Wear what is comfortable.
Girls taking ballet: leotard and tights with ballet slippers.
Boys taking ballet: tee shirt, tights and ballet shoes.

There is an end-of-session studio recital for all classes. Fall session Ballet classes include a chance to be part of our fun and unique annual performance of "The Nutcracker"; previous performances have taken place at Kensington Library, Kensington Hilltop school, Ashkenaz (our original location), and the Osher Studio at Berkeley Central.

Summer Dance Camp

Each summer we offer a special two-week, Monday through Friday Dance/Science camp for kids age 4-13+. The camp includes Creative Movement, Ballet, Tap (and sometimes Flamenco), plus crafts projects. Children work on new shows to perform at the end of each week during our family open house.

We also incorporate science, and especially astronomy, into the camp program. These may seem unrelated to dance, but dance is motion, and we have found it to be a natural and fun form for expressing and understanding the character of an ever-changing universe. For example, students in the 2012 camp created a dance based upon the recently-discovered Higgs-Boson particle.

Schedule and tuition details about our next summer camp are posted when available.

Other Program Offerings

We provide school programs and assemblies. We can go to your school, or groups can come to us for Dance Experience Workshops, exploring the basics of dance and dance routines for girls and boys with professional choreographers. We can present unique 30-40 minute interactive assemblies with professional dancers at your school.

We have offered Dance/Science Assemblies, with Astronomy and Dance, created in collaboration with UC Berkeleyastronomers and presented by Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley. We've also created workshops and shows for Richmond Arts Center, The Asian Art Museum and others. Call or e-mail for more information.

Why Dance?

Finally, some thoughts on the benefits of dance for your child...

Parents are in a unique position to encourage their child's interests and talents. Unfortunately, in today's fast-paced world of mass media, instant communication, virtual experience, and resultant short attention spans, we are all encouraged to switch channels as often as possible.

By contrast, it takes patience and dedication to study an art form. But anyone who does so can tell you that there are benefits, and satisfaction, that cannot be provided by, say, sports activities (much as we may enjoy those as well). Among these benefits are:

  • Self-expression: Young people today have far fewer available outlets than there used to be for creative self-expression, which sports and certainly video games cannot provide.

  • Self-expression within a group context: In programs with performances, children learn how to work with their individual talents within a group context, a great lesson for later life.

  • Grace, self-confidence, and poise: Ballet is great for this. Ballet is also wonderful for overall coordination, and works all muscle groups proportionately, thus preventing injury. Those who study other dance forms often take ballet as well, due to its benefits.

  • Appreciation and mastery of the basics of an art form: As ballet is an art there is a special confidence in its mastery, and a greater appreciation and understanding when attending any theatrical performance.

  • Appreciation of music and composers: Gained as young dancers work with the great music of the world.

Parents say:

"Nurtures creativity - our child loves it!" • "Highest caliber dance classes without unnecessary stuffiness! Great choreography." • "Training is fantastic and affordable. Our child was with this program before entering American Ballet Theatre." • "We loved the dance and the wonderful crafts integrated into the camp. A great camp for children of all ages!" • "We've tried several programs - this is one of the best - rigorous but fun!"

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