Best Dance Classes for Kids in NYC

Kids get a great foundation in classical ballet at Dance Theatre of Harlem. Photo courtesy of Dance Theatre of Harlem
Kids get a great foundation in classical ballet at Dance Theatre of Harlem. Photo courtesy of Dance Theatre of Harlem

If you have a budding ballerina who's pleading for dance lessons, you'll find yourself spoiled for choice, and that fact holds true across genres and genders. We've rounded up 19 studios offering dance classes for kids in NYC. We've found dance studios offering classes in real life, plus those offering online dance classes, too.

Most of these local dance classes offer programs for boys, and in general, you can study multiple styles at one studio; only a few specialize in one discipline. So, read on for a slew of dance studios offering dance classes for kids from toddlers to teens, including ballet, tap, modern, and other dance styles. Be sure to check out our guide to Classes and Activities for New York City Kids for even more options.

The Ballet Club, NYC
The Ballet Club offers dance classes for kids beginning at age 18 months. Photo by Rachel Neville/courtesy of the school

Best Ballet Classes for Kids in NYC

The Ballet Club – Upper East Side

With a singular focus on ballet, The Ballet Club offers dance classes for kids ages 18 months and older. Classes are divided into three divisions: the “Dance Together” group, for ages 18 months to 3 years, the regular children’s classes, for ages 3 to 9, and the advanced Performing Arts Pre-Professional Division. All students are also taught the history of dance and are encouraged to improvise to the music of classic ballets.

Dance Theatre of Harlem – Harlem

Classical ballet training is the trademark of this storied Harlem dance school. Children as young as 18 months can join a Dance WIth Me program. Auditions are required for children ages 3+. Younger students join pre-dance and pre-ballet classes, while those ages 8 and older can join the Lower School, where a focus is on discipline and mastering ballet basics before moving on to the Upper School. Other genres are offered to complement the ballet training, too.

Ballet Academy East – Upper East Side

Established in 1979, this school is made up of three divisions: The Pre-Professional Division for ages 7 to 19 offers admission by audition and performs publicly at various theaters around NYC. There's also the Young Dancer Division for ages 2 to 6 and open admission classes for teens and older.

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Ballet Hispanico offers dance classes for kids
Ballet Hispanico offers a diverse dance program for ages 2+. Photo by Rachel Neville/courtesy of the studio

Ballet Hispanico – Upper West Side

This Spanish dance studio features classes in ballet, jazz, hip-hop, salsa, and tap for ages 2 and older. The Los Pasitos: Early Childhood Program introduces students ages 2 to 5 to coordination and movement techniques. The Encuentros: Open Class Program focuses on many dance traditions and is designed for ages 6-18.

Sol Dance Center – Astoria

Opened in 2009, this dance studio offers a wide array of classes for ages 3 and older. The children's programs are split into three age groups: Baby Ballet caters to kids age 2 1/2 to 4, with a gentle introduction to the genre, plus plenty of fun, socialization, and movement. In the Kids Division, for ages 3 to 8, more formal introductory classes lay the foundation for study in ballet, hip-hop, and salsa. The teen classes, for ages 8-19, include styles such as tap, Latin, jazz, and more.

Great Modern Dance Classes for Kids in NYC

The Ailey School – Hell's Kitchen

Founded by dancer/choreographer Alvin Ailey (1931-1989), this renowned school is dedicated to enriching the heritage of American modern dance and preserving the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience. Kids 7 and older must audition for more advanced classes, but there are no auditions for the introductory classes, including the popular First Steps class (for kids ages 3 to 6) and Bounding Boys (for boys ages 4 to 6). Currently, in-person classes are minimal, but online dance classes are offered via Ailey Extension.

Brooklyn Arts Exchange – Park Slope

Offering more affordable prices than many of its counterparts, this arts center provides dance and theater classes to kids ages 18 months and up. Choose from modern dance, ballet, and hip-hop for tweens and great movement classes for the toddler set. More advanced dancers (ages 9 to 18) may be invited to participate in Dance Performance Workshops, in which they'll deepen their study of dance technique and work on original choreography.

Bridge for Dance – Upper West Side

This dance studio offers traditional and non-traditional classes for dancers ages 3 and older. Styles include ballet, jazz, and hip-hop, plus creative movement and aerial circus classes. The Young Dancers Program is a year-long commitment with weekly classes scheduled from September to June, ending with a recital showcasing what the children have learned throughout the year.

Mark Morris Dance Group – Fort Greene

Operated by the Mark Morris Dance Group, this reasonably-priced dance school offers classes for kids and teens and parent-and-me sessions for children ages 4 and younger. Children and teens, ages 6 to 18, can take modern, tap, jazz/hip-hop, ballet, and African dance classes. Advanced students, ages 10 to 17, can audition for the Student Company. Although the Center has resumed in-person classes, virtual live and on-demand classes are offered, too.

Cynthia King Dance Studio – Prospect Park South

Cynthia King hosts a variety of kids' classes, including ballet, modern, hip-hop, and tap. The studio offers parent-and-me dance classes for toddlers and preschoolers. School-age kids who are serious about their studies may be chosen for the CKDS Company Program to learn ballet and contemporary styles at an accelerated pace with professional performance opportunities.

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Hip-Hop dance classes for kids provide plenty of action
Hip-hop is a high-energy dance style. Photo by Jonathan Hsu

Where to Find Hip-Hop Classes for Kids in NYC

Downtown Dance Factory – Tribeca

This popular Tribeca dance school invites children as young as 18 months to its 9,000-square-foot studio to try out classes including hip-hop, tap, jazz, ballet, and a breaking program, especially for boys. Summer programs, birthday parties, and adult dance classes are also offered.

The Brooklyn Dance Centers – Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

A borough favorite, this dance center operates from two locations in Brooklyn and offers a variety of classes, including ballet, contemporary, and break-dancing. Classes start at age 2. This studio ticks all the boxes with a nationally competitive dance team, dedicated teachers, and a mission to reach kids of all abilities.

Nadia's Performing Arts Centre – Bayside, Queens

Specializing in small classes, this Bayside dance school promises lots of individualized attention for dancers. Instruction in ballet, jazz, tap, and an all-boys hip-hop class—plus more options—are offered for ages 2 1/2 and older. Placement is based on age and ability, and there are also audition-only performing opportunities.

Jazz and Tap Classes for NYC Kids

American Youth Dance Theater – Upper East Side & Washington Heights

With popular classes like mommy-and-me, hip-hop, contemporary, tap, and Broadway, this dance school prioritizes a positive learning environment where children are encouraged to learn and grow. Classes are open for all ages, from toddlers to high schoolers. The studio is expanding, adding a Washington Heights location in the fall of 2021.

American Tap Dance Foundation – Greenwich Village

The American Tap Dance Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the genre of tap dancing. Beginners ages 3 1/2 and older start in the Young Rhythm Makers class, where they’ll learn basic steps and how to improvise their own combinations. Kids with more experience are placed in classes like Hoofers and Hitters and Shim Sham Crew, where they’ll learn elements of early dances as well as contemporary forms.

Broadway Dance Center – Hell's Kitchen

Founded in 1984 as one of the first dance schools with drop-in classes, this center offers tap, jazz, modern, ballet, hip-hop, and theatrical dance classes. The studio's annual program runs from September through June and ends with a showcase performed in front of friends and family. Dancers ages 3 and up of all levels and ages can register for weekly classes. Dancers aged 10 to 18 can be considered for the professional track. A virtual option is also offered in 2021.

Steps on Broadway – Upper West Side

Steps on Broadway offers dance classes for kids 18 months to 18 years at all levels in jazz, modern, contemporary, tap, theater dance, ballet, and hip-hop. The studio's First Steps program for ages 2 to 6 brings kids, teachers, and musicians together to create a joyful environment capturing the imagination and creativity natural to young children. Classes for ages 7 to 18 offer dance instruction that strengthens technique and artistic skills. Students are placed in classes according to their age and ability.

Studio E School of Dance – Flushing, Queens

A Queens staple, Studio E has been around since 1969. Children ages 2 and older can study ballet, jazz, hip-hop, tap, and contemporary. Tiny Dancers, the separate program for preschoolers, introduces beginner ballet techniques and other forms of dance. Little ones are encouraged to strengthen their bodies as well as their imaginations.

Best Streaming and Online Dance Classes for Kids in NYC

Dancewave – Park Slope

This beloved Brooklyn studio offers many in-person and online dance classes for ages 18 months through 18 years, including ballet, creative movement, jazz, modern, African, hip-hop, and musical theater. Also on offer is dance training, pre-professional dance companies, arts in education, and community performances.
 

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