Where Do Your Little Ones Dance?

CONTRIBUTED BY HEATHER GELORMINE

It’s a fact: little girls (and many little boys!) love to dance.  Back in the US, dance studios are everywhere.  The opportunities to sign them up for classes, rehearsals, and the culminating recitals are seemingly endless… and the tiny dancers eat it all up.

Ballet Dancing

Here on Okinawa, however, the opportunities to get our kids into strong dance programs are much fewer and farther between.  Most of us first turn to the programs held through the Youth Center… and some of us are left looking for more.

One reader shares her frustration:

I have a four-year-old who desperately wants to take a dance class. I want her in an off-base dance studio. Unfortunately, the only classes I know of are through the Kadena Youth Center (including the classes at Torii). My daughter actually speaks pretty passable Japanese so even if the studio wasn’t English-speaking, it would probably work for us. Somewhere near Yomitan would be perfect! Any suggestions?

Can anyone help her out?  Do your children take dance lessons at an off-base studio?  Where is it located?  What are the fees?  Are there age restrictions? Can you give us any other information?

Thanks!

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16 COMMENTS

  1. I know this post and comments are a few years old but I just checked out the websites Paul provided, thanks! Paul, and I wonder if anyone tried any of those schools. I really like what I saw on the Okinawa City Ballet School webpage. Thank you!

  2. My daughter attends ballet classes on hwy 75 intersection about 3 lights before Camp Courtney. It’s pretty good. They have many Americans who take classes there. They teach in Japanese and seem to teach the same things traditional ballet schools in America teach. Y8900 monthly for two classes per week. The name is Iijima Ballet school.

  3. Camp Foster at Gunners Gym. It’s run by Debra & Danielle (lovely women, email them at [email protected]).

    We did ballet up at Kadena Youth Center last year. While it was adequate for the age group, I felt like it was more of a glorified dancing, jumping around class that was more geared towards only prepping them for the recital, rather than learning the fundamentals and the grace of ballet.
    I’ve found that Debra & Danielle take ballet quite seriously, and give it the respectful attention that ballet instruction duly deserves. 🙂 They also teach tap during it.
    It’s $40 registration, and $60/month.

  4. im moving from texas 14 yrs.old (military family) to okinawa japan i have been dancing all my life on competitive teams .. if anyone knows a team in OKINAWA please tell me =) thanks

  5. I don’t know all of the information, but I took my daughter to the Well Cultural school in Naha for a little kids sushi class. While we were there one day they had a little ballet class going on. I wish I had more information, but maybe if you did a search for the school you would find more. I know they offer yoga classes as well because they had one gong on the second day we were there.

  6. Adrienne- do you have a child enrolled there? If not, what is your experience with them? I have been wanting to enroll my daughter there and am pleased to hear the good review.
    They have a location in Naha, near the DFS area I believe, as well as a northern location in/near Nago I think. I tried to double check that on their website, but it seems to be down these past few days.

  7. There’s a fantastic ballet studio named Nagasaki-Sao between Futenma and Kinser. As you go south on the 58 turn right just before the big bridge going toward Kinser. The studio is just a block or two after the turn. It’s a small gray studio on your left with a pink ballerina logo. I have a lot of dance experience and share your frustrations with the youth center. This studio is wonderful and produces professional ballerinas who compete internationally. I highly recommend them both for your daughter as well as for adults. Yumiko-sahn is the name of the teacher. They also have a sister studio in Naha although I’ve never been there. Good luck.

  8. I would be very interested in the group near Ishikawa also, Paul. I have googled them, and I think I found a MySpace page, but alas, it was all in Japanese. Hoping to find a phone # or even directions to their location.

  9. In addition, where do you buy the leotards and shoes? I know they have some at the PX, but never really in the size my daughter needs (she’s a little small) and I have yet to see the shoes there. I know I can order all of this through the wonderful internet, but is there anywhere on island (surely there must be) to buy these supplies?

  10. The hip hop dance crew you are talking about preform worldwide…they are based out of Ishikawa. I’ll see if I can find their info, I know where they practice/teach, it is right up the road from me, but can’t remember if they have a website or not.

  11. There is also another dance group that does hip hop on the island and I saw them perform on Kokusai once and they were great and had lots of little ones…I think they are called T-da jr crew – maybe – I am not sure…I had a flyer once, but can’t find it??? Sorry that I don’t have the contact info or anything, but it was really amazing what they had the little ones doing and I am not sure if they only do hip hop or if they offer other types of dancing, but the day I saw them it was hip hop.

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