Top Dance Classes For Kids In St. Louis

July 4, 2014 7:00 AM

Dance class is a rite of passage for many children and the beginning of a love affair with music and movement for others. Once the domain of girls in pink tutus, boys are now welcome to explore the art as well. In this age of video games, tablets and television, it’s more important than ever to find ways to keep our kids moving and playing. Here are some of St. Louis’s best offerings.

Center of Contemporary Arts (COCA)
524 Trinity Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63130
(314) 725-6555

COCA has been at the forefront of arts education in St. Louis for decades. The Center offers dance classes of all kinds, for all ages. There are even movement and musicality classes for toddlers. COCA’s summer dance camps are legendary. If you have one child who wants a dance class and others who aren’t interested, check out the singing, drawing and stagecraft programs as well. Classes are offered at COCA’s U City facility and at satellite locations all over the city.

St. Louis Academy of Dance
9310 Olive Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63132
(314) 991-1663

SLAD offers an enormous array of classes for all ages: ballet, hip hop, jazz, lyrical, African, AfroJazz, modern, tap and more. Mommy and Me programs are available for toddlers (ages two to three). Preschoolers can sign up for pre-ballet and tap. One of the advantages of working with such a large, well-established studio is that there are plenty of opportunities for students who want to perform in recitals or performance troupes, or cross-train in different methods and styles. The studio has been offering high-quality instruction in the St. Louis area for three decades. 

Central Studio
5617 Pershing Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63112
(314) 367-3722

Central Studio is the perfect location for a family who wants to dance and get fit together. The studio has fitness classes for adults alongside kids’ classes, so if mom and dad don’t want a serious dance class, they can enjoy a fitness class while the kids are working in the next studio. Ballet classes are offered for ages three through adult, but the programs include tap, hip hop, step dance, tango and jazz/modern. Fitness enthusiasts will find a range of offerings as well, including dance fitness, Zumba, Pilates, Gyrotonic, yoga and mat fitness classes. Central Studio’s location is, in fact, quite central — not far from Forest Park.

Related: Top Rainy Day Activities In St. Louis

Becky Kern’s Dance Studio
6500 W. Main St.
Belleville, IL 62223
(618) 234-6110

A venerable institution on the Illinois side, Becky Kern’s studio has been teaching dance to St. Louis-area children since 1961. At least 10 of Becky Kern’s students have gone on to open their own studios in the area. The studio has recently moved from its long-term location to a spacious new home in the Arcades shopping center on the west end of town. Classes include creative movement for little tykes, tap, ballet, jazz, contemporary, pom, hip hop, tumbling and ballroom classes for mom and dad.

Dance Center of Kirkwood
10308 Manchester Road
St. Louis, MO 63122
(314) 821-6663

Tucked away in a strip mall, beneath a Bread Company location, you’ll find a cozy little studio that’s just right for dancers who prefer the personalized attention of a smaller school. This program is very focused on the classics, including ballet, jazz, tap and modern. The studio has classes for ages preschool to adult.

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Lauren Haas was the founder and publisher of The St. Louis Area Family Gazette magazine, and editor-in-chief of Marketplace Magazine. Now, Lauren is a full-time freelance writer who travels the world, using St. Louis as her base. Contact her at

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