You may have found this page cause you searched for hip hop dance classes in the Bay Area. Or you may have read this blog years ago and was interested in seeing what’s the latest.
Big explanation so you’re fully educated what this blog post is about.
Back in 2016-2017 I probably hit every hip hop class that was available in the Bay Area. I was a newbie obsessed with dance and wanted to know which teachers I liked more. This was super important to me because when I get obsessed I go all in.
It’s been quite some time since 2016. Alot of teachers have come and go. We had that little pandemic thing that wrecked everyone’s lives in ways we’re still trying to recover from.
Now we’re post pandemic, figuring out our dance lives. So if you’re like “Hey Elaine what classes should I take now?” I need you to understand I’m NOT hitting up EVERY HIP HOP DANCE CLASS IN THE BAY AREA. Why? Well, girl I’m old. And it’s cold. And the pandemic made me really love being in bed watching videos at 5pm till I eventually fall asleep. So I’m not going to every 8pm dance class in the city. It takes alot for me to go out now. It has to be super important for me to get out of my PJs.
The other big reason I can’t give you the definitive list of every hip hop class in the Bay Area is because, dude …. THERE’S ALOT. There are more dance classes now than 6 years ago. New studios, new teachers, new energy. With the push of social media, everyone wants to learn to dance and with that new businesses have popped up. At the same time, studios have closed down because of the changes in our city and our economy. So figuring out who’s come and gone takes a bit of work.
Take that into account as you read this blog. I am not the definitive word on hip hop dance classes in the Bay Area. Frankly there’s not one place that defines it all. Bopsidy is pretty damn close so definitely look at that site because they’re constantly looking for the latest and educating everyone what to take.
What I can offer you is a strong educated opinion of what classes I like or have heard about that I absolutely think you should take because these people will give you joy and happiness to your life. You’ll meet an amazing community of people and learn moves that will wow (or horrify) all your aunties and uncles at weddings. These are not Tik Tok dance moves classes. These are 60 minute – 2 hour choreography classes or foundation classes. Tik Tok dance moves are fine…but honestly I need more and these places give me what I need.
Big thanks to my friends who are going to the 8pm classes and trying all the different classes and are messaging me: girl get your Costco sweatpants on and come out to THIS SPECIFIC CLASS. Love you Ellen, Erica, Jennifer, Tanya, Jen, James, Kevin, and Josef. They’re the ones who are taking ALOT of classes and giving me the lowdown and the heads up on popups that are essential to my life.
SF was where I really started taking all hip hop classes. And thankfully the biggies are still there along with a new place.
If you were around in 2016 you experienced the original City Dance studios. Two big studios and one itty bitty one on the second floor. No AC, could get crowded as all hell, bathrooms were always busy, the marley floor was perfect for ballet but for hip hop you be stickin. Sandy and Jylly worked their asses off to keep City Dance alive and if you go now …. man you are in for a treat. They moved to a location close to their old spot and the main studio is cathedral size. I mean look at those ceilings.
Loads of dance space, loads of just open space above you. I usually wear a mask in class when it’s packed, but here I don’t worry as much cause honestly there’s so much space. They have two other smaller studios at this space and they’re both lovely. It’s SF street parking so you know what that means. Don’t leave anything in your car.
Girl. City Dance has a lot of teachers that are damn good. The ones I’ve taken who I’ve adored are:
Emerson Aquino, Andy Nguyen, JJ The Killah, Daniel Kang, Jepoy Papas, Julia Pereira, Lauren Benjamin, Robert Yu, Jay Chris Moore, Dillion Nguyen, Jeric Peregrino, Georgie Cormack, and Sila Poe Charukesnant. When I look at their listing of classes alot of the teachers I don’t know. That doesn’t mean they’re bad, it’s just they’re new and from the IG stories I’ve seen they are bringing more vitality and energy that we always need in dance. So do a double header: take one of the teachers i recommend and stack on one you’ve never heard. That’s how you find out who fits your disposition well because seriously some teachers will fit you like a glove and others like a itchy wool dress your Mom made you wear for Sunday school. You don’t know till you go.
There’s this amazing dance team in Daly City called The Company who has weekly spots at City Dance called CompanyFam Choreo and you absolutely should take a class with them. They don’t fuck around. This is not a beginner class. They will challenge you. So whoever they have booked in that slot, you are guaranteed a sweaty good time. The teachers I’ve taken from The Company are Jolo Cabrera, Alfred Remulla, Jepoy and Aggie Loyola. Here’s Eddie Mina showing you exactly how awesome the class can be.
For the newbies to City Dance, I always recommend Emerson Aquino first. He was my first City Dance teacher and I will always credit him for guiding me into the hip hop dance world. If you’re just starting out he gives you basic moves to ease your way in but at the same time those moves can be embellished for your more seasoned dancer. He works for both. The energy he exudes is always positive and welcoming. You will absolutely have a good time hanging out with Emerson for 90 minutes.
Cause I know alot of women ask me who to take for those femme empowering experiences and the first name that comes to mind at City Dance is Julia Pereira. Loads of hairography, moves that will make you feel like a goddamn goddess. Yeah Julia gots all of that for you.
Alan Frias in SF
I have to put him in his own category because if you know Allan, he’s kind of a big deal in the best possible way. Important note: currently he doesn’t live in the Bay Area. When he first announced he was leaving it shook alot of people. He’s been such a staple of the Bay Area dance community it was devastating to think of him being gone. But luckily he’s decided to commute here to teach pop up classes at City Dance and Uforia. He’s done it pretty regularly so if you want to take his class follow his account so you know when it’s happening.
When I first took Allan’s class I was intimidated as all hell. The people in his class all looked like they knew what they were doing and they were doing it well. With intensity. With passion. With power. It was alot. But after taking…oh I don’t know about 10 classes I finally figured out his moves and I can keep up with everyone else. And girl you want to keep up with everyone else because it is SUCH A GOOD TIME in his class. He says crazy things, he’s hilarious, he’s inappropriate in all the right ways. But the most important thing is he’s an excellent teacher. He will teach you moves that are super complicated but it fits so well on your body.
Lately he’s been doing popups in SF at City Dance and Uforia.
God I love this studio. I love the brick walls. I love the big open windows. But the dance. Oh my god the dancing in this space is sooooooo good. The teachers I’ve taken or have been recommended to me by people who’s dance opinion I know to be true and correct include: Brandie Norris, Jocquese Whitfield, David Schrag, Kyle Limin, Trey Brice-Russell, Micaya, Tika Morgan.
Parking in the Mission is challenging but it’s worth it just for what’s happening in this space. They did major renovations on their studio and now they 2 big studios, 1 medium, and one tiny. And oh man the bathrooms are a dream compared to what they were back in 2016.
Lines Dance Center
I used to go to Lines ALOT pre pandemic when they had a bunch of hip hop dance offerings. Now as I look at their schedule their focus is more on ballet, modern, contemporary. It’s a great studio that reminds me of a proper NY studio with the big mirrors and the marley floors. I’ve taken Kathy Mata’s ballet class and that was a wonderful and eye opening and if I ever get into ballet seriously, Kathy is the class I’d take. The one person I majorly recommend at Lines is Dexandro Montalvo. That man shaped my hip hop dancing for several years. Now he focuses more on contemporary. I’ve taken that contemporary class and it killed me but oh my god you so want to nail those moves cause the lines, the drama, it’s so beautiful.
This was the place I used to go to in my beginning years. It was here that Shereen Prince taught me my first grapevine. I was awkward as fuck in this class but after a year… it got less stupid. And that was thanks to Shereen. This class has alot of variety in their classes. They’ve got Contemporary, Salsa, Hula, Tai Chi, Ballet, Tap, Reggaeton, Pilates and more. They also have this class called Rhythm & Motion. I’ve taken that class with Dudley Flores and first of all he’s fantastic. Such a good soul.
It’s a dance work out class that kinda combines hip hop, contemporary, salsa, just a mix of alot of things. It can be overwhelming the first time but after the 2nd and 3rd you’ll get it and you’ll be going across the floor like a phoenix rising from the ashes. It can be a touch dramatic in that class but you want it to be that way.
When I first met Jessica Rae, the owner and creator of Rae Studios. I was in awe. Here’s this stunning woman who is not only a great dancer, is strong as fuck, but also has created a business that not only teaches people how to dance but also make a living in the dance and entertainment industry. She’s a force that I am always like dammmm. I went to her studio in the early years and it was a cute little boutique space that was dying to grow. And she made it grow. After alot of renovations she’s created this impressive studio that is BUILT FOR IG MOMENTS.
They have two studios: one medium and one small. But they pack in alot of great classes there. Looking at their lineup of teachers the only ones I’ve taken are Jessica and JJ Ghera and both are femme fabulous fun. I’ve never taken Ki’s class but I’ve been in the same class with him and oh girl. He good. He real good.
I’m still heartbroken that they had to close down their Palo Alto studio but for you SF folks, you lucky bitches still got their Nob Hill location. I love this studio because it is pink explosion overload.
They have one big studio for dance and another studio for spinning. Uforia is not just a dance studio. They offer strength and cycling classes along with their dance schedule. I’ve tried all of their offerings and it’s great but my heart goes straight to their dance classes.
The teacher at Uforia that has my goddamn heart is Josef.
Just know, he’s a friend so I already knew he was amazing when we would take Allan Frias classes together. So when he started teaching at Uforia I was like that just makes good business sense. He gets paid to be amazing and you lovely SF people get to enjoy that on a weekly basis. For newbies, you will not be intimidated by his moves. He knows the moves you already doing in the clubs but he improves on it, embellishes it, makes ya look better. Positivity is the name of the game in his class so yeah. You should take his class and tell me how it made you feel. Because I always feel like a goddamn queen coming out of his class.
Important note: They have a lot of good popups planned for the year. So follow their IG so you know the latest and greatest. Popups are great because it exposes you to people you’ve never tried before in an environment you may be more comfortable with.
Popstar Booty Camp
I’ve known Carol Jay and this program for a long time. Carol hires dance teachers who can teach you the moves of popular dances. You wanna learn Jeon Kook’s Standing Next To You? Are you obsessed with Jungle’s dance opus and you wanna be that girl in that tiny vest? You wanna bring the pain like this that pink venom? Popstar has you covered.
Big caveat: Those dance videos that you adore are performed by professional dancers who’ve trained for many years and have rehearsed many many hours. Will you nail Jungle’s Back on 74 choreo in the first class? No. You won’t in the second or in the 10th class. Do not be disheartened. You will learn the moves and the essence of those videos you adore and sometimes that’s enough. And sometimes it will inspire you to take even more classes so you can nail that move with the intensity and power you always dreamed of.
Mood & Moves
I went to this studio very soon after the pandemic let up a little bit and studios started opening. It is a cute boutique studio very close to the SF Costco. (I’m an Asian lady into Costco, big surprise.) It is only one studio but they do a lot of fun things in there. Heels is a popular class in this space and you’ll see why. Clean wood floors, beautiful mirrors, and mood lighting.
I don’t do heels cause I’m 50, that shit hurts. But I appreciate the artistry involved in it and I know alot of my dancer friends love this space for heels. Street parking, you are going to be climbing stairs to the studio, it’s all good.
The Peninsula + San Jose
I’m from LA so I enjoy a suburb. I live in the Peninsula because it feels like home, it’s close to work, and I got two Costcos nearby (Again, I’m a 50 year old Asian lady). For the longest time, it was really hard to find a dance studio in this area. I don’t know if it’s the rent or Zumba just had a monopoly but getting a hip hop class in this area was really hard. That’s not the case anymore.
Peninsula Lively Arts
Across from Trader Joe’s in the old Circuit Building is a dance studio. It shocks me every time I go in there because I totally bought headphones and computer equipment in this space back in the day. Ballet is the dominant force in this studio but there is one Wednesday night hip hop class you should add to your calendar: Angela Barrera. I haven’t taken her class yet but I have many dance friends who have told me she’s fantastic and frankly from what I’ve seen I agree. She good.
Go here to register for classes https://www.peninsulalivelyarts.org/adult-ballet-class-schedule
I’ve known George Folau for a while now and I know…. the dude has such great musicality and style. So when he started teaching regular classes at San Mateo I was like ooooo tell me more. It is a short class. But he packs in a lot in that hour. So definitely check him out because he’s loads of good times.
If daytime class are your vibe, this is the place for you. It’s in Palo Alto and there’s always parking. It’s run by Mandy and Lisa, two incredibly hardworking talented women who deliver great choreo week after week. The dancers in this studio have been there for several years, they are loyal and that’s because the community is so strong and welcoming. But most importantly the dancing is lively and joyful.
I’ve taken many classes with Yuko and she’s such a sweet, generous teacher. Her GROOV3 classes are always packed with people who are killing it. And if you’re like me…. a slightly older woman…. it’s nice to be around people your own age. Most of these studies are 35 and under. And that’s fine. But frankly I wanna be around women in their 60s doing the dougie and twerking…and I usually can see that in Yuko’s classes.
Follow her IG cause she teaches at a variety of locations.
Motion Arts Center
I just found this space in San Mateo and it’s so cute. Easy parking, clean wide open space, and the vibe was just good all around. I’ve taken Francesca’s intermediate hip hop dance class and she was positive and open to the beginners and the more intermediate dancers in the room. Her technique is spot on and there were alot of groovy moments I enjoyed dancing next to her.
Can’t Stop The Drop
Palo Alto peeps, you don’t have to go far to get your groove on. Devi has created this space for you to figure out every fierce move you want. Outdoor classes with alot of groovy vibes and powerful hits. There are regular classes and workshops that definitely involve specific costume looks and a final video that you will want to share with all your friends.
Enjoy Dance Studio
Ok Cupertino. Were you aware that the most amazing dance studio is in your city? Because you’ve got the most amazing dance studio in your city. I have never seen anything like this. They invested in all the things a dancer dreams of for a studio. Big mirrors in the front and back. They have huge displays near the ceiling so even in packed classes a live camera is on the teacher so you can see the footwork on the teacher even if you’re the last person in the back of the class. They got dramatic lighting for dance concept videos. They have AC. Girl. They have AC. And the most important thing: they film groups in 4K and offer you a free download of the video within 6 hours. This is like a dream student dancer’s studio.
So the registration system for Enjoy is going to confuse you. Especially since it’s written in Chinese. That’s ok. Just turn on Google translate and power through. It is worth it.
I will be taking more classes at Enjoy because the quality is so good. Yes their classes are a bit more expensive than other places but the tech they have put in this space is insane. It’s worth it. Parking is easy. Boba is a 6 minute drive away.
Montage Dance Productions
I love there space and even though I haven’t been in a while I’m stalking their IG and I keep seeing posts of all their cool dance classes. The classes I’ve enjoyed are with Lauren, Jaylen Pea, Chris Alcanices, and LQ. Easy, free parking. Vibe is cool. Overall great place.
On One Dance Studio
Do you remember Monday Night Workshop in 2015? It was the most insane dance class late nights on Monday at this studio. After much renovations and change in leadership, it is now On One and they’ve established themselves as one of the most popular dance studios in the area. I love the leadership here, I love the community, I love the easy parking and it’s right next to a Target so if you need a Gatorade for cheap its there. One big studio, one medium studio, and one tiny studio. Great wood-ish floors for easy gliding. Loads of space. The teachers I’ve taken here that I love or I haven’t taken yet but I know are fucking fabulous are: Monica Chan, Nate Souryasack, Tad Racca, Rhoville, Alyssa, Sila Poe, Jay Chris Moore, Kate Dimalanta, Jonathan Pham, Lauren Benjamin, Deziree Del Rosario, Eddie Mina, Darius Sparks.
The ones that have my heart the most are:
Monica Chan creates moves that just hit my brain is such a good way
Tad Racca cause his grooves are FIRE and his footwork is fantastically fast
Rho is always guaranteed fun and loads of hairography moments that will give you life
Nate has a flow that GAH just gives me so much joy
The girl loves a pony move and so do I. Thus she is always my favorite. The best goddamn smile. The best goddamn teacher.
They have different people coming in from all of the world doing popups and again, if a popups happens go. Because it’s way cheaper to go here and take a class than flying to LA, renting a car, and taking a class in NoHo.
Susan & Kerry Fitness Classes
They call them fitness classes and true they do have fitness classes. But they teach GROOV3 and Hip Hop cardio and that’s alot of high energy dance. If you never done a grapevine and are really scared about taking hip hop, you must seek out these ladies. They will teach you basic easy moves and you will build upon on it until you are such a groove master. Even though I’ve progressed and taken much harder classes these days, I will return to their classes because it’s fun. Foundations are fun. And this community is so welcoming and joyful.
For me to go to Oakland, the class has to be good. I’m going over a bridge that costs $7, I’m paying $4.25/gallon for gas. It has to be worthwhile for me to go to Oakland and there are two studios that will make me do the 80 mile round trip drive.
In the Groove
Leslie Pantichpakdi and Daniel Kang have created a space that is truly one of the best. The choreo in this place is so damn good. I’ve been taking Leslie’s classes for over 10+ years and so she is my favorite. If you look in my feed, I’m always figuring out her moves more than others.
I mean just look at Leslie’s choreo. How can you not love it.
Daniel Kang is just groovy joy. His vibe is so chill and then when makes us do the moves I’m like holy shit that’s alot. But it’s fun. You’re dying but it’s fun. They have several different dance teams out of this studio and because of this the quality is insane. They bring in popups all the time and these are dancers who are leaders in the hip hop dance community. It is the best place to go and you will have a good time.
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT IN THE GROOVE
They’re expanding and you want to help them grow. Seriously they are going to make the most beautiful space for dance and if you help them with a little donation you will in return get such a fantastic place to dance. Here’s how you can support them.
Full Out Studios
I have left so much sweat on the floors of this studio. And I happily do it every time. They have three studios, 2 medium, 1 huge. Concrete floors so keep that in mind if you have delicate knees. It’s a dream for gliding. The people I love there are Emerson Aquino, Alli Fritz, Rocko Luciano, Georgie Carmack. The 401K dance team also has open classes there are yes you absolutely should go to those because they bring in some amazing choreographers to teach.
The only studio I know of in Hayward also happens to be the best and that’s re.DEFINE. Lead by Michael “Mappy” Mappala and Margela Cruz they have cultivated a community that creates such beautiful dance while also being welcoming to anyone who’s interested in learning. The people I love there are obvi Mappy, Margela, Cole, and Anthony.
Girl Anthony makes my heart soar with the choreo he creates.