The Studio, School of Classical Ballet, Santa Cruz, CA
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About The Studio, School of Classical Ballet

The Studio, School of Classical Ballet, is the official academy of Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre and has been training dancers since 1976. Directors Diane Cypher and Robert Kelley lead a professional team of instructors in training the professionally-minded and recreational student alike. Our three diverse programs ensure there is a level of intensity and enjoyment for everyone: Preparatory Ballet for ages four to seven, Professional Training Program for serious students eight and up, and Adult and Teen Ballet classes. Advanced level curriculum includes Modern Dance, and a Teacher Training Course for those students who are interested in a dance-instruction vocation. Visit our Choosing A Ballet School info page for helpful details about ballet schools in general...

Our official syllabus is based on the time-honored Vaganova teaching method, with influences from the Royal Academy of Dancing syllabus, the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet syllabus, as well as our own extensive teaching experience. The Studio has been recognized year after year for its thorough training by Regional Dance America. Many of our graduates have continued on to professional dance careers in major companies around the globe. Visit our Programs page for more information about our actual curriculum...


The Studio was founded in 1976 and directed by Jean Dunphy for many years. Diane Cypher and Robert Kelley became directors in 1998 and brought with them Principal Instructor Linda Lock.

In 1986, Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre was formed, making more performance opportunities available to the talented dancers at The Studio. Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre has earned and maintained the status of Honor Company with Regional Dance America. It is the only RDA Company recognized in the entire Silicon Valley/South Bay/Santa Cruz/Monterey County areas.


The Studio features three spacious studios, all with sprung floors and professional marley surfaces. These surfaces ensure safe dancing for all of our students. Our largest studio is the same size as the Cabrillo College Crocker Theater stage, big enough for rehearsal of any full-length ballet, including a Corps of Swans. Our Pre-Ballet studio features a viewing window, so little dancers are never out of sight. There is a women's dressing room and bathrooms for both genders on the premises, a comfortable lobby as well as an office where you can meet our registrar, Sandy Nelson, pay tuition, sign up for classes, buy ballet slippers for littles ones, and buy snacks and energy drinks.

Originally located in downtown Santa Cruz, The Studio was destroyed in the Loma Prieta earthquake. New facilities were refurbished in Soquel, our current location. The Studio will move to the Tannery Arts Center when its new building is ready. Our Director, Robert Kelley is one of the original TAC board members and has been working on the project since 1999.

Our Mission

Our goals are to instill a love of dance in each student, while preparing serious students with the rigorous training necessary for a career in classical ballet. Students are approached with professionalism, knowledge, experience, and are nurtured to their full potential. Our faculty has a vast knowledge of the physical, mental, and artistic requirements of classical ballet. Each student is held to our high standards as they move through our syllabus, gaining confidence, skills, and poise.

The Studio has a proven record of success in training dancers. Its graduates have continued on to careers with Ballet
San Jose, Cincinnati Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet, Ballet Frankfurt, Sacramento Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Los Angeles Ballet, Nederlands Dance Theatre, State Street Ballet, Utah Regional Ballet, and the Broadway touring company called, "Movin' Out." Others have continued on to higher education and have become contributing members of our society.

Our Programs

The Studio has three programs: Preparatory, Professional, and Adult/Teen. All programs offer new enrollment throughout the year.

The Preparatory Ballet Program (for children ages four to eight) introduces the discipline of ballet through games, stretching, and coordination exercises. Here students learn how to follow and carry out simple instructions. Click here for further details about our Preparatory Ballet Program...

In the Professional Training Program, students train to achieve the lofty goal of professional dancer. Here, the rewards of attaining long-term goals are experienced and savored. Students who choose other careers are empowered by a love for the art form as well as physical grace, agility, and heightened learning skills.Click here to learn more about our professional training...

The Adult/Teen Program features a flexible schedule of beginning through advanced classes for recreational study and exercise in a professional atmosphere. Visit our Programs page for more information about our teen-adult classes...


Our Photographers
Thanks much to the local photographers who support
our activiies and provide beautiful pictures for both
The Studio and the families for years to come.

Classroom Photos
Jim Schwartz (free-lance photographer)
Molly Hanson, student of The Studio

Performance Photos
Bari Lee
Lynne Owen

Our Website Designer ~ Webmaster
Suzanne Dion ~ chaeldion group intl

The Film
The short documentary shown above, about The Studio and Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre,
was generously underwritten by Carroll Harrington and filmed and edited by
local Santa Cruz filmmaker Devi Pride. Interviews and footage were filmed
during The Studio's 2013 Summer Intensive Programs. Thank you to everyone
who participated.