TOPS Ballet is a small ballet school founded by a former principal ballerina named Jing Jing from the Tianjin Ballet Theater, and her husband Thomas, who was also a professional dancer. He lived and worked in Japan for years and has been to many countries in Europe. He speaks perfect English and Japanese, as well as Chinese, of course, and the ballet teachers are professional ballerinas who studied at the Beijing Dance Academy.
The school is small but welcoming and they have a small dressing area for the students. The very best thing about this school is that, as far as I can tell, they are the only ballet instructors in the city who take a Western approach to ballet and don’t believe in the rigorous stretching regimen practiced by Chinese ballet instructors, even with very small children (if you’ve ever walked by a Chinese ballet class you may have noticed lines of tiny girls lying flat on the ground in perfect splits, but most Western teachers think this is damaging and don’t do it at all–this painful stretching (up against a wall with the teacher’s foot pushing her down into the stretch) ended my own daughter’s love affair with ballet). The instructors speak Chinese, but French ballet terms are used and Thomas is available to interpret if necessary. If you have any interest in ballet, whether for your child or yourself (they have adult classes as well), check out the website below and contact Thomas. You will be so glad you did!
Room 1302, Henghua Building 13F, 501 Dagu Nan Lu, Hexi District (by Xiawafang Subway Station)
Helpful Directions: From the Xiawafang subway station, take exit D. As you walk up out of the station, as you face the road that runs right next to the exit, you will see a more major road to your right and two very tall brown buildings in front of you. The ballet school is in the second of these two buildings. Walk along the side of these buildings that faces the main road all the way to the far corner of the second building and go around it to the left, and go in the revolving doors. You will have to go to the thirteenth floor, but these elevators have no 13th floor, its A3. When you get out of the elevator and approach the hall, you will walk down the hall to your right. Below there’s a great photo they made to show you exactly how to go.