Photo Credit: Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Your kids do the same thing each summer – baseball, camp and staring bleary-eyed at their XBox. Why not mix up their summer repertoire a little this year and sign them up for something out of the ordinary? Dance classes are a great way to make news friends, burn tons of energy and learn a sweet new move or two. Below you’ll find the five best dance classes offered in the greater Pittsburgh area.

Shovlin Academy of Irish Dance
Dormont Municipal Building
1444 Hillsdale Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
(412) 431-7837

Beginning at age five, any child (you don’t need to be of Irish heritage to participate) can sign up for Shovlin Academy’s Irish step classes. Focused primarily on footwork, Irish dancing is performed either individually or by teams, and accompanied by traditional Irish music played on a variety of instruments, such as the fiddle, piano, accordion, flute or banjo. Timing and rhythm are crucial components and it is the intricate and fast-paced footwork that has so enamored the world to this form of dance.

Pittsburgh Heat Dance and Cheer
300 Camp Horne Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15202
(412) 969-8344

Offering hip hop, break dancing, popping and locking techniques, flips and trick styles, PHDC is a drop-in dance center for children and adults ages three and up. No experience is necessary, as the professional dance teachers teach each class in a step-by-step method and introduce something new each session. Dance crews are also currently adding members if you have more experienced dancers in the family. In addition, private lessons are available for the kids who don’t yet feel confident enough to participate in a group class. Drop by today and see what all of the hype is about.

Pittsburgh CLO – Children School
719 Liberty Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 281-3973

Currently registering children ages five to 11, the Children School focuses on song, dance and acting in fun-filled classes that teach both fundamental performance skills and critical thinking. Classes meet weekly, and no worries if your child is over the age of 11, as advanced classes are available for participants all the way up to 18. Interestingly enough, The CLO Academy boasts a 100-percent post-secondary education placement record; alumni have attended Carnegie Mellon University, The Juilliard School, New York University and Point Park University, to name a few.

Related: Best Cheap Activities To Do With Kids In Pittsburgh

Visionary Performing Arts Academy
6107 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
(412) 441-1907

Dance, tap, pre-ballet and ballet are just a few of the visually stimulating dance practices VPAA offers its students. Baby Boppers invites babes ages two to three to learn the fundamentals of dance, while more practiced leads teach classes for participants all the way up to 18 years of age. Martial arts are also available in this spiritually rooted, 15-year-old facility located conveniently in the heart of Pittsburgh.

Jewish Community Center of PA
5738 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
(412) 521-8010

Preschool dance, ballet, tap, hip hop, contemporary and even Israeli folk dancing are just a few of the styles of dance taught this summer at the JCC’s various centers. The classes are based upon ability and level, so advanced preschoolers could very well be with six to seven year olds, while novices could be categorized with younger participants. Drop-in classes are available, and a number of adult classes are also offered; you might consider learning to belly-dance while the kids tap their hearts out. Visit the JCC’s webpage for a number of available class openings, fees and schedules.

Related: Guide To Pittsburgh’s Children’s Museum

Nikki Tiani-Moroney is a full time mum of two boys, wife of a professional poker player/photographer/amateur pencil-sharpening competitor and writer from Pittsburgh, PA. When she isn’t studiously neglecting her housework in favor of a good book, she’s out simultaneously fighting crime and picking up sidewalk litter while savoring an occasional cigarette. Her work can be found at