Angela Rose Dorantes. Photo by Abraham Rodriguez.

She was just a child when Angela Rose Dorantes took classes in classic dance styles at Betty May Dance Studios near 22nd and Guerrero. The dance school dated back to the 1930s and emphasized jazz, ballet and tap. That studio closed down in the 1980s, and in 1995, Dorantes decided to continue the tradition by opening Steppin’ Out Dance Studio at 697 South Van Ness Ave. 

Dorantes was cleaning its windows on a recent Friday. 

Dorantes, a third-generation, Missionite, is  excited to pass on some traditions to newcomers  and feels fortunate to have the space to do so.

She pulled out some old black-and-white photos that showed a class from the Betty May Dance Studios participating in a May Day celebration at the old Kezar Stadium. 

“Betty May would take a student and train them, almost like an old-school way of passing down information,” Dorantes said.

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7 Comments

  1. Ha!!! Too bad she was born and raised in Noe Valley. I should know. My family lived Nextdoor to her and we attended the same schools.

  2. Angela provides fun, engaging dance classes for kids, but she also offers an adult class for people with disabilities. This class is critical to the dozen students in the class, providing dance, much needed exercise and social experiences. My 27 year old daughter with disabilities has been taking classes and performing at the annual Performance events at local schools since she was 12. Angels is a treasure in our community.

  3. Angela is one of the best dance teachers ever. My daughter with Down syndrome loves her jazz/tap class and has thrived under Angela’s instruction. DanceABILITY is a performance workshop and prepares students to perform on stage. So much fun and excitement! There are special weeks at the beginning of each semester to try out a class. Check it out or join us at the year end performance.

  4. Angela & everybody at Steppin’ Out are just fantastic! So grateful for them in my daughter’s life!

  5. My girls have blossomed in the nurturing and welcoming environment at Steppin’ Out for fourteen years, and it is all due to Angel’s warm and supportive personality which she brings to her teaching. She knows and cares for all of her dancers as individuals, and is so encouraging and joyful. My older daughter may even minor in dance at college, but she will certainly be a life long dancer! What a wonderful contribution she makes to her community! With love and deep appreciation xox

  6. Just a minor correction – the Betty May Studios did not close down in the 1980s, that studio continued from the 1930s until 1995 when Betty passed on. That is when Angela (and I) started Steppin’ Out to continue and expand on Betty May’s traditions. The Van Ness Avenue location came somewhat later, as we rented space elsewhere for a few years. I was Angela’s teacher at Betty May’s when she was a teenager, I am so proud of how she has taken Steppin’ Out and grown it into such an invaluable resource for the neighborhood and beyond!

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