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The babyballet Story




Founder Claire O'Connor & Co-Founder Barbara Peters

Mother and daughter team, Claire and Barbara are immensely passionate about babyballet® and have worked tirelessly since 1999 to make it into the award-winning reputable concept it is today - which now has 70 franchised schools teaching over 11,000 children every week. 

Claire’s dream of bringing ballet to everyone – not just the elite – started thanks to her own painful experiences.  She attended classes from the age of three but instead of being the star pupil, as you might expect - as her mother and babyballet co-founder, Barbara Peters, was a professional dancer and teacher - she and ballet didn’t fit together for whatever reason.

“I loved ballet but it didn’t love me. I was the wrong shape and I felt that only the best were accepted. It left me with a tremendous lack of self-confidence and a very poor body image which followed me through to later life,” she says.

Working closely alongside her mother, she set to work to bring fun, non-competitive quality pre-school classes to pre-schoolers, which would be focussed on learning to dance through fun and increasing every child’s confidence.

Initially she only ran classes but has since developed themed parties, uniform, merchandise, the babyballet characters, themed music, live entertainment shows and children’s events and the concept is franchised

Claire introduced the babyballet characters to promote the positive messages of babyballet and they have since become a huge part of the brand, adored by members and non-members alike.

Claire lives in Halifax, where the Headquarters of her business is based, and has four children Harry, Charlie, Claudia and Kitty.

Past awards include ITV’s Mumpreneur; Best Business Parent at the Mum and Working Awards; Halifax Courier Young Business Person (2007) and Entrepreneur (2008); Pulse Radio Local Hero Award; Inspire Award from Calderdale College and finalist in a host of others.

Claire was featured on Channel 4's three part inspiring arts documentary, 'Big Ballet' and, along with ten members of the original cast, continues to perform and spread the positive message that the documentary upheld...that all shapes and sizes can do ballet!

Claire does public speaking and is a keen fundraiser. The babyballet® network as a whole have raised over £30,000 for various charities including BBC Children In Need and Comic Relief and Claire is ambassador at Overgate Hospice in Halifax.

But she says she couldn’t have done it without the support of not just her family, but the loyal and hardworking franchisees and teachers, “The success of babyballet isn’t just down to me it’s down to the fantastic team I work alongside.  I  thank them all greatly for their enthusiasm and energy in making babyballet the successful and happy place it is today.” 

Claire and the entire babyballet® team were thrilled to celebrate babyballet®'s tenth birthday in 2015 and look forward to making many more magical memories in decades to come.


Co-Founder Barbara Peters

Barbara started dancing at the age of two and has gone on to establish herself as one of the country's most respected teachers.
Over the years she has taught tens of thousands of youngsters to appreciate the art form of dance and even today, at the tender age of 77, she still enjoys passing on her knowledge of teaching.
Barbara, a graduate of the Hammond Dance College in Chester, a registered Royal Academy of Dance teacher and a former worldwide examiner of The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) started her dance school in Huddersfield in the 1950s.
After many happy years she is still very much hands-on and has absolutely loved developing the babyballet syllabus and teacher training programme alongside her daughter, Claire.
Barbara ensures that all babyballet teachers are carefully recruited, trained and supported in order to provide the very best tuition. 
Barbara says that the biggest reward she gets is seeing youngsters blossom and grow in confidence through babyballet
Barbara, who has three children and eight grandchildren, believes we were all born to dance and that it doesn't just help with our posture, confidence, well being and stress levels but helps keep us smarter and younger!
She is proof it works and has no plans to retire. Barbara says, "dancing keeps me young and I love being a part of babyballet so that I can pass on my knowledge and passion for dance and ballet to the younger generations and the teachers. I'm so proud to be associated with such an amazing team."


Copyright © 2015 babyballet® Franchising Limited Head Office:
Empire House, 11 Mulcture Hall Road, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX1 1SP
Tel: 01422 329471
Registered Company Number: 06793999 (babyballet Franchising Ltd.)
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