Latest babyballet News
Twinkle and Teddy have been 'beary' busy creating the latest edition of The Twinkle and Teddy Times. To go directly to a story, click on the link below:
- All the Thrills of the Big Top for Dancer Laura
- A grand total raised for Comic Relief!
- babyballet® competition winners attend Peppa Pig premier screening
- Dancing to save babies lives in the Tommy's Danceathon!
- All other news
Latest News - April 2017
Roll up, roll up and put your hands together for former circus dancer Laura Cottrell who has just expanded her business empire.
The 36-year-old is now proud owner of babyballet® in Bulkington, near Nuneaton, Warwickshire.
Laura, who has been dancing since she was two, already owns Warwickshire Dance Academy (WDA) which she started 14 years ago and has classes all over the county. The classes cater for children and adults. She took her three-year-old son, Niall, to Bulkington babyballet® classes, loved the programme, and when the franchise came up for sale, decided it was too good an opportunity to miss.
“babyballet® is a recognised children’s brand, has a great reputation and I am looking forward to being part of the babyballet® team,” says Laura who lives in Strafford with her husband, Nathan, son Niall and their seven-year-old daughter Aiofe.
Laura attended Pattisons College in Coventry and went on to dance professionally in Europe. Most of that time was spent dancing with a touring circus which she says was great fun. Her dream was always to run her own dance academy, so when she came back to England she worked for Pattisons teaching dance, before starting WDA.
She has numerous teaching qualifications and plans to teach at babyballet, and expand the classes. At present the school has 15 classes a week which 130 children attend. “I’d like to add more classes and attract more youngsters in the next 12 months, and do an annual babyballet show. Nathan and my family are really supportive and bringing that family feeling to babyballet classes is really important to me.”
Two lucky babyballet® winners and their families enjoyed a magical day out at the premier screening of Peppa Pig: My First Cinema Experience at an exclusive London location on Saturday 25th March 2017. Following a competition on the babyballet® Facebook page, which received over 650 entries, Morgan and Rosie were chosen at random and received tickets to the screening along with some 'tutu' cute babyballet® goodies.
"My little piggy had all the fun in the world on Saturday. We honestly had the best day ever! It was very well organised and set up all for the children to enjoy lots of cool activities" said babyballet® mummy, Emily, who takes Morgan to classes at the babyballet® Dartford, Bexley and Bromley Franchise. "I'm so thankful the opportunity to go! We really loved every minute."
Rosie, who doesn't attend babyballet® classes also had a brilliant day and looked adorable in her babyballet® tutu. "Thank you so much for Rosie's wonderful prize, she had an amazing experience!" said mum, Victoria.
babyballet® would like to thank their friends at entertainmentOne for providing the tickets and a wonderful day out.
For more competitions and to keep up to date with all the magic at babyballet®, take a look at their Facebook page: @babyballetUK
babyballet and Peppa Pig have been fundraising for Tommy’s ... babyballet stars have hopped, skipped and jumped to raise money for baby charity Tommy’s when they took part in the first ever Tommy’s ‘Danceathon’. Boys and girls aged 6 months – 6 years were sponsored to complete a Peppa Pig themed dance lesson to fund vital research into stillbirth, premature birth and miscarriage. The children, parents, teachers and franchisees have helped to raise a whopping £371,154.47 nationwide.
The money that these babyballet stars have raised for Tommy’s will help to fund vital research into stillbirth, premature birth and miscarriage at the 4 Tommy’s research centres across the UK. As well as this, Tommy’s provides advice and support for all parents-to- be to help them have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
The Danceathon, sponsored by Arla Big Milk, was the first ever time this event had taken place. Jane Brewin, CEO of Tommy’s, said:
“We're thrilled to have worked with babyballet and to raise the incredible amount of money that we have done through the Tommy’s Danceathon. Tommy’s are the largest charity funding research into the causes of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. Partnering with babyballet has helped us move one step closer to achieving our goal of halving the number of babies that die during pregnancy or birth by 2030. The money that was raised will make a real difference to families across the UK and we are so grateful to every single babyballet star for supporting us in our efforts.”
Calling all babyabllet® stars … Dance to help save babies lives this October!
babyballet® and Peppa Pig are coming together to raise vital funds for Tommy’s the baby charity … This October, we are delighted to give your babyballet® star the opportunity to take part in the Tommy’s Danceathon at babyballet®. This is a fabulously fun event that will take place during your regular babyballet® classes (please contact your local babyballet® school as dates may vary).
So what is the Tommy’s Danceathon?
Your babyballet® star will take part in a special Peppa Pig themed ballet lesson as part of their regular babyballet® class. We hope you will help your babyballet® star to gain sponsorship from as many friends and family as possible, to raise funds for Tommy’s.
Why are we supporting Tommy’s?
Every year in the UK, 1 in 4 families lose a baby during pregnancy or birth. That’s a quarter of couples trying for a baby, left devastated by stillbirth, miscarriage or premature delivery.
As the UK’s leading baby charity, Tommy’s funds vital research and provides information on the causes and prevention of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.
What happens next?
All we need you to do is set up an online sponsorship page via the link sent from your babyballet® school and then send the link to all your friends and family. If you use Facebook or Twitter, post the link on there to tell all your friends – they can’t sponsor your little one if they don’t know about it!
We hope you’re as keen as we are to raise money for such a worthwhile cause, and one so close to all our hearts.
We’re off to save some babies lives ...
Bring your babyballet® star to join us!
*For more information contact your local babyballet www.tommys.org/danceathon
Three new franchisees spread the babyballet® magic ...
She’s appeared on stage with Irish boy band Boyzone.
And rubbed shoulders with lots of others celebrities, in panto and the West End.
But now dancer Zara Vance is to star in her very own production - running her own babyballet business.
The 32-year-old, who hails from Northern Ireland, has bought the babyballet franchise for Wimbledon, New Malden and Epson North, and has ambitious plans to make her new venture stand out.
Zara, who has been dancing since she could walk, moved to Surrey at 16 when she got a scholarship to Laine Theatre Arts, Epsom. She did a three-year national diploma in dance followed by a BA (Hons) in musical theatre.
She then did TV and stage work and a tour with Beauty and The Beast, before moving into teaching some years ago. She taught at babyballet classes for several months, and realised this was her vocation.
“It’s such a wonderful company. Children get a strong foundation in dance but retain that all important element of fun. I want to be the face of the business, get to know my pupils well and take it to new heights,” says Zara, who is a bridal model in her spare time and works all over the country at wedding shows and exhibitions.
She starts her new business venture this September at various locations in the three districts and is offering 14 classes over five days. She hopes by the end of this year to expand classes and employ trained teachers.
Anyone who would like more details can contact her on 07711928224 or at email@example.com.
Devout Christian Heather Baines is putting a lot of faith, hope, love and prayer into her new business.
In fact the 25-year-old believes a touch of divine inspiration led her to buy into babyballet in the first place.
Heather has always spent a good part of her life around the church. Her family attend St John The Evangelist, Greengates, Bradford, and she is the youngest member of The Glen Singers, a mixed voice choir based at Thackley Methodist Church, Bradford. Her mum, step-dad and grandma are all members of the choir, and her step-dad has just been ordained as a Vicar.
As well as enjoying singing, Heather loves dancing and started when she was just four-years-old. She went on to get a dance degree at the University of Chester and since then has worked as a freelance dance teacher. One of her jobs was teaching at babyballet classes.
Heather loved teaching at babyballet so much she decided to become a franchisee, and is now proud owner of the babyballet Bradford North school. She opens her doors this September, and has ambitious plans for her first business venture, which includes having 25 classes in the next three years.
In her spare time Heather is a Girl Guide leader and scuba diving. Her passion for working with children comes from growing up with her dad and step-mum giving back to the community by fostering. She grew up and still lives in Wrose with her partner Adam, who along with the rest of her family has been a great support as she starts her new venture.
Anyone who would like more details can contact her on 07584084101 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
babyballet has a new angel, in the shape of new franchisee Betty Lyons.
Betty, who lives in Bramhall, Stockport, is a member of girl band, The Angelettes. The trio are a Motown Tribute Show who perform at clubs, holiday parks, private parties and weddings.
Betty even sang at her own wedding, to Rob Lyons, a Manchester solicitor, earlier this year.
But it’s her feet she hopes will be doing the talking when she opens a branch of babyballet in Bramhall and surrounding areas.
Betty has an impressive dance CV. She was just two when she started ballet and went on to do the associates Programme with the Royal Ballet School. She then got a scholarship to Bird College, Sidcup, Kent where she did a three year diploma in dance, music and theatre performance.
A stint on cruise ships followed before she returned home and decided teaching dance was what she wanted to do. She obtained a First Class (Hons) degree from The Open University in dance teaching and the past four years has taught dance at various schools in the Stockport and Cheshire areas.
It was an 18-month-spell teaching at a babyballet academy that made her realise that was where her heart was, so she has become a franchisee, and on September 3rd opens her doors at two venues in Bramhall.
“It’s been a crazy year. First organising a wedding and now starting my first business, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it so far and can’t wait to welcome youngsters through my doors”, says Betty who’s hobbies include running and yoga.
“I love teaching and children, and feel the time is right to be my own boss. babyballet is a fantastic company to be part of. It’s got a great reputation and helps youngsters both in physical development and in gaining confidence .”
Anyone who would like more details can contact her on 07399427449 or at email@example.com.
Hours: Full time but flexible for the right candidate
Are you the next person to join the magical babyballet Head Office Team?
Award winning babyballet is the UK’s favourite pre-school dance network. We are looking to recruit an innovative and experienced retail professional to take our e-commerce based clothing and accessories sales performance to the next level. The ideal candidate will have online retail experience and have a track record of creative and successful product promotion and merchandising. Exceptional customer satisfaction is our aim so we are looking for someone who is totally committed to excellence. A passion for all things pink would be an advantage! Flexible hours and competitive terms.
The Retail and Merchandising Manager will be responsible for the following:
- Drive the strategy for the department to meet business and financial objectives
- Identify, develop and launch new product lines to deliver a customer focused range
- Analyse internal and external data to influence future buying patterns and product lines
- Maintain commercial and competitor awareness to ensure product lines flourish
- Develop a calendar of seasonal promotions
- Liaise with suppliers to secure optimum procurement routes
- Ensure buying and merchandising plans tie in with finance and stock targets
- Ensure supplier terms are utilised to hit company targets
- Review monthly trading performance against KPI's
- Communicate effectively with all stakeholders and support our franchise business partners to maximise retail sales
- Manage the Retail and Merchandising Team
The ideal candidate will have the following skills and attributes:
- Track record of delivering results within a similar merchandising role
- Educated to degree level or strong industry experience
- Extensive merchandise experience in a competitive multi-channel environment
- Excellent analytical skills
- IT proficient and specifically Microsoft Excel
- Demonstrates an understanding of markets and conditions that drive customer expectations
- Demonstrates excellent management and communication skills with the ability to promote a strong team spirit
- Absolute commitment to the brand
A first year university student is about to make babyballet history.
Lucy King is showing true entrepreneurial spirit by starting her own babyballet business. She is the first full-time university student to take on a babyballet franchise.
By day, 19-year-old Lucy has her head stuck in books about physics. But at weekends the talented teenager can be found teaching an altogether different form of science to youngsters. That of ballet.
Lucy attends the University of Strathclyde and hopes to leave in three years time with a degree in physics. She juggles her studies with teaching ballet to youngsters. Next month (August) she is opening her own babyballet school in Kirkintilloch, Glasgow.
Lucy, who has been dancing since she was three, is loving babyballet® so much that she teamed up with her mum Annette, to bring the magical dance classes to boys and girls in the Kirkintilloch area. “Lucy is a very natural and enthusiastic teacher with the little ones and I am excited that we are teaming up together to bring babyballet® to a brand new area” says Annette.
Lectures and teaching aside, Lucy is also an experienced cheerleader and over the last 15 years she has represented her team and Scotland at various competitions both in the UK and abroad on numerous occasions.
Most recently Lucy has competed with her team as Team Scotland at the International Cheer Union world championships in Orlando, Florida, as well as competing with her team at the USASF Dance Worlds the same weekend.
“Representing both Scotland and my team against the rest of the world doing something I love is something I am very proud of,” says Lucy, “and now I am teaming up with my mum and babyballet®, I can’t wait to see what happens next in our new venture!”
Lucy and Annette’s new babyballet classes will be held in Lenzie, Kirkintilloch and Milton of Campsie on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. They have an opening offer of £15 for a three week trial. If the demand is there Lucy and Annette hope to expand with more classes.
Mum and Working feature babyballet® Founder Claire O'Connor
This month babyballet® Founder Claire O'Connor is proud to be featured on the Mum and Working website in an 'Interview with parents in business'. Read about Claire's background and why she set up babyballet; along with her highlights of the last 11 years and exciting plans for the future:
"Claire set up babyballet on her own in 2005 with no captial investment and can now lay claim to it being the UK's leading pre-school dance concept. Her company is a prominent player in the franchise market and a recognised children's brand, and she is a sought after public speaker who has won numerous awards. Claire has exciting plans to expand babyballet worldwide." Click here to read more.
At babyballet, we don’t to do things by halves.
Two years ago our ambitious and hard-working team brought dance legend Wayne Sleep to babyballet’s annual conference in Halifax.
Wayne, who lives in London and is one of the biggest names in the ballet world, not only passed on his ballet wisdom but danced with franchisees too, and the story hit the headlines.
This year we decided to look further afield for a star speaker, and came up with award winning Australian entrepreneur Clint Salter. Clint is a marketing genius who helps dance academy owners turn their passion into profit, through his mentoring programmes and workshops.
Clint, who has been involved with the dance profession for more than 21 years, was in the UK last year and met our founder Claire O’Connor at a dance event. Claire invited him to the conference this month. He travelled from his home in Sydney to Halifax for the two-day event and his talk was a huge hit with our franchisees.
“It was such an inspirational conference - the best to date according to staff at head office, and our franchisees. Clint really hit the mark and franchisees left feeling excited, motivated and determined to grow their businesses to the next level. As well as being educational and supportive the conference was also great fun,” says Claire.
The 42-year-old set up babyballet eleven years ago in Halifax and it is now the Uk’s leading pre-school dance concept with 70 franchisees across the country and over 11,000 youngsters attending hundreds of classes.
Clint, who runs the Dance Studio Owners Association, spent five years working as a celebrity agent managing some of Australia’s leading TV and media personalities. He is now in America for three months working at other dance related conferences.
The conference, held at The Shay Stadium, Halifax, included presentations and interactive workshops on subjects such as digital marketing, business development, networking and NSPCC child protection. Speakers included Kirsty McGregor, Thinksmart Software, Richard Hartley and Sharda Parthasarathi.
“Many of our franchisees brought their pink babyballet cars and it was wonderful to see them networking, sharing ideas and making new friends. I love catching up with them, they are always so enthusiastic and encouraging.”
Annette King, from Kirkintilloch in Glasgow, who joined babyballet as a franchisee only one week before the conference, was delighted she could attend. “The timing of the conference couldn't have been better for me as a newly signed up franchisee. I thoroughly enjoyed everything from the fantastic inputs from Clint Salter to the infectious passion and enthusiasm of my newly found pink family which clearly never grows old thanks to Claire and her team at head office - If this is it at the starting line I cannot wait to see the rest of the course.”
Claire Westwood, runs her franchise in Bournemouth and Poole and she too had a wonderful time at the conference. “I absolutely loved this year’s conference! I have taken so away so many useful tips and suggestions on how to grow my business alongside a fantastic positive attitude about the year ahead. I particularly loved the key note speaker Clint Salter and can’t wait until next year already!”
Another highlight of the conference was the launch of a huge fundraiser to be held at all babyballet schools across the UK in October in aid of Tommy’s baby charity in association with Peppa Pig. babyballet stars will gain sponsorship from families and friends to dance in a specially themed Peppa Pig babyballet class.
babyballet® stars say 'Eh-oh' to the Teletubbies!
Published 19th May 2016
Three young babyballet® stars are set to twirl their way into Tellytubbyland on Friday 20th May, making their small-screen debut on hit CBeebies programme Teletubbies.
After waiting more than a year for the episode to air, Minnie Garner, 5, Alyssa Beasley, 5, and Isabella Van Allen, 4, can finally enjoy the moment they showed off their dancing 'good toes' to Twinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po with their friends and family gathered around the TV.
Planning for the programme began as far back as January 2015, when babyballet® was contacted by the Teletubbies production team, who wanted to hand-pick some budding ballet stars to appear in an epidsode of the hit children's show.
After attending one of our Movers classes (3-4-year-olds), they chose three little stars aged three and four at the time, who they thought would be perfect for the episode and arranged a filming date with their parents. The episode was filmed at one of their houses in February last year, which featured the children practising some of the ballet they have learned in class.
"To have been able to provide this opportunity for them is so rewarding. I'm very proud of Minnie, Alyssa and Isabella and am so thrilled that they are involved in the programme. They were more than excited to say the least!" said Miss Shelley from babyballet® Hinckley and Burbage.
Founded in Halifax, babyballet® is a fun, award-winning pre-school dance concept for girls and boys aged from six months to six years. With schools right across the UK, babyballet® dance classes allow babies, toddlers and young children to enjoy the physical and social benefits of ballet, song and dance in a safe, caring, positive and informal environment. With a real focus on learning through play, the unique babyballet® syllabus offers four key stages of ballet and tap classes.
At babyballet® every child can build their confidence and social skills: learning manners, discipline and respect. While also developing their basic ballet technique, coordination, musicality, balance, posture and rhythm. Fully qualified, friendly and engaging dance teachers are joined in class by the babyballet® bears, Twinkle and Teddy, who help to encourage all the little stars to interact and share as they learn to dance without any pressure.
babyballet® dance classes include ballet and tap for boys and girls, from babies to tots, toddlers, pre-schoolers and school-starters. The extrememly popular classes run daily across the UK. You can find your nearest class by clicking here.
The Teletubbies episode, featuring the babyballet® stars, airs on CBeebies at 7am on Friday 20 May.
NOMINATED: What's On 4 Little Ones Awards! Here at babyballet® we are delighted to have been nominated for:
- Best baby and toddler development activity (newborn - 2 years)
- Best national pre-school development activity (2-5 years)
- Along with 'Most Outstanding Activity Leader' (in all categories) for our amazing franchisees and teachers across the country.
But now it's down to YOU! Click here to show your support and vote for babyballet®!
Three new babyballet Franchisees set to bring the magic of babyballet to Winsford, Bognor Regis and Stafford!
See below, or click on the link to read all about our new babyballet schools.
babyballet Bognor Regis
babyballet Stafford North
Babyballet is heading for Winsford
Published 16th February 2016
A former professional dancer who has danced all over the world is to pass her passion on to the next generation of dancers.
Natasha Gillan is opening her own babyballet school in Winsford, Cheshire, this month (February) and there is no shortage of willing youngsters wanting to join her.
Before the 29-year-old even opens her doors she has more than 100 children on her books - thanks to the power of social media.
Natasha, who lives in Winsford, has been dancing since she could walk and after leaving school attended the Merseyside Dance and Drama College. She got her first professional job at a holiday camp and then moved onto cruise liners and says it was wonderful to get paid for doing something she loved whilst seeing the world at the same time. She has danced all over Europe and seen America and China too.
She got homesick however and after getting engaged to her boyfriend, Ben, 12 months ago, decided it was time to put down roots. The couple are getting married in May 2017. She taught fitness and dance classes, at various dance schools when she returned to the UK one of them being a babyballet school.
“I love children and teaching and knew instantly this was my future, so I decided to open my own babyballet school. It’s scary starting my own business but exciting too, and the interest already shown proves there is a need for such an academy in Winsford,” says Natasha.
Natasha is opening at Polar Palace Play Centre and St Chad’s Church Hall on February 23 and hopes to expand and add more venues later in the year.
She has an introductory offer of £15 for