babyballet® is the pride and joy of Claire O’Connor and her mum, Barbara, who launched her ballet classes for pre-school children back in 2005. Claire’s love for showing young children how fun ballet can be, has spread throughout the country and overseas as they franchised their business to reach as many families as possible, giving their babyballet stars enjoyment, developing their creativity, self-confidence, and enhancing coordination. The franchise has gone from strength to strength, recently with yet another successful territory launch for babyballet!
babyballet Stevenage launched on 20th April by the amazing, Lauren and Lucy. Lauren is one of babyballet’s current franchisee’s, owning Biggleswade and Bedford, and had the idea to expand further south before the COVID pandemic began, which, like many other things, was put on hold.
Lucy has been teaching at the Bedford branch since its opening 5 years ago and has dreamt of becoming a franchisee herself. Biggleswade had just celebrated its 7th year in business and because of its success, Lucy decided to go for it, and Lauren offered her support by going into it as a joint venture.
“It’s the best thing I ever did”
Lauren had been a professional performer in the West End for 15 years. She has performed in productions such as ‘We will rock you’ and ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ to name just a few. Not only does Lauren dance, she also sings and acts, a triple threat! It was whilst working on a production of Billy Elliot as Deputy Wardrobe Mistress, that she fell pregnant with her son Alfie. Wanting to be able to spend more time with her son and her husband, she felt that performing may be coming to an end and Lauren was seeking a new path.
One of Lauren’s fellow performers became the owner of the Surrey branch after falling pregnant a few years earlier, and her husband, who was working in Billy Elliot along side Lauren, had suggested becoming a franchisee for babyballet, as it had worked so well for them; being the owner of a babyballet franchise would no doubt give her the family life she wanted.
And it worked! Alfie used to come to classes with her and he himself joined in to 2 shows with her. Alfie is now 8 years old, so a little old for baby ballet, but he still comes along and loves to help out.
“It really is the best job to be in and be a mum”
Lauren has won many awards since starting her classes in 2015. She was chosen as a finalist for ‘Self Employed Business Woman of the Year’ in 2016 for the Bedfordshire Business woman awards. She was also nominated for ‘Most Outstanding Activity leader’ in the What’s On for Little Ones Awards in 2016 and 2017. As well as winning ‘Best New Business’ in the Bedfordshire Business Woman Awards 2017and awarded Highly Commended in the prestigious Mum and Working Awards in the ‘Most Inspiring Business Parent’ category 2018. In 2021 she also won a ‘Silver Award’ in the SME Luton and Bedford Business Awards in the ‘Business Chameleon’ category for her hard work during the Covid pandemic. A list that is certainly something to be extremely proud of and which made Lauren the perfect mentor for an ambitious Lucy!
Lucy started off training in the International Dance Teachers Association (IDTA) Syllabus at her local dance school when she was growing up, then went on to university to study dance. Trying to figure out if she wanted to go down the performance or teaching route, Lucy finally decided teaching was her passion. Unfortunately, Lucy’s university decided to stop the teaching aspect of her course so Lucy decided to leave. Still determined that teaching was where her future lay, she then decided to start her teacher training with the IDTA, and passed her exams just before lockdown. Lucy joined babyballet after responding to an advert posted by Lauren who was looking for a teacher. Lucy did her full babyballet training with Lauren which then allowed for the launch of babyballet Bedford, where Lucy is the main teacher. After an uncertain start at university, finally everything felt as though it was falling into place for her when babyballet became a part of her life.
“babyballet gives a different side of teaching, it never feels like a job!”
With Lucy’s ambition to become a franchisee, and Laurens experience they are a perfect fit for the Stevenage branch.
So, what’s in store for the future of the Stevenage branch?
“We are building our empire!”
Lauren and Lucy want to keep expanding their territory to Letchworth, Hitchin and surrounding areas. Reaching as many babyballet stars as they can! They also have dreams of opening their own dance school to cater for babyballet students after the age of 6, and already have a name in mind!
“Dream Team Dance Academy”
babyballet® co-founder, Claire O’Connor, had asked Lauren when she had first met her, where she saw herself in 5 years’ time, to which Lauren had replied ‘I want to own a Kitty Car!’ and guess what – she has one! A car which has become a baton that she is handing over to Lucy to take the reins! Lucy loves the car just as much as Lauren does so, she is in good hands!
These inspiring women will no doubt take their babyballet schools to an incredible level in their part of the UK. They are the right balance of ambition and experience, and both have an incredible passion for what babyballet is all about.
“babyballet is so unique, we capture their imaginations so young and get to watch their journeys. Knowing the children will always remember you is special”
“babyballet’s tagline Dream, Believe, Achieve is so true! Dreams really do come true!”
If you would like to join Miss Lauren and Miss Lucy in Stevenage, you can find them here babyballet » Dance classes near me » Book a class today