our story

the babyballet

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 over 100 franchised and licensed schools teaching over 25,000 children every week in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Claire’s story

Barbara’s Story


From Halifax to New Zealand – babyballet® celebrates 15th birthday!

babyballet® has achieved impressive growth since 2005 and now has 83 franchisees across the UK running around 2,000 classes a week for 25,000 children. The company has also gone global with licences in Singapore and Australia.

babyballet® has a year of celebrations planned to celebrate its milestone anniversary and is delighted to have secured the New Zealand appointment.

(Above: Members of the Head Office team who have worked in the business since opening in 2005)

The classes were established by Claire O’Connor in 2005 based on her belief that children’s experiences with ballet should be a fun, relaxed and enjoyable activity.

The immediate demand for the sessions exploded and so Claire knew there was an opportunity to expand further so that more children could benefit. She developed the babyballet business into a franchise model and her company hasn’t looked back.

She explained: “I attended traditional ballet classes from the age of 3 to 14 but by the time I got to my teens I started to lose my confidence. I went through a period of low self-confidence and felt I wasn’t the right shape for ballet.

“But I didn’t want other children to feel that way too, so years later, I began offering babyballet classes in Halifax. The emphasis of the classes was then, as it is now, on building fun and confidence.”

Part of the current focus is to continue to develop the brand overseas. Emma Payne has been appointed as the master licensee, to grow the brand across New Zealand, by recruiting new dance studio owners as licensees.

Click here to continue reading about Emma, our new master licensee in New Zealand.

Our babyballet® 15th birthday has been celebrated and shared by We Are UMi, The Business Desk, Insider Media, The Huddersfield Examiner and more!

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and friends


“I’d always dreamed of running my own ballet school so when I heard that babyballet were looking to expand their franchises – well, it just felt like the right time for me to go ahead with my plan. For me babyballet gives children something far more meaningful than learning to dance. It gives them confidence and a real joy in dance that I don’t think I’ve seen before. The babyballet team are really supportive of me and nothing is ever too much trouble.”

Miss Felicity, babyballet Huddersfield