On Saturday 22nd February, dance teacher and mum of two tiny tots, Jennifer Barrett celebrated 10 years of running the Southport, Crosby and Formby babyballet dance schools by hosting her very own birthday ball. Packed out with friends, family and parents of her treasured babyballet pupils, The Vincent in Southport was the glamorous location for this sparkling event in aid of Tommy’s, babyballet’s charity partner.
Funding research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature births, Tommy’s is a charity close to both babyballet and many people’s hearts and so it was fantastic to see the evening raised £437.38 which will go towards this much needed research and important ongoing work.
Since 2010, Jennifer has brought the joy and magic of dance to thousands of children, teaching the babyballet syllabus to children as young as six months old. Introduced to this fun and enjoyable teaching method by founder, mother and dance teacher, Claire O’Connor, Jennifer was impressed, not only by Claire’s approach to dance but also by the way babyballet operates as a franchise model, giving women both flexibility in their family lives and support to run their own ballet school.
When Claire first set up babyballet 15 years ago, she was driven by the belief that a little one’s early interactions with ballet shouldn’t be associated with a traditionally cold or strict experience. Instead learning to dance should be a fun, educational, relaxed and enjoyable activity for both parent and child. Claire was thrilled to be able to attend the ball along with two other babyballet HQ staff members, who were there in force to congratulate Jennifer on her amazing achievements and to share in the celebrations.
“babyballet is NOTHING without the amazing people who believe in it and you couldn’t get a bigger believer than Miss Jennifer. Not only has she built an amazing franchise and taught thousands of babyballet stars but she has contributed over and above (times a million!) to the bigger picture of the brand as a whole.”
Claire went on to present Jennifer with a glass star babyballet trophy to show just how much she means to the company and her pupils. And of course, there had to be a speech from Jennifer!
“The last ten years have literally flown by. I can’t believe how lucky I am to be able to combine both my family life with my love of dance and teaching. It’s wonderful to see so many people here at the ball tonight celebrating with me an also giving so generously to Tommy’s. I’m lucky to have my two children but I know so many others are not and so I really hope this money will go some way to helping families who haven’t been so fortunate.”
Before joining the babyballet family, Jennifer was a dancer on several cruise ships, entertaining passengers and honing her craft in dance. After returning home to the UK, she met and married her husband and moved back to her hometown of Southport to start a family and her teaching career.
“babyballet have been incredibly supportive during both of my pregnancies. There aren’t many careers where you can combine your maternity leave with teaching and running a business! I’m so grateful to Claire and all the babyballet team, plus my own amazing teachers too. This has been a wonderful evening and I can’t wait to see where the next 10 years will take me!”