Babyballet scoops top dance awards

Baby Ballet celebrate winning national awards: Lucy Crabtree, Donna Greenwood, Chantelle Gledhill, Claire O'Connor, Carlie Butler, Caroline Haggerty and Stephanie John

Baby Ballet celebrate winning national awards: Lucy Crabtree, Donna Greenwood, Chantelle Gledhill, Claire O'Connor, Carlie Butler, Caroline Haggerty and Stephanie John

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Popular Calderdale company babyballet is celebrating its 10th birthday in style – by winning two national awards.

The multi-award winning dance academy – which was started in a converted Halifax mill in 2005 – has won Dance Franchise of the Year and Dance Brand of the Year in the latest “Oscars” of the dance world.

Online Dance Teacher Hub was started last year to bring together and connect dance teachers across the UK. It quickly attracted thousands of followers and announced its first awards at Move It, the UK’s biggest dance event, held in London in March.

There were 12 different categories and businesses and individuals had to send an email about their work and why they deserved to win. Judges then decided on a shortlist and it went to the public vote. Judges included top former ballet dancer, Darcey Bussell, a judge on hit TV show Strictly Come Dancing, and well known dancers, presenters and choreographers Laura Wilson, Matt Flint, Ryan Jenkins and Tom Shilcock.

Babyballet owner Claire O’Connor, said: “There has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears over the past 10 years but I wouldn’t change it for anything. It has been a remarkable journey and we have achieved so much in a short time. I am over the moon we are celebrating our 10th birthday and have won these two prestigious awards.”

Claire, 41, started the company with no capital investment and can now lay claim to it being the UK’s leading pre-school dance concept. Not only has it won numerous awards and been featured on TV and in prestigious newspapers, but it is now a recognised children’s brand and a leading player in the dance market.