A Halifax dance school for young children has gone global with the opening of new branches Down Under.
Babyballet started as a project of Claire O’Connor in 2005 based out of a Halifax gym and now boasts 33 franchises in Australasia as well as 73 in the UK, teaching more than 20,000 children.
Claire, who has won four Halifax Courier business awards, plans to use the firm’s recent expansion to open a new warehouse in the town.
The school began with a dream of bringing ballet to all, not just the most talented, students after Claire took up dance a child but found she did not fit in.
She said: “I loved ballet but it didn’t love me. I was the wrong shape and I felt that only the best students were accepted. It left me with a tremendous lack of self-confidence and a very poor body image which followed me through to later life.
“I started Babyballet so every pre-school child who attends class has a positive experience of dance whilst still learning the basic ballet technique, with a focus on play and lots of fun.”
After three trips to Australia, Babyballet now has franchises in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Auckland. Claire said: “All the teachers in Australia and New Zealand who have taken out a license are women and already run their own dance studio. With babyballet’s knowledge and experience we can help our franchisees develop as business leaders too. At the heart of babyballet is the young children and watching them on both sides of the world enjoying the pre-school dance programme is a dream come true.
“We hope we can encourage more young children to dance and exercise whilst building their confidence and enjoyment of dance too.”