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Online platform keeps tiny tutus on their toes


Technology is enabling tiny tots to continue their classes in front of a screen rather than their local dance school.

Babyballet New Zealand, which has been operating here for three years, followed its British counterpart in using technology to let the youngsters watch their teachers teach from their homes because of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Babyballet has four schools – two in Auckland, and one each in Oamaru and Tauranga – and overall caters for 200 to 300 students across the country.

Keeping classes normal 

Emma Payne, owner of babyballet New Zealand, says the focus is on keeping the classes as normal as possible.

Our babyballet pupils are aged from six months to six years and most have no idea about Covid-19 and the effect it’s having in the world around them.


“It’s our responsibility to keep the babyballet world as normal as possible for them. We will be delivering our online classes with as much passion and energy as ever, it’s just that instead of being in a dance studio, we’ll be on a screen in children’s living rooms.

Remaining very positive

“It’s a worrying time as the world deals with the outbreak of the coronavirus but we are remaining very positive. As more and more families self-isolate and limit the amount of social contact that they have, our primary focus is to ensure children and families in New Zealand can still enjoy babyballet, even if they can’t physically come to classes,” Emma says.

A private and secure online platform is used. While the children can see the teachers, for privacy reasons the teachers can’t see them although they still speak by name to those they know are watching online.

Copied the British 

Emma says they were able to copy the British organisation’s response as it was a couple of weeks ahead of New Zealand.

Babyballet has its headquarters in Halifax, Britain, and has more than 100 dance schools across Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Singapore.

The founder and CEO of babyballet UK, Claire O’Connor, says that because the classes have been able to continue, the franchisees, all small businesses, are also being supported.

Emma, a professional dancer who worked on cruise ships before becoming a cruise director in Europe, came across babyballet in Britain, and, so impressed by it, met the founder and decided it was time to move back to New Zealand.

She set up her own school in November 2019 and bought a master licence for New Zealand, becoming the head office to the schools that began here three years earlier.

A clip of babyballet online in Britain

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