About Us

The Baby Ballerinas & Co Program is a Pre-School Dance and Ballet Program for children and kids in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Areas of New South Wales

Baby Ballerinas & Co is based in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie regions of New South Wales, Australia. The program was first taught in 2002 and opened with 6 students, by the end of 2005 there were 280 Baby Ballerinas with classes operating six days per week, by 2013 the studio had grown to about 400 students ranging in ages between 2 and 16. Many of the older students started in the Baby Ballerinas & Co program. The immense growth attests to the strength of this program.

The Baby Ballerinas program was designed by Karen Barker-Rogers, Australian Ballet School graduate, with many years experience as an international professional dancer, a ballet teacher and adjudicator. After juggling working, teaching and raising two children, Miss Karen realised the need to cater for Pre-School children and families of this new, often time poor, generation. Miss Karen's Program is especially designed to expand each child's individual creativity and artistic abilities.

Courtesy of Daily Telegraph 2010

Baby Ballerinas guide 3 to 5 year olds through creative and positive use of imagery. The programme helps to develop a child’s gross motor skills and stimulates a social involvement with music and dance. It develops an appreciation of rhythm and timing, music, movement and grace during the most receptive time in their lives. The program is especially designed to expand the student’s own individual creativity and artistic abilities while still providing a framework of discipline and commitment within a studio environment dedicated to safe dance practice.

Baby Jazz ages 3 to 5 years, is another popular alternative dance form offered in this program. Ideal class for boys and girls, with high energy impact.

Little Cherubs Dance Class for children 2 to 3 years. A parent joins in with their baby in the class. Two classes per week: Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 start for 45 minutes. $147 per school term. A special developmental and bonding time. See timetable for dates. The first week can be a trial*. Spaces are limited so booking essential. Register online and you will receive a confirmation email and details in response.

Operating Principles

- Develop a child's gross motor skills and stimulate a social involvement with music and dance.
- Expand the student's own individual creativity and artistic abilities.
- Assure students achieve a sense of rhythm and expression.
- Create an appreciation of dance and music, which will remain with the student always.
- To develop a technical classical ballet base that will provide a solid platform for future growth.

Learn ballet like Angelina Ballerina at Baby Ballerinas & Co!

Baby Ballerinas & Co has been selected as Newcastle’s and Lake Macquarie’s own Angelina Ballerina Academy.
Angelina Ballerina, star of the best-selling children’s books and popular television show, is a remarkable little mouse who wants to become a prima ballerina.  A little star with big dreams, she inspires little girls and boys to go after their big dreams too!
At Baby Ballerinas & Co, your child will learn ballet technique in a creative, caring and fun way.  Classes include some Angelina themed activities and incentives, combined with the unique Baby Ballerinas teaching program.  Students will be able to earn ‘little stars’ stickers and rewards for great dancing and ballerina-like behaviour.

The Teaching Practices of Baby Ballerinas & Co: Baby Ballet and Baby Jazz Classes

Parents may watch the baby classes (sorry no noise or distractions from siblings please).
Morning classes for Baby Ballet and Baby Jazz

Positive use of imagery & weekly themes.
Introduction to a wide range of classical music.

No exams and eisteddfods by request
A morning end of year concert of 3 hours only. The Babies spend only one term on concert preparation.

Baby Ballerinas wear pink tu-tus for all classes
For the babies a Certificate of Merit each term. A medal is presented to the Grades once in term 3. All students receive a trophy for the concert participation.

All birthdays are acknowledged for each student

Day time concert
A morning end of year concert of 3 hours maximum and during the day. The Babies spend only one term on concert preparation

Central School of Dance

The children operate in Baby Ballerinas between the ages of 2 to 5 years at which time they Graduate. When the children start "big school" or Primary School they then go into the "Grades" at the Central School of Dance operating from 6 of age. The Principles established in Baby Ballerinas provides a strong platform to build dynamic dancers. The Central School of Dance can provide RAD based exams and eisteddfod participation. The areas covered in the school are Classical Ballet, National Character, Jazz, Tap.

Principal Teacher

Resume of Karen Barker-Rogers
DOB: 17.02.1957
Karen Barker Solo Seal, A.R.A.D Dip Aus Ballet School.

Karen Barker was born in Kurri Kurri in the Hunter Valley. Karen at 4years of age commenced ballet training at Toronto with Beverley Hepburn. The following four years, Karen trained in Cootamundra with Molly Windred before returning to Newcastle to continue her training for the next five years with Tessa Maunder. At 15years of age Karen was accepted into the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne, graduating at 17years of age and receiving her Diploma.

After several months with the Australian Ballet Company, Karen joined the Kolobok Dance Company, under the artistic direction of Madame Berezowsky, to tour extensively throughout Australia for 4 years as principal dancer. In 1978 Karen accepted an invitation as Principal Dancer with the London based Dance Company, Kasatka Cossacks. During her four years with the company they toured Canada, South East Asia, Europe, United Kingdom, and South Africa, also performing several Royal Gala Performances and performances on BBC Television.

During her world tours Karen was fortunate to study dance in Moscow and Leningrad and also to attend Master Classes in Canada, Europe and London with the opportunity to visit local ballet schools to study their teaching methods. In between tours Karen completed and obtained her Solo Seal at the London Royal
Academy of Dance and later she was invited to conduct Solo Seal
classes whilst touring in South East Asia.

In 1982 Miss Karen returned to Australia to dance with the Sydney City Ballet Company under the direction of Marilyn Jones.

In 1983, at 26 yrs of age Miss Karen returned to Newcastle and was the principal of the Newcastle Dance Centre for 5 years. During this period she was unable, due to teaching responsibilities, to accept an invitation to rejoin the Kasatka Cossacks on a tour of the U.S. however later rejoined the Company as guest artist to tour Ireland with her earlier Artistic Director, Madame Berezowsky as guest choreographer.

The next decade saw Miss Karen begin her own family and become a guest teacher and adjudicator throughout Australia. Miss Karen was also a principal teacher and examiner for the Character based syllabus "Khorobushka" and a regular guest teacher at the annual Peggy Sager Summer School in Queensland. After her parents retired, Karen owned and operated The Dancewear Centre in Central Newcastle for 6 years before opening schools in the Lake Macquarie and Newcastle suburbs for pre school children with her own unique programme to introduce children to classical ballet training. This programme now accommodates over 300 students.

School Patrons

Irina Baronova is the last "baby ballerina' of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.

Ms Irina Baronova was one of the original Russian "baby ballerinas" featured in the film Ballets Russes.

The original Russian "baby ballerinas" were Irina Baronova, Tamara Toumanova and Tatiana Riabouchinska who were just 13, when catapulted to international fame, marking the beginning of careers that would take them around the world winning new audiences for ballet.

The Ballets Russes was an extraordinary blend of Russian, American, European and Latin American dancers who, with the greatest choreographers, composers and designers of the day transformed ballet into a blend of the traditional and a form of contemporary dance we see today.

Irina Baronova, at 87, reflected that although there was some initial scepticism about such young girls taking centre stage, opening night in Paris in 1932 was a great success and recalls "at just 14, I was dancing Swan Lake with the great British dancer Anton Dolin. In 1938 we toured and the audiences were absolutely mad about us, we had enormous success and the people were so hospitable and friendly".

Irina visits Baby Ballerinas in Newcastle - Article The Sun-Herald , Sydney 23 July 2006

Irina's Peaceful End - Last of the "Baby Ballerinas"
- Article 1 July 2008

Edward (Ted) Miller OAM. FBBO

Ted was trained at Jessie Brownlee Dance Studio in Newcastle and passed all RAD Examinations.

He worked extensively in Music Comedy, Ballet and Television in both Australia and the United Kingdom.

Ted rose to the rank of soloist with "The Royal Ballet" and the Borovanski Ballet.

Ted has taught extensively in Melbourne and Newcastle and is now retired from full time teaching. He is now in charge of the Scholars Scheme for the British Ballet Organization and guest teacher at their annual Dance Week in Australia and New Zealand. Although retired he continues to work as a freelance teacher and choreographer with regular trips to New Zealand, Nourmea, Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin, Brisbane and many larger regional towns.