Proud To Announce Funding From The Miami Foundation & Coral Gables Community Foundation

Thomas Armour Youth Ballet (TAYB) is proud to announce funding from The Miami Foundation and The Coral Gables Community Foundation to support the Next Steps Program and Stomp Style music classes at our West Coconut Grove site.

The Next Steps Program was created to give students that no longer attend TAYB’s after-school program the opportunity to take more advanced classes once they’ve completed the levels the after-school program offers. Students that choose to participate in the Next Steps Program are offered a partial or full scholarship. Before the Next Steps Program, students would have to solely rely on receiving dance training from their home school or magnet school if offered or they would stop dancing completely. The Next Steps Program also provides assistance in finding transportation and one on one mentoring for college-bound students, especially those who are first in the family to advance beyond high school graduation.

TAYB has wanted to offer a music component at the satellite site summer camps. This summer TAYB will bring music to the kids through Stomp Style Music lessons. Thanks to The Coral Gables Community Foundation this amazing opportunity will be funded and provided to the children free of charge. These music classes will be just one part of a summer camp that includes dance, reading, field trips, and more.

Another big thank you to The Miami Foundation and Coral Gables Community Foundation for making these programs possible! To learn more about Thomas Armour Youth Ballet’s After School program click here. 

5 Things You Need To Know About South Miami’s Ballet Summer Intensive

Deciding on a summer intensive for your young dancer can be a daunting task! Some intensives can provide very little information regarding their class offering and class size, and these are important factors when deciding where your child will invest their time this summer.  After all, you want them to receive REAL dance training. If you are looking for a summer intensive with great classical training Thomas Armour Youth Ballet (TAYB) has you covered!

#1 A variety of classes are offered.

TAYB offers a variety of classes in the summer to expose students to dance genres that may not be familiar. For the 2018 summer intensive contemporary, jazz, and tap will be offered in addition to all classical ballet classes every day.

#2 Classcal ballet training.

A focus for the summer intensive is definitely offering variety of dance genres but TAYB also takes pride it it’s very classical approach. Classical ballet classes are scheduled for every single day of the intensive with a focus on technique, pointe, and variations.

#3 Classes are taught by well trained faculty, not by children.

All classes at TAYB are taught by highly trained professionals. All ballet classes are taught by our two head ballet teachers Rosario Suarez and Mariana Alvarez that have both danced professionally and have taught for more than 20 years.

#4 Drop-in classes

Students that participate in the intensive are not required to take classes all summer long. TAYB allows families to choose customized  schedule that works for them. This way your child can train but also go on that family vacation you have planned!

#5 Classes are kept small

Summer intensive classes are kept much smaller than other summer intensive class sizes. By keeping the classes small teachers are able to pay attention to each student and give individualized feedback.


5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Going On Pointe!

Ever wonder what it’s like for ballerina’s to go on pointe? Here are five facts about getting those beautiful satin shoes and what it takes to glide across the stage in them!


Pointe shoes are not like street shoes, you can’t just go in and ask for a size 7! Point shoes come in a variety of brands, widths, vamp heights, and most brands have a completely different sizing chart. Pointe shoe fittings can take up to an hour to find the perfect pair.


Even though the pointe shoes are on, it doesn’t mean you can dance on them right away! A common misunderstanding is that once the pointe shoes are on, you automatically know how to dance on them because of prior training. This is completely false! Beginning pointe is like starting all over again. Students start from the beginning learning the basics just with their pointe shoes on. Classes will consist of lots of relevé and élevés at the barre.


Getting pointe shoes takes a lot of preparation. Dancers going on point have to prepare their dance bags with adhesive tape to prevent blisters, nail clippers, needle and thread to sew ribbons and elastic, rubbing alcohol, and blister pads.


The shoes aren’t the only thing worn when using pointe shoes. In addition to the shoes most students use toe pads at least at when they are first learning how to maneuver the shoes. After years practice some dancers choose to continue to use the pads and some decide to ditch the pads all together.


Students need to have years of training prior to beginning pointe. Most students begin point around 11 or 12 years old if they began training at age 7 or 8.

Learn to dance on them if you dare!

After learning these facts are you up for the challenge of dancing on pointe? Register for classes today.

Thomas Armour Youth’s Tap Team Ballet Goes To Their First Tap Festival

It was an event to remember filled with tap dancing, prizes, smiles, and fun! The Thomas Armour Youth Ballet Tap Team got to attend their first tap festival. The event is called the So-Flo Tap Festival and it is held in Lake Worth, Florida. The festival is produced by the studio owner of Thats Dancing, Andrea Lamaina and one of the faculty members, Nicole Smith. This festival has been happening annually for the past four years. Faculty members have included, Derick Grant, Jason Samuels Smith, Dormeshia Sumbry Edwards, Ayodele Casel, Maud Arnold, Lee Howard, and more.

This years festival faculty included the legendary Dianne Walker, Melinda Sullivan, Aaron Tolson, Gabriel Winns Ortiz, Debbi Dee, Thommie Retter, and a bonus class by up and coming tapper Sydney Burtis.

Dianne Walker danced with Leon Collins, Jimmy Slyde, Ralph Brown, Buster Brown, Lon Chaney, Chuck Green, Bunny Briggs and Savion Glover as part of the Hoofers Line.Dianne was featured in both the original Paris production and the two year Broadway run of Claudio Segovia and Hector Orezzolis musical Black and Blue. You can see Dianne, as one of the Shim Sham girls, in the movie Tap starring Gregory Hines.

Melinda Sullivan was the first tap dancer to make Top 10 of So You Think You Can Dance. She was also the first tap all star in Season 10. Melinda is the recipient of the 2012 Capezio Award for Choreographic Excellence, and she was named among the 25 to Watchin Dance Magazine.

Aaron Tolson is a national spokesperson for dance wear company SoDanca, a consultant and writer for Dance Spirit Magazine, a Professor of Dance at Plymouth State University and the Boston Conservatory, as well as the assistant choreographer, co-creator and assistant producer of the acclaimed  stage production Imagine Tap!.

Gabriel Winns Ortiz toured with the critically acclaimed stage show Tap Kids, and continues to perform and teach with them, both nationally and internationally. Gabriel now lives in New York City and has worked with many dance companies, including Dorrance Dance, Rumba Tap, and SwingFX.

Debbie Dee is recognized as a Master Teacher in Japan, France, South America, and Canada. Debbi has performed professionally as a Soloist on Broadway, Lincoln Center, Las Vegas, USO shows and Nightclubs, as well as performing on television and in movies.

Thommie Retter had a three and a half year run on Broadway with, Billy Elliot The Musical. Thommie has students in a variety of Broadway shows including; Matilda The Musical, Annie The Musical, Kinky Boots The Musical, The Assembled Parties, Newsies, Fly and the US touring company of Billy Elliot The Musical.

Sydney Burtis is a young tapper, 17 years old. She is a Young Arts finalist for 2017. When Sydney was younger she performed in the national Broadway tour of Billy Elliot. You can also see her in the tap documentary Tap World by Chloe and Maud Arnold. Sydney produced the first ever Orlando Tap Festival this year.

The festival ran for two days, three classes on Friday night and four classes on Saturday. The festival has three different levels. Intermediate/Advanced, Advanced, and Pre-Professional. The younger tap team members, Isabella Carratala, Nami Chung-Vastine, and Amanda Leslie took the Intermediate/Advanced track while Aminah and Naimah Angrand, Destiny Delancy, Victoria Smith, and Tap Team director Natasha Williams took the Pre-Professional track.

One of the best moments of the festival was when Natasha and the Senior members of the Tap Team performed 53, a famous Leon Collins dance, for Dianne Walker. Natasha met Dianne back in 2010 at a Jacobs Pillow audition in Miami. Natasha was accepted into the first ever tap program. This was when Natasha took her knowledge of tap to a new level. At this festival she learned Routine 2, another classic dance that was choreographed by Leon Collins. Later that same year Natasha attended the Boston Tap Festival where Dianne taught 53. Natasha passed these dances along with others to her students. It was a proud moment to have such a legend as Dianne see history being passed down and preserved.

Many awards were given out at the So-Flo Tap Festival. The Tap Team was award ten $100 certificates from Capezio. Destiny Delancy was chosen by Melinda Sullivan to receive a custom pair of Capezio k360 tap shoes. Aminah Angrand was chosen by Debbi Dee to receive a full scholarship to next years festival.

The Tap Team plans to attend this festival every year! Students from Thats Dancing will be joining the Tap Team this year for our annual Halloween Show on Sunday, October 29th.

For more information about that Tap Team Halloween Show contact Natasha at

Broadway, Tap, and Contemporary at Miami’s Oldest Ballet School.

New year new classes…. We know you are all excited to sign up so we won’t keep you waiting!


We are bringing new classes this school year, beginning with Tap. Classes start at 5 years of age all the way to advanced tappers. Students in the intermediate and advanced classes will have the opportunity to audition for our Elite Tap Team. Students accepted into the Tap Team will perform at various events and at our annual spring concert. Classes will be taught by the very talented Natasha Williams.


The second class we are bringing in is Contemporary. We will be offering classes for beginners though advanced students. Students will have the opportunity to learn a variety of movement much different from ballet to diversify their repertoire. This class will help students be prepared for any material that might be thrown their way in future auditions. Students in the advanced Contemporary class will have the opportunity to audition for the Contemporary team that performs at various events and at our annual spring concert. Contemporary classes will be taught by Stephanie Fuentes, a former dancer with Martha Graham’s second company in New York and Kelly Robotham, former company member of Alvin Ailey American Dance Company.


Last but not least we will be bringing in Broadway style Jazz class. This class will not only expose students to another dance form but it will also teach them choreography from major broadway musicals. Leonardo Alvarez will be teaching our Broadway style class. Leo has worked with A Christmas Carol Madison Square Garden, The Video Music Awards with Iggy Azalea, and Disney Orlando.

Like the sound of these classes? Click the button below to sign up!