The TAYB now provides ballet training to over 1,100 students annually, with nearly 600 on full scholarship in five locations. In addition we provide the means for advanced students to take advantage of summer intensive trainings across the country, and present performances to over 10,000 audience members each year.
We believe dance is merely the vehicle that transports children through doors that maximize their options in life. We are thrilled when one of our graduates is accepted into a major dance company; however, our ultimate goal is to give children choices beyond their present limitations.
Mr. Thomas Armour (1908 – 2006)
Thomas Armour, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 95, was a world renowned classical ballet dancer, trained in Paris by the legendary Olga Preobrajenska. During his career he was a principal soloist with the Ida Rubenstein Company, the Nijinska Company, the Woijikowski Company, the De Basil Company and finally, Leonid Massine’s famed Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo. His performing contemporaries included; Alexandra Danilova, Igor Youskevitch, Andre Eglevsky, Rosella Hightower, Alicia Markova and Frederic Franklin. One of his most celebrated roles was Vaslav Nijinski’s “Spectre de la Rose”.
After being drafted into Military Intelligence during World War II, Mr. Armour’s performing career ended. In 1949, after the war, he returned to South Florida, where he took over a small ballet school. He started the Miami Ballet Guild, which became the Miami Ballet, with 501c3 non-profit status, in 1951.The Miami Ballet’s goal was to provide first class training and stage experience for aspiring dancers, by presenting full-scale classical ballets, with professional guest artists, such as Cynthia Gregory, Edward Villella, Natalia Makarova, Peter Martins, and Violet Verdy, to name but a few. Ballets presented, include: Giselle, Swan Lake, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty and La Bayadere.The Miami Ballet was also a co-founder of the Southeastern Regional Ballet Association (SERBA). Mr. Armour was honored with many awards over the years, most recently a “Lifetime Achievement” recognition from Dance For Life for his contributions to the South Florida dance community.
Robert Pike (1925 – 2009)
Director Emeritus, was a member of the Miami Conservatory faculty and administration for over 47 years. Mr. Pike received his dance training at the Chicago Conservatory of Music and Ballet, and later at the Ballet Theater school in New York with William Dollar and Anatole Vilzak. For several seasons, he performed with New York City Opera Ballet as a soloist and with the touring companies of ”The Student Prince” and “Bells are Ringing”. In 1953 Mr. Pike returned to Miami to study with Mr. Armour, and joined the faculty of the Miami Conservatory and the Miami Ballet Company as a dancer and choreographer. He danced in many ‘summer stock ‘ productions in Miami and in such musicals as “Red Head” and “Pal Joey”. For several years Mr. Pike performed on cruise ships sailing in the Caribbean. Mr. Pike retired from the Thomas Armour Youth Ballet in 2006.
1951-The Thomas Armour Youth Ballet was founded in 1951 as a school of classical ballet named The Miami Conservatory, and a non-profit performing company called The Miami Ballet.
1988- A scholarship program was created, to help talented children from low income neighborhoods to access placement in MDCPS Dance Magnets.
1989 TAYB began to send advanced students to intensive summer programs with professional companies in New York City. TAYB covers all living expenses.
1996 – the performing Company was re-named The Thomas Armour Youth Ballet in honor of the organization’s founder, and added to its mission an emphasis on community outreach, thus increasing ballet accessibility to under privileged youth.
2000-The first outreach site was opened in Little Haiti at Morningside Elementary School.
2004 -The Thomas Armour Youth Ballet absorbed The Miami Conservatory ballet school, and purchased the historic South Miami building in which it was housed. This main site serves over 800 children and holds the administrative offices.
2004- The second site was opened within the Redland Christian Migrant Association campsite and Homestead Housing Authority in South Miami Dade County.
2005- The third outreach site was opened in the West Grove at Elizabeth Virrick Park.
2008- The fourth outreach site was opened at Homestead Middle School. The middle school program was moved to the HHA site in June of 2011.
TAYB received the Arts & Education Impact Award from the Arts & Business Council.
2009-TAYB received an award from Miami Dade County’s “In the Company of Women” in Arts and Entertainment.
2010- TAYB received the prestigious “Excellence Award in Youth Programming for School & Life Success” from the Children’s Trust of Miami-Dade County.
2011- August- The fifth outreach site was opened in Miami Gardens at the Betty T Ferguson Recreational Center.
2014-TAYB relocated Homestead outreach site to South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center.