Why taking a virtual summer intensive is a good idea.

With everything going on in the world today we want to be able to give our students lessons safely. Here are some reasons why a virtual summer intensive is a good choice for your family and how we are making it safe.

ACCESS CLASSES ANYWHERE

Anywhere? Yes, anywhere. As long as you have a cell phone, computer, or tablet you can take your dance classes. Classes are available through Zoom as long as you can access the app or site you can take classes where you or child are most comfortable.

HOW ARE WE MAKING CLASSES ON ZOOM SAFE?

We are focused on keeping our classes through Zoom safe for our students, this is how. 1. all class access codes are kept private. 2. the only people accessing the classes are teachers and registered students. 3. we have staff on call to monitor the classes. We are constantly working on new ways to ensure online classes are safe.

KEEP YOUR DANCE SKILLS

While a lot of places are still closed we are dedicated give our students the training they would receive at the studio. Instead of keeping classes very small and limiting students in the classroom, we are offering classes to all students and opening registration to students from other studios that can’t take their classes now. Teachers have adapted the classes to ensure that the same quality training will be delivered. Stay in shape by taking virtual classed and you’ll be ready to hit the studio again!

STAY ACTIVE WHILE AT HOME

Staying active is so important while we are doing our best to limit our exposure to other people. Staying active is great for your mental health and why not make it fun by dancing.

WHY TAKE CLASSES WITH US?

Here’s a little sneak-peak of how we transitioned to virtual classes and how taking classes with us can help communities in Miami.

Click here to register for a summer intensive today. If you arent ready to sign up for classes take a pre-recorded class to see if you like it. Click here for pre-recorded lessons.

Ways you can help our community during this time.

With the tragedy that has struck our world over the past few weeks, having a sense of community is more important than ever. The TAYB team is working hard to provide our students with quality virtual programming, and our families with positive and useful content. In this post, we are sharing ways to incorporate supporting your community during this uncertain time.

SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES

In times of crisis, communities rally to support each other. In an effort to support our local community and specifically local businesses owned by TAYB parents and alumni, we have created the directory below. We hope you will consider this list when making purchases, ordering your weekly meals or for future use. To fill out the form to be a part of our local business directory click here. 

MAKE A DONATION IF YOU’RE TAKING FREE CLASSES

Dance schools and fitness studios are doing their best very best to deliver quality classes to you during the time their businesses are closed. Some classes are even free! If you are able, give a donation to show your support for providing these classes and help them while income is low. Check out the social media profiles of your favorite studios to see what they’re up to. For more information on classes, we are offering click here.

SHARE SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS

Sharing social media and blog posts is more than every. Most businesses are staying afloat by keeping classes and services running through their social media profiles. Sharing classes and information from local businesses is an awesome way to help.

STAY POSITIVE

We will come out on the other side of this with our communities stronger than ever if we all support each other in any way we can. Consider these suggestions or share any ideas you have by emailing addyson@taballet.org.

Keeping Kids Happy And Healthy During This Time

It is no secret that traumatic events and altered routines can have an impact on children’s mental health. In the midst of our new reality, it is important to create a sense of normalcy for them in order to ease any stress that may be coming up for them during this time.

We have compiled some activities parents can do in order to care for their children’s minds and bodies during this time. We hope you enjoy!

Create Routines

Consistency and structure are very calming. Setting up a daily schedule that caters to all members of the family is important in creating a “new normal”. For example, establish regular meal, bed, and wake up times.

Breaking down activities into 40, 60- or 90-minute blocks can be helpful for kids. Using a timer for them to track and know where they stand in their day is particularly helpful. Involving your kids in the planning process can give them a sense of control and predictability. Include activities they genuinely enjoy in between chores and schoolwork to make it exciting for them.

Keep your Kids Connected

Now is more important than ever to keep kids connected to their friends and peers, so they don’t become isolated. Spending time physically apart from each other doesn’t mean we can’t get creative and find ways for kids to remain close. Staying active through extracurricular activities offering Livestream classes is a wonderful way of incorporating routine and connection, TAYB is still offering daily Livestream dance classes. Other ideas include setting up virtual playdates, coordinating online gaming time and hosting a virtual movie night,  are all ways of keeping them connected!

Incorporate a Daily Mindfulness practice for your Kids

Incorporating mindful practices into your child’s daily routine can help calm their anxiety and build healthy coping skills. Whether they do it for 5 minutes, or an hour, taking time to be present and connect with their sense of self will have a positive impact in their over well-being. Headspace has a great library of meditations curated just for kids! Also, this short article from The New York Times offers a simple breathing exercise that can even be turned into an art activity by following these instructions!

Make Time for Physical Activity

Making physical activity part of your children’s routine is also great for mental health and allows for quality family time. Whether it happens outside or inside, movement produces endorphins which will result in happier kids! For ideas on how to keep kids active while staying indoors, check out our last post.

Thomas Armour Youth Ballet is committed to providing resources and connection and movement opportunities for our students and their families through what we know best: DANCE! To learn more about our livestream classes click here.

Zoombombing

5 Ways We’re Preventing Zoombombing

As schools and businesses across the world are impacted by having to social distance, Thomas Armour Youth Ballet is among many turning to Zoom to continue its programs. So many of our families have given positive feedback on the efforts we’ve made to maintain consistency for their children. However, aside from the technological challenges of “retooling the factory” to deliver online classes, we have to remain on the cutting edge to prevent new challenges, including “Zoombombing.”

What Is Zoombombing?

Zoombombing is a practice that has come about in the past few weeks. Internet trolls have been entering Zoom meetings and taking advantage of the program’s feature to share their screen. They often display inappropriate images, hate symbols, and shout expletives. TAYB is researching this development and following guidelines released by Zoom and organizations including the Anti-Defamation League. Thanks to these resources, we’ve put the following precautions in place. 

1. We Don’t Share Class Information

This practice is key! The vast majority of Zoombombings have taken place when organizations post a Meeting ID and entry link someplace that can be accessed by the general public. Since day one of our test classes, we have only shared that information with the TAYB family. We share the schedule for our live classes on our website, but without the Meeting ID or entry link, it’s impossible to gain access to these classes. In the reported cases, there is no evidence of hacking to enter these meetings, just mishandled information.

2. Only Teachers Can Screen-Share

Often during classes, the teacher will need to share their screen. This is a valuable tool that can be difficult to use during in-person classes. Through this feature, the teacher can share video clips to provide examples of an exercise or variation. We have manipulated the settings so that only the Zoom “host” has access to this feature. That means that even if someone gained access to the class, they would have no way of broadcasting inappropriate online images or videos.

TAYB-Preventing-Zoombombing

Ms. Alvarez teaching her Advanced class.

3. We Have Removed the Ability to Join a Class Before the Host

TAYB has structured its live class schedule to allow teachers gaps between their classes. This means that they will have time to join a class five to ten minutes before the start time. With the feature to join a class before the teacher has joined disabled, someone with the ability to remove Zoombombers will always be in the class. If you’re trying to join a class early and receive a notification that you cannot join until the host has joined, wait a few minutes.

4. File Transfer Is Disabled

Zoom is used for meetings in every industry. Often during these meetings, teams will get together to share work and review it together. You can use file transfer to make a document, image, or video available for download to anyone in the Zoom meeting. Zoombombers have been abusing this feature to spread viruses and inappropriate content. To prevent this from happening, TAYB has disabled this feature altogether. We will only use text and email to distribute files.

5. Removed Guests Cannot Rejoin

The worst case scenario is that TAYB’s class information somehow falls into the wrong hands. We are training the TAYB teachers to be confident with the Zoom controls so that they can remove any Zoombombers. We have made it so that when a participant is removed, they are unable to join again. 

 Is Zoom Safe?

Like any new technology, we must take the right precautions. We are not waiting for Zoombombing to be sorted out by Zoom’s team. With the above steps currently in place, we are coaching all of TAYB’s teachers to make sure they know how to remove Zoombombers and prevent others from re-entering. While the odds of Zoombombing are extremely low, the risk is too great to handle this lightly.

See our recorded classes and a full schedule of our live classes here

Staying Inside: How to Keep Your Kids Active

Keeping kids active when we can’t go outside can seem difficult when there are so many other ways of staying entertained with devices, games, movies and toys. However, now more than ever, we should all make an effort to make sure we get our daily dose of movement!

Physical activity helps children stay healthy and happy, and since outdoor activities and group classes are not an option right now, we have some ideas on how to incorporate it into their day!

Before getting started, let’s get ready to move inside:

  • Provide your children with instructions on how to safely take out and put away equipment that they might use (balls, beanbags, etc.).
  • Move any furniture with sharp edges out of the activity area.
  • Make sure your children know that movement is limited in a small space.
  • Anticipate where additional safety measures are needed and apply them.
  • Review any family rules for throwing balls, beanbags, etc. and being active inside the house as you see fit.

Ready!? Now try these ideas to keep them entertained and active:

  1. Jump Rope- There are so many rhymes that can make jumping rope more than just physical activity! Kids can memorize these and sing along to them. Here are some fun ideas.
  2. Indoor Obstacle Course- Using furniture, or other items that are safe build an obstacle course for your kids. Add in specific mental or physical challenges to keep them guessing. This site takes you step by step on how to create your own using every-day house items!
  3. Animal Races- Hop like a bunny or frog; squat and waddle like a duck; and so on.
  4. Scavenger hunt- Write up clues and hide them around the house. Kids can race to find each clue for a small prize at the end.
  5. Dance- Whether it is freeze dance or a dance party, this is a great way of keeping kids active and having fun. We are currently offering pre-recorded dance classes and live virtual classes through Zoom. Click here to learn more!

To take a look at some free pre-recorded dance lessons visit our YouTube channel.

A new chapter for Thomas Armour Youth Ballet.

The TAYB family will see big changes in 2020!  In order to accommodate our growing number of students and to expand the genres of class offerings, more space is needed!  TAYB will be taking back the rented space from the dentist and renovate the entire first floor! This renovation is going to allow us to add much-needed space. Here’s a little taste of the changes coming to Miami’s oldest ballet school:

NEW LOBBY AND STUDY AREA 

One of the many changes will be a larger lobby and study area! We will have more space for our parents to wait. No more crowded lobby! Perhaps the most exciting news is that there will be two bathrooms instead of one!

MORE STUDIO SPACE

No more limited studio space! TAYB will create a large studio that can be divided into two smaller studios as well as a small wood floor tap studio. This means more space for classes, rehearsals, performances, as well as new dance genresrehearsals, and performances. With this space, we will be able to serve more of the students who graduate from our satellite sites and are ready to begin advanced training.  To learn more about our after school programming click here. 

EXPANDED CLASS OFFERINGS 

What classes will be offered in these new studios?!  Our main focus and foundation will always be ballet. However, we know that a strong foundation in contemporary or modern dance is crucial.  We will be expanding our contemporary and tap programs to meet on more days and to serve a wider range of ages. Additionally, we will look at what genres the students and families would like to see here at TAYB. Genres under consideration include hip hop, Flamenco and jazz. These two new studios will give us the space to allow for more rehearsal time.

REBRANDING 

Renovations are not the only exciting things happening this year! TAYB will be getting a facelift with a full rebranding. The name of the organization will be changing. This will also include a revamp of our website and current look and feel. These exciting changes will reflect the growth that the organization has gone through over the last ten years.

 

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

These renovations will ensure that the Thomas Armour Youth Ballet is sustainable and continues to grow and impact our community. These construction costs are estimated at $400,000.00. One of our long-time benefactors is so excited about our new plans that she has pledged $150,000 in a matching grant! Every dollar donated will be matched one to one! It’s not too early to make a contribution or spread the word! Share this post or make a donation by clicking the button below.

 

 

 

What you’re supporting on Miami’s day of giving.

Thursday, November 21st is Miami’s biggest day of giving and we want you to get involved. Every year The Miami Foundation hosts Give Miami Day , a 24-hour fundraising event. Organizations across the city raise funds for their incredible missions that make a huge impact on our community. Throughout the day there will be prizes all organizations are eligible for and a percentage of every donation given will be matched. Here’s the programming and projects you’ll be supporting if you choose the Thomas Armour Youth Ballet this Give Miami Day.

LOW-COST AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMS 

Quality after school programs at an extremely low cost? We know what you’re thinking…..not possible. Thanks to the support of the Children’s Trust we expanded our four sites that once just danced classes after school to a full after school program with reading, homework assistance, dance lessons, and emotional literacy. We want to continue to build on this programming across four sites and you can support that by participating on Give Miami Day.

SCHOLARSHIPS AT THE MAIN SITE 

Scholarships are offered at the main site for dance training at the main site during the school year and for summer intensives. All scholarships are based on financial need and are given on a sliding scale. Families are able to pay what they can rather than cutting back on valuable training for their children.

THE NUTCRACKER

The Nutcracker is a huge part of who we are and Miami’s history. Our production of The Nutcracker is no ordinary production of the holiday classic. This Nutcracker is the longest-running Nutcracker production in Miami, it is the most diverse production of the Nutcracker in the city, and we do not charge families to participate in it. Students from all of our sites audition for the performance and aren’t charged a fee for rehearsals, costumes, makeup, etc. This makes participating accessible to everyone. This is what makes our Nutcracker so unique.

NEXT STEPS PROGRAM

Our after school program if for children ages 5-11 years old. What happens once they age out of the program? We offer a scholarship at our main site to continue quality dance training.

SUMMER IN NEW YORK PROGRAM

Every year we provide room and board to students attending summer intensives in New York City. Attending summer intensives at professional companies can be very expensive for families. To make this once in a lifetime experience available we cut the cost by offering this program.

MAIN SITE RENOVATIONS 

In order to provide more programming, we are renovating the space and adding THREE more studios! This project will begin in 2020 but if you would like to make a contribution toward our capital campaign it’s never too early.

We hope after reading about our current programming and future plans you feel excited to make your contribution on Give Miami Day on Thursday, November 21st.

Make a pledge today by clicking the button below.

 

 

Beyond The Dance Floor – Thomas Armour Youth Ballet featured in Pinecrest & Coral Gables Lifestyle Magazine

We were so excited to be featured in Pinecrest and Coral Gables Lifestyle Magazine. To read the article Beyond The Dance Floor click the button below.

Thomas Armour Youth Ballet’s After School Program Featured on NBC 6 Miami

Thomas Armour Youth Ballet had the privilege of being featured on the back to school segment on Miami NBC 6. News anchor Kristin Sanchez came to visit our West Coconut Grove site to see our students in action. To see the full segment watch the video below. Big thank you to Kristin Sanchez and the NBC 6 team for coming out to see our program.

To learn more about our after school program click here.