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.

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:


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!


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. 


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.


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.



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.


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 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 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.


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.


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.


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.



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