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!


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 meals, 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.


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, which are all ways of keeping them connected!


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 on 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!


Making a 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.

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.”


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.


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.


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.

Ms. Alvarez teaching her Advanced class.


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.


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.


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.


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!


  • 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.


  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.

Student Spotlight: Kayla Thomas Awarded Third Place at Miami International Ballet Competition

We are so proud to highlight our student Kayla Thomas. During her tome with Thomas Armour Youth Ballet she has performed the role of Clara, toy dolls, and the waltz of the flowers in the annual production of the Nutcracker. She has also performed advanced classical works like Paquita and La Bayadere in our annual spring show. Her experience at Miami International Ballet Competition was a special one and we are excited to share her accomplishments.

She attended Miami International Ballet Competition and performed the Gamzatti variation from La Bayadere, coached by lead faculty Mariana Alvarez. She also performed a contemporary solo choreographed by Maytte Subriana.

Kayla won 3rd place and received scholarships to the trainee program at National Ballet Academy in Denver, an artistic scholarship at Kirov Academy in Washington D.C., Soki Ballet International in Kenichi Soki, the year-round program at the Asia Ballet Academy in Malaysia, and summer intensive at Ballet Academy West in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Here’s a little note from Kayla herself: 

“Miami International Ballet Competition was my first competing in ballet. It was a great experience. All the ballet teachers, master classes, and set an amazing energy throughout the studios and stage. It helped me live through my dancing. I thank my ballet family at Thomas Armour Youth Ballet for teaching me and preparing me with everything I know now. I am blessed to have such a wonderful studio filled with work incredible work ethic and most of all love.” 

To learn more about receiving training like Kayla click here. 


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 are 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 is 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.


Meet the Team: Employee Highlight Series

Thomas Armour Youth Ballet’s team members are the fabric of our organization. For this reason, we have decided to highlight members of the team in our blog to learn a little more about them and what they like about working at Thomas Armour Youth Ballet.
Our first employee spotlight is Jeannette Othello. She is a site counselor at our after-school program at Morningside K-8 Academy in Little Haiti. She has been working with us since the beginning of our after-school program expansion and we are so lucky to still have her on our team. We hope you enjoy this little Q & A!
Q: Can you introduce yourself?
A: My name is Jeannette Othello I am a student counselor with Thomas Armour Youth Ballet at the Little Haiti location at Morningside K-8 academy. I’ve been with the program for five years.
Q: What’s your favorite memory at the program?
A: My favorite memory is from a student I had named Alex Ramos. He was very active and he kept me on my toes but in the end, we had a great bond.
Q: What makes the work meaningful to you?
A: The fact that I get to come here every day and having the opportunity to work with each child and putting a smile on their faces even on their bad days.
Q: Who is an employee at the program you enjoy working with?
A: I enjoy working with Judith Thomas (Site Supervisor) she’s very organized and she’s very universal when it comes to dealing with others.
Q: What are the three traits that define you as an employee?
A: I am self-disciplined and flexible.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve received?
A: Do your best in whatever you do.
Q: What motivates you in the morning?
A: My children.
To learn more about the program Jeannette works at click here. 

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.

Nutcracker season is upon us!

School is back in session which means it’s Nutcracker time! Some of you may not realize how early we start preparing. Here’s a little bit about the rehearsals, dress rehearsals, field trip performances, and our performance that’s open to the public.


On Saturday, August 24th we had auditions for the junior cast. Students from our studio auditioned for the roles like angels, mice, soldiers, clowns, and party scene. The senior cast audition took place the following day at New World School of the Arts where students from TAYB and New World came together to audition for roles like waltz of the flowers, Arabian Coffee, Spanish chocolate,  Chinese tea, and more.


Rehearsals begin as early as early September for most of the cast. Rehearsals will take place every week until the performances in early December.


After months of intense rehearsals and hard work, it’s finally time to go to the theater! The day of the dress rehearsal the show is performed from beginning to end with lights, costumes, makeup, scenery, everything.


It’s finally time for the first performance. The first Nutcracker show of the season is a field trip and sensory-friendly performance for children with sensory processing and Autism Spectrum Disorders and their Families. To learn more about the sensory-friendly performance click here. For the rest of the week, we have back-to-back morning performances for schoolchildren all over Dade County. There’s also a performance that’s open to the general public on Saturday, December 7th in the evening.


There are so many things that make this professional production of the Nutcracker one of a kind. The costumes are the originals from the first show in the 44 year’s ago, the cast is one of the most diverse ballet casts in Miami, we collaborate with New World School of the Arts to put on the show, hire professionals for the principal roles, and it is the longest-running production of the Nutcracker in Miami.

After reading all that you want to see how you can get tickets? Click here. 

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.