Announcing the release of the 2021 Alumni Update.

Why you can trust Armour Dance Theatre to keep your family safe this school year.

We know that it is a big decision to send your child to after-school programming. With the constantly changing numbers for COVID-19 and variant cases, we want to assure you as parents that the safety of your child is our priority. We will continue to follow our protocols to mitigate risk while giving your child a safe space for movement, creativity, and self-expression. Let us tell you a little about our safety protocol and how we will make you comfortable when going back to dance classes.

FULLY IMMUNIZED FACULTY AND STAFF

We have a fully immunized team. From our dance faculty to office staff you can count on us to stop the spread of the virus at our academy.

STAFF SCREENINGS

All faculty and staff are required to fill out a COVID-19 screening form to make us aware of any exposure to the virus. CDC guidelines will be followed for quarantine and testing before returning to work.

MASKS ON

Students, parents, faculty, and staff must wear a mask covering their nose and mouth in the academy. To reduce the number of adults in the building we will continue to ask parents to drop children off at the gate or by car in the west driveway of our building.

SANITIZING STATIONS

Upon entering students and parents are required to sanitize their hands at the sanitizing stations provided in front of the building.

 

CLEANING BETWEEN CLASSES

What happens between classes? In between every class, a staff member will sanitize all barres and surfaces before the next class enters the studios. Deeper cleaning is done every night.

WE FOLLOW CDC GUIDELINES

We continue to follow the community changes in infection rates and adopting any new guidelines released by the CDC.

ZERO TRANSMISSION RECORD

In October of 2020, we reopened the Academy after lockdown and since then we have had ZERO cases spread at our school. We believed this is because of the strict safety protocols we have in place.

 

CLASSES ARE ON ZOOM

All classes will be offered in person as well as virtually. If your child has been exposed and is quarantined she/ he may continue to train from the safety of home.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact Ruth Wiesen at 305 667 5543 or click here to review our full COVID-19 safety protocol.

Now that you have this information are you ready to DANCE?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Announcing the 2021-2022 Board of Directors

A Strategic Leadership Change at Armour Dance Theater – Miami’s Community Dance Theater promotes from within

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 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.

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, which 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 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!

MAKE TIME FOR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

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.”

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.

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.

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. 

 

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.

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 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.

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.

 

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.