Spring Concert Blog Series: Basquiat


Thomas Armour Youth Ballet is excited to announce that this year’s Spring Concert will be themed in the period of the 1980s to the present! Our Spring Concert will be on April 6th and 7th this year. To prepare for the Spring Concert, we will be publishing a series of blog posts spotlighting different artists of the era.

Self-portrait Basquiat completed in 1983.


Jean-Michel Basquiat started as a street graffiti artist in Brooklyn. His parents began taking him to art museums at a young age. As a result, Basquiat came to admire Picasso and Warhol, whose influences are evident in his work. He began selling sweaters and postcards featuring his artwork around New York. As a self-taught artist, his style is raw and emotive. His work is also fiercely political. In his works, he critiqued consumerism and systems of racism.


Untitled (Top Left), Fishing (Top Right), and Grillo (Bottom)

Basquiat incorporated a lot of skulls in his work in a characteristic crayon-like style. He also completed several self-portraits. In his career as an artist, he produced over 1,500 drawings and around 600 paintings.


Basquiat rose to fame with the Neo-Expressionist wave. Much of his work surrounded the exploration of black identity. Not having the representation of royalty to draw from that white Europeans do, he included the motif of a crown in his works to emphasize the power of everyday black people.

One of the goals of his work was to bring black bodies to the visible forefront of the Western cultural canon. He succeeded in doing so, both in his works and in becoming an artistic legend himself.

For more information about TAYB’s Annual Spring Concert click here. 

Why Support Thomas Armour Youth Ballet On Give Miami Day?

Give Miami Day is Miami’s biggest city-wide fundraising 24-hour event with over 600 participating organizations. It is an incredible opportunity to support the causes you most believe in! Here are a couple of reasons to consider supporting Thomas Armour Youth Ballet on Give Miami Day.

Scholarship Programs

Thomas Armour Youth Ballet (TAYB) believes all children regardless of their economic background should have access to the arts. For this reason, TAYB provides scholarships based on financial need rather than giving talent-based scholarships.

Free After School and Summer Programming

Free after-school and summer programming for students ages 5-11 is a huge part of the organization. TAYB’s after-school programming is a comprehensive combination of dance and academics. Participating students receive a variety of dance classes taught by professional teachers, as well as homework assistance, and reading lessons. In the summer months, in addition to dance and reading, students also receive music and art classes!

Dance In New York City Program

Every year Thomas Armour Youth Ballet sends advanced students for a once in a lifetime experience to participate in summer dance programs in New York City. Housing costs, food, and a chaperone are provided to the students for free.

Next Steps Program

After students outgrow our after-school programming we offer them the opportunity to continue their dance training at our main site in South Miami through our Next Steps Program.

Performance Opportunity: The Nutcracker Ballet

Students from all 5 sites ages 8 and up are invited to participate in TAYB’s annual production of the Nutcracker Ballet at no cost! This opportunity allows children to experience what it is like to perform for a large audience in professional costumes on a real stage! There are four performances, one performance that is open to the general public, and three school field trip performances at affordable prices to make the Nutcracker accessible to schools all over our community. Over 6,000 school children see TAYB’s production of the Nutcracker every year.

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 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, needles, 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 when they are first learning how to maneuver the shoes. After years of practice, some dancers choose to continue to use the pads and some decide to ditch the pads altogether.


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.

Ransom Everglades Graduate Overcomes Tragedy With Help of School by Kyra Gurney at the Miami Herald

Mya Wright is a shining example of the adage that it takes a village to raise a child. In Mya’s case, that village is Ransom Everglades School, Where the 17-year-old graduated on Friday after seven years marked both by tragedy and by her determination to succeed no matter what. Read more. 

La temporada para ‘El Cascanueces’ By Olga Connor, El Nuevo Herald

Esta primera semana de diciembre comienza a presentarse en todo Estados Unidos el espectáculo favorito de niños y mayores de la época navideña, El Cascanueces. Read more. 

Un Cascanueces Multitudinario, Desenvuelto y Divertido by Orlando Taquechel, El Nuevo Herald

Para comenzar, hay que reconocer el impresionante poder de convocatoria de Thomas Armour Youth Ballet (TAYB). Las inclemencias del tiempo no fueron obstáculo para que la función del ballet Cascanueces que tuvo lugar el sábado pasado en el Miami-Dade County Auditorium experimentara un lleno completo. Read more. 

The Thomas Armour Youth Ballet’s Nutcracker By Guillermo Perez, Artburst

The December holidays are approaching and along with them, as sure as thicker waists and thinner wallets, The Nutcracker. Big-scaled or modest, all local or propped up by imported talent, there’s a production of America’s most popular ballet to suit any taste. But please don’t take the predictable assortment for granted or chuckle too readily at insider jokes: Who quipped that every Christmas just finds us another Nutcracker closer to death? Going to watch this dance is one of our few artistic and cultural rituals, which not only keeps studios busy and theaters full but also bolsters time-tested values. Read more. 

Dance Legend Arthur Mitchell Tours Miami’s Dance Community by Nadege Green, WLRN/Herald News

Dance icon Arthur Mitchell is sitting in the dance studio at Dr. Michael Krop Senior Highschool in Notheast Miami-Dade. He’s 81 year’s old. And even seated, he has the presence of a dancer. Read More. 

Shuffles and Chassés, Article By Ballet Scene

Tap meets ballet at TAYB, and the results are anything but mixed by Ryan P. Casey You wouldn’t expect to find tap among the offerings at Thomas Armour Youth Ballet, a Miami studio rooted in ballet since 1951. But today this classical ballet school, formerly called The Miami Conservatory, encouraged students ages 7 and up to study tap and ballet; for the members of its Tap Team, both forms of dance are required. The result? A win-win scenario. Read more.