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. 

Spring Concert Blog Series: Aesha Ash


In preparation for our Spring Concert on April 6th and 7th, we’ve chosen the graceful Aesha Ash as the next artist of the 1980s to present to spotlight.


Aesha Ash started dancing at the age of 5 years old in Rochester, NY because her older sister wanted to dance. Her sister moved on to cheerleading, but Aesha fell in love with jazz and tap, dreaming of performing on Broadway. As she got older, she excelled in competitions, but they caused her a lot of anxiety. When she decided to move away from competing, she found her love for ballet.

That love, however, came with the pain of both overt and implicit expressions of racism. Aesha was a black girl in the predominantly white world of ballet in a suburban area, which made her a target for ridicule. At the age of 14, she moved to New York City to dance at the School of American Ballet which led to her entry to the New York City Ballet. While dancing with them, her father and sister both died of cancer.

Aesha Ash posing for the Swan Dreams Project.


Aesha Ash showing girls in her hometown of Rochester her pointe.

Aesha Ash showing girls in her hometown of Rochester her pointe.

Aesha attended the School of American Ballet, then was corps de ballet in the New York City Ballet. She then went on to become a soloist with the Béjart Ballet in Switzerland for two years before returning to the US, joining the Alonzo King LINES Ballet in San Francisco. She performed with Alonzo King LINES Ballet for three years until her retirement in 2008. Over the course of her dance career, she had a documentary made about her and performed as a dance double in feature films.



After her retirement from dancing, Aesha wanted to use her platform to expose young African American girls to ballet. She did so by creating the Swan Dreams Project, a photography series of Ash dancing in low-income neighborhoods and the reactions of locals. According to the Swan Dreams Project’s mission, “Through the use of imagery and my career as a ballet dancer, I want to help change the demoralized, objectified and caricatured images of African-American women by showing the world that beauty is not reserved for any particular race or socio-economic background.” In response to the adversity she faced in the ballet world as a black young woman, the Swan Dreams Project was created to challenge the stereotype of what a ballet dancer looks like.

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





Spring Concert Blog Series: Prince


In preparation for our Spring Concert on April 6th and 7th, we’ve chosen Prince Rogers Nelson as the next artist of the 1980s to present to the spotlight.

Prince for V Magazine in 2013.


Prince is known for his flamboyant style and emotional ballads. Both of his parents were musicians and he wrote his first song at seven years old. He grew up extremely poor, once saying in an interview that as a child he would stand outside of McDonald’s just to smell the food; at the time of his death in 2016, his net worth was around $200 million.

Prince released his debut album at 19 years old, on which he played all 27 instruments. His philosophy toward music was unique. He disliked working on a piece for too long and constantly wanted to move forward in his music. He claimed to record a new song every day, resulting in an impressive breadth of work.


Prince performing Purple Rain

Prince released a total of 39 albums in his lifetime and one posthumous album. He was a musical force to be reckoned with. In addition to those released albums, there are rumored to be 50 full-length albums of unreleased music in a vault at his private residential compound, Paisely Park.

While he produced the majority of his work as a solo artist, he formed several short-lived bands throughout his career. As a skilled instrumentalist, vocalist, producer, and writer, his work extended to tens of other artists aside from his own impressive discography.


Many artists cite Prince as an influence. He helped shape the sound of 80’s funk through his use of synthesizers and drum machines. Over 50 hit songs by other artists credit him as a songwriter, and he wrote even more under at least four pseudonyms.

It can be argued that Prince’s style was as influential as his music; his outfits and makeup disrupted gender norms and expectations. His style was so key to his artistic persona that he employed ten live-in tailors at Paisely Park. After his death, figures from musical artists to then-president Barrack Obama expressed their admiration and sympathy for the late performer.

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


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 Our Nutcracker Is The Best Holiday Tradition

With so many holiday performances and activities in Miami, it can be hard to choose the best way to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Our Nutcracker performance is tried and true! Going on its 42nd year, there are several reasons to choose Thomas Armour Youth Ballet’s magical Nutcracker production.

A White Christmas in Miami

Let our amazing set pieces take you on a journey to a place where it gets below 75 on Christmas Day! From the towering Christmas tree to a magical, snowy forest, it will feel like a real Winter Wonderland. Our show features all-new set pieces and original costuming that create an unforgettable experience.

The Nutcracker Inspires

The Nutcracker has captured the imagination of countless children. Toys come to life and there’s a world made of sweets. But the magic of the Nutcracker goes beyond its story for many dancers, it’s the first production they ever participate in. This cornerstone holiday performance has inspired little dancers for decades!

The Sounds of the Holidays

The Nutcracker wasn’t popular or performed in the US until the 1940s, but its music was world-famous soon after its composition in 1892. The enchanting sound of the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is synonymous with Christmas. In addition to the classic sounds of Christmas, hear music inspired by cultures from around the world.

We Capture the Spirit of Christmas Every Year

The Nutcracker opens with a big holiday party, but Christmas is about more than parties and presents. At its core, the Nutcracker is a story about goodwill and compassion. When Clara discovers what Drosselmeier has done to the Nutcracker Prince, she vows to help break the curse.

If you still don’t believe that this is the best holiday experience in Miami, join us in the Miami Dade Auditorium and see it for yourself! Click here to purchase tickets for our performance on Saturday, December 1st.

Miss our Spring Concert? We have you covered!

If you clicked this post you probably missed our 25th  Spring Concert. Don’t worry we have you covered! Here’s a quick little recap and the full performance video.


Our guest artists were incredible! Artists included Francesca Martoccio from Colorado Ballet, Paunika Jones former dancer at Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ayla Weisz Cyr Wheel performer from The Muse in  New York and Miguel Quinones and Steven Vaughn from Open Category Dance Co.


Advanced student performances included pieces from our tap team, contemporary team, and our advanced ballet students.


This year’s concert was inspired by art and culture during the 1950s through the 1980s. Rafi Maldonado choreographed a piece to tie in with the theme to music from Motown the Musical.


The coda to tie the whole theme together was done to you should be dancing by the BeeGees and the crowd loved it!

Now that you have a little preview sit back and enjoy the show!

What will you see at our Spring Concert?

Every year Thomas Armour Youth Ballet (TAYB) presents a Spring Concert at New World School of the Arts. The tradition dates back 25 years and we are excited for this year’s lineup!

While our name might make you think otherwise, the concert is not just ballet, but rather a combination of different dance genres and styles!

Want a sneak peek of what you might see if you go? Look no further!

Lively performances from the Tap Team!

TAYB began a tap team in 2011 to give our most advanced and talented tap students the opportunity to perform and perfect their skills.

Excerpts from classical ballets.

It all began with just classical ballet at Thomas Armour Youth Ballet. Classical works are not the full concert anymore but TAYB makes sure to include at least one piece of classical ballet in the concert.

Excerpts from classical ballets.

It all began with just classical ballet at Thomas Armour Youth Ballet. Classical works are not the full concert anymore but TAYB makes sure to include at least one piece of classical ballet in the concert.

Performances from several guest artists.

Many TAYB Alumni go on to perform in professional companies or have careers in dance choreography. Every year TAYB alumni are invited to perform as guest artists in the spring concert. Guest artists have included members of the Martha Graham Company, former Alvin Ailey Company members, dancers from Colorado Ballet, and much more.

The Spring Concert always has a theme from a point in history.

This year’s concert theme is 1950 – 1980. To stick with the theme the 2018 concert will present a Motown ballet and original choreography done to music from movies in the time period by our lead ballet teachers Mariana Alvarez and Rosario Suarez.

Exciting performances by our new Contemporary Team.

TAYB’s fairly new Contemporary Team began about two years ago and now they perform at TAYB’s annual spring concert. The idea for the Contemporary Team is the same as the Tap Team. All pieces performed by the contemporary team will be choreographed by Stephanie Fuentes, former Martha Graham II member.

Now that you know more about the concert you must want your tickets! This concert is at a very intimate venue so make sure to be the first to get them.

Have you been backstage at the Nutcracker? Check this out.

To get everyone through post Nutcracker blues, we decided to give you a peek into the backstage magic of our favorite annual tradition and share few facts that you may not know about!

  • TAYB’s Nutcracker is the longest-running and most diverse production of the Nutcracker in Miami.
  • TAYB welcomes over 10,000 school children every year during the morning week-day performances.
  •  Students from all five sites and the New World School of the Arts begin the audition and rehearsal process all the way in August.

This production of The Nutcracker is no ordinary production of the holiday classic it actually has a mission behind it. Now you know a little about the production and you probably want to see it in action behind the scenes!

Before we show you behind the scenes you should know that students from all five TAYB sites and New World School of the Arts begin the audition and rehearsal process all the way in August.

Now we are backstage! Clowns and Mice backstage getting makeup done and waiting patiently to put on their costumes.

After all the anticipation the curtain finally goes up!

Mice from Nutcracker junior cast watching the senior dancers in the wings.

Snowflakes from senior cast watching principal dancers playing the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier.

A view from Clara and the Nutcracker Prince from the wings during the magical snow scene.

A view of the Harlequin Dolls from backstage.

Clowns getting final corrections from the director right before going on stage for the second act.

Our guest artists Siriu Liu and Rodrigo Almares from Cincinnati Ballet performing the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.

To get updates about the Nutcracker and future performances click here.


Get A Chance To See Our 2017 Spring Concert!

Every year our youth ballet presents a spring concert with excerpts from classical ballets, modern pieces, tap pieces performed by our Tap Team, and original work performed by TAYB Alumni. This year we are giving everyone the opportunity to watch the performance on YouTube and hope you will join us for next year’s spring concert!