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. 


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. 
Cars parked on a wall with art

A Letter From TAYB Alumnus & Harvard Student Javier Aranzales

To the donors/supporters of the Thomas Armour Youth Ballet,

I have just completed my freshman year at Harvard University, an experience and opportunity that takes my breath away every time I think about it and one that I firmly believe would not have been possible without the support from the Thomas Armour Youth Ballet, which took me in with open arms four years ago in my quest to explore the beauty of ballet. The TAYB opened up its doors to me and also the doors of the New World School of the Arts, which provided me with a background that set my Harvard application apart. For this, I will forever support the TAYB and the difference that it made in my life. I am currently writing from Trento, Italy where I am in the third week of an eight-week study abroad program in Mind, Brain, and Behavior, which was fully funded by a grant that I received from the Harvard Office of Career Services. After this trip, I will be back home in Miami for a week, making multiple trips to my home at the TAYB for ballet classes, before heading off to Shanghai, China as a member of Harvard’s Summit for Young Leaders in China where I will teach a seminar of Ballet and Modern Dance History in the United States, as well as Ballet and Hip-Hop extracurricular classes! Some highlights from this past year include traveling on a fully-funded trip to El Salvador during winter break as a member of Harvard’s Habitat for Humanity, traveling on a fully-funded trip to New Orleans during spring break with a group of freshman to carry out community service, diving into academics and uncovering a new level of intellectual vitality all while being a part of the community that has become a home with people who have become family: Harvard’s Class of 2016. I am currently thinking of pursuing Neurobiology and Global Health and Health Policy while exploring my interest in Government. This coming year, I will be mentoring a group of incoming freshmen as a Peer Advising Fellow, dancing with the Harvard Ballet Company, and exploring Health Education through Harvard’s branch of the Foundation for the International Medical Relief of Children. I cannot thank you enough for your support towards the Thomas Armour Youth Ballet and consequently, your support towards me getting ahead in life and helping create a better life for myself and for my family.

With all the warmest wishes and gratitude,

Javier Aranzales