For decades, Armour Dance Theatre has brought the art of dance to Miami.
"What I like about dancing is that you can express yourself when you dance," said Timia Cleare.
Timia has been dancing with this studio for four years. The 10-year-old is one of the hundreds of students in the after-school community outreach program.
"It’s fun because when you learn a piece you get to do it in groups and you get to dance with your friends and see what they have special about how they did it," aid Timia.
These programs give students like Timia an opportunity to find her passion and learn the foundations of dance.
"Our goal as an organization is to make dance accessible to every child in the community regardless of their family’s financial ability to pay for dance classes," said executive director, Camila Giil.
Grants from the Children’s Trust and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs make it possible for 400 children to receive scholarships for the program, with an additional 200 receiving scholarships at the main site in South Miami.
"In the 80’s our artistic director, Ruth Weisen, started this scholarship program with the goal of making dance accessible to the community and making sure our stages were a true representation of everybody in our community," said Camila.
These after-school community outreach programs are located in Little Haiti, West Coconut Grove, Miami Gardens and Perrine. During the summer, transportation is provided for advanced dancers from these sites.
"Over the years we’ve grown and added an academic component, a social and emotional learning component,[and] parenting component because we know it takes more than just dance to create opportunities but dance is the main tool we have to do that," said Camila.
The oldest ballet school in Miami hasn’t just become a breeding ground for multicultural classical dance talent but has contributed to so much more, positively impacting the lives of countless students and putting them on a path towards success.
"You have to try your best to focus on the teacher and blank out everyone else like they’re not there. It’s just you and the teacher and the classroom so you’re focused and you have a clear mind on what you’re doing," said Timia.