My Friend, Pat

26 Aug

Throughout my time at ABT, I have made a great friend at work – Pat. True we did not get along at first and someone had to teach us how to work together, but we eventually became close friends.

Mailing is constant here at ABT, and I had to work with Pat often. He can do amazing things! He can seal your envelopes and knows how to pull the letters through on a conveyor belt to postmark them. You can easily send something to another country by selecting an international letter.

Though he makes life easier, he can also decide to act up. He will stop working and say he has to “warm up.” Or he holds onto a letter and will not let go until you yank it away from her. We will be working on a large project, and then he decides that she does not have the funds to finish and stops working. Of course, all the problems are resolved with the help of someone else or us taking a moment and revisiting the issue. Simply restarting has fixed many of our problems. All and all, we had some good times together.

Pat, if you have not have guessed, is our postage machine. It may seem weird to write about a mail machine’s importance, but around the development office, we would be lost without it. Huge mailings are sent out before large events, including member ticketing privileges. Whenever donations are received, donors receive letters in the mail explaining their membership or thanking them for their gift. During the seasons, we send out many mailing for the events, such as mailing dress rehearsal tickets and instructions to members. In general, the development’s primary form of communication remains ground mail. Without Pat, the development office would take longer to get out important information to donors and have to lick a lot of envelopes.

Taylor Logan

Membership Intern

Summer 2014

The American Girl Doll Event:  June 25,, 2014

26 Aug

This summer I worked as the Special Events Intern at American Ballet Theatre. I was lucky enough to experience and assist the development department during their eight-week season at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center. One of the most memorable experiences I had at the Met during this time was when I had the opportunity to assist in The American Girl Doll Event.

The company was performing Swan Lake and partnered with American Girl to hold a special tea party.   Once the ballet concluded a rush of little girls and their dressed-up dolls ran up the Met stairs to the Belmont Room. As part of the girls’ special afternoon at the ballet, ABT asked two dancers from the corps de ballet to come up after their performance in costume for a meet and greet. Once the ballerinas entered the room, the girls’ faces lit up with admiration and excitement. I am so grateful that I was able to attend this event because it reminded me of how I felt the first time I went to the ballet.     

ABT continues to aspire a new generation of audiences through special events such as the American Girl Doll tea party, the Young People’s Ballet Workshop, and other established projects. I am thankful to have played a role in ABT’s initiative to provide today’s youth with exposure to the arts. My summer at ABT was a memorable experience and has helped me continue to develop my professional aspirations.  

Amanda Morton

Special Events Intern

Summer 2014

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

26 Aug

The holiday season is a time of stress and joy. People attend a different party every night, while frantically scurrying around trying to find that perfect something. ABT’s Met season could be seen in a similar light. The company has a different performance each week, and people are constantly trying to figure out which show they want to see. It is a busy time, but there is always something new to do.

Working with the Development office, they ensure that members have great benefits and feel as if they are a part of the company. Throughout the Met season (or any season), the development office works around the clock. Seeing how ABT functions throughout one of its seasons is like watching a well-oiled machine run. Everyone has their part – ticketing processing, member events, database upkeep, and member acknowledgements –while constantly communicating with other departments and members. As an intern, I have been able to assist with every aspect of the department including member events.

I enjoy learning about the company and how the development office functions, but I love assisting with the events. ABT membership comes with different benefits at each level. Two passes to a dress rehearsal and the bi-annual company magazine On Point; higher levels of membership can attend multiple dress rehearsals, go on backstage tours, and watch a dancer interview plus many other amazing opportunities.

The development office plans all the membership events throughout the seasons. They coordinate each event with the Met or other venues and company managers to achieve a spectacular evening that may only last 50 minutes. Like the holidays – the planning takes place months in advance, but work continues up until the party starts.

Let’s take for example, a Dress Rehearsal. Company managers and the development office discuss dress rehearsal dates long before the Met season begins. Members receive invitations to dress rehearsals and decide which ones they wish to attend. A few weeks before the rehearsal, the box office sends the development staff tickets, and the staff sends them on to members attending the rehearsal.

Work continues into the earlier morning for the event. Each dress rehearsal has its own individual program, but cannot be finished until the day of – when the department receives the dress rehearsal cast. Multiple departments must then review the program for information accuracy and conformity to ABT’s style guide. Staffs prints and folds anywhere from 500 to over 1,500 programs that morning, and then delivers them to the ushers when they arrive at the Met. While at the Met, the staff works to ensure that donors have tickets and answer any questions. They assist ushers to ensure that everyone stays in their assigned seats.

Needless to say, each event takes a lot of time, double checking, and manpower. The entire department must communicate and work together to execute each event. The Met season takes a lot of hard work from everyone in the company, but it is a truly spectacular time of the year. Each performance is unique and exciting, and the entire season is a joy to be a part of.

Taylor Logan

Membership Intern

Summer 2014

ABT at the Met

6 Aug

The Met Season: Nine ballets, eight weeks, up to seven (sometimes eight) casts per ballet, six days per week. What a tremendous feat for a ballet company to take on. Though if there is one company that can pull it off with great success, it is American Ballet Theatre.

I got the privilege this summer of interning for ABT as an artistic intern as well as a major gifts intern. Getting to experience both departments allowed me to witness the incredible work that goes on both artistically and administratively during the Met Season. For the artistic side of my internship, I got to work two days a week at the Metropolitan Opera House with the artistic staff who temporarily relocated their offices from 890 Broadway to the Met Opera green room. They relocate offices because the company spends the total of their time both rehearsing and performing at the Met during the season. To be honest, it’s more like the artistic staff relocate residence to the green room because “working round the clock” is not an exaggeration for them. Some nights they would leave the Met with just enough time to turn around and come back in the morning.

My primary job as the artistic intern was to verify and calculate dancer overtime/penalty pay for rehearsal and performance days. Most of those days I got to watch rehearsals, see performances and meet dancers coming in and out of the green room. The excitement of walking through those stage doors never got old. In verifying schedules and calculating overtime, I realized just how incredible of an undertaking a season like this is for the dancers performing. The level of professionalism it takes for these dancers to be rehearsing several different ballets for hours during the day then turning around and performing yet another one that night, is simply unfathomable. Not to mention all that entails for the production staff as well.

And of course while all this goes on within the Met Opera House, there’s a whole other side going on administratively. Ticketing, VIP visits, member events, dinners and meetings: it all happens during the Met Season as well. The sheer number of events, let alone the magnitude, that the development staff puts on is incredible. It is an endeavor only accomplished through much commitment, time and effort from everyone involved. As a major gifts intern, I got to see how all the planning and preparation made these events come to fruition.

Though it is a busy time and an extraordinary effort, watch an ABT performance during the Met Season and I think you’ll agree that it’s all worth it. It was without a doubt one of the most thrilling and enjoyable times to be an intern at ABT and I’m so grateful I got to be a part of it!

Katie Currier

Major Gifts and Artistic Intern – Summer 2014

Dedication and Commitment: Members and the Membership Department

6 Aug

One of the most interesting aspects of being an American Ballet Theatre intern in the membership department is actually interacting with the donors during the Met Season. Through special events such as the Golden Circle Luncheon and by working at the membership table, it really gave me a chance to gain some perspective on how a non-profit arts organization actually works. It is amazing to see how the membership and development departments care so much about all the donors and work so many hours during the season to see that patrons at every level are able to enjoy the beautiful ballets and all the benefits that come with membership.

It was great being able to develop actual relationships with the donors and gave me a glimpse into the real work that the membership department does. By meeting and talking to all the patrons during my time at the Met, I could see that they all really care about ABT and about the art itself.

The Golden Circle Luncheon, held in honor of Mr. Brian J. Heidtke, was one of the most unique and interesting events to help out as a membership intern. The luncheon is held annually for ABT’s Golden Circle members, who are crucial to the company. The planning that went into the event was immense, but rewarding. From mailing tickets, invitations and acknowledgements, to creating, printing, and folding programs, there was a lot to be done in preparation for the event. At The Plaza Hotel, we began our day bright and early, setting all the gift bags, programs, and place cards at each table and getting ready for the guests to start arriving to check-in. The event moved smoothly from The Plaza to the Met for the dress rehearsal. It was amazing to see how an event of that caliber was prepared for and run in such a smooth fashion. Again, it just reminded of how the membership department works tirelessly for all the patrons to honor and thank them for their incredible support to the company.

Working at ABT this summer has been such a gratifying experience and I am so thankful for the opportunity!

Shivani Badgi
Summer 2014, Membership Intern

“Yes, Sophie, there is a Tooth Fairy”

5 Aug

As the final two weeks of my internship approached, after eight extremely busy weeks of Summer Intensives, I expected things in the office to wind down—I thought I might finish some editing projects, file some last bits of student paperwork and make a few more trips to the dry cleaner to drop off or pick up Studio Company costumes. Low-key tasks. But ABT, ever full of surprises, handed me a fantastic one just over two weeks before I was due to leave. “Hey, Sophie,” Heidi said, “we’re one counselor short for YDSW. Could you help us out?”
Thus began what has arguably been the most exciting, and unexpected, part of my internship experience. The Young Dancer Summer Workshop, or YDSW, is the last of three Summer Intensive programs in the NYC studios at 890 Broadway, comprising about 200 students ages 9-12. The students are divided into nine levels, each with a color name and each with its very own counselor, a.k.a. Supervisor-in-Chief. My counselor duties, I learned, would include taking attendance in every class, checking each student into and out of the building, helping teachers demonstrate in the classroom, setting up PT appointments, handling students’ injuries and illnesses in class, overseeing lunch, generally providing each student with a wonderful ABT experience and, most importantly, never leaving the kids unsupervised. This last assignment, though initially daunting, has proven very easy to accomplish, because the students are all so much fun to be with! My group (Green—26 dancers) has made me eager to be at the office at 8:30 every morning, despite my two-hour commute. They don’t have to try to please me; they’re just so thrilled to be there, to talk to me and to one another and to dance dance dance!
Seeing them in and outside of class every day has reminded me why I wanted a job in the Education Department in the first place. There are many exciting aspects of office work in Education, from the clerical (preparing press packets for the Studio Company tour to Colorado) to the artistic (conjuring floral garlands from hula hoops, fake flowers and a hot glue gun—bippity-boppity-boo!), and it was these tasks I anticipated when I applied for the internship. Yet the most rewarding Education experience for me has been that provided by the YDSW kids. Sure, there have been small crises—only this afternoon a girl I’d never seen before came up to me with a bloody mouth, proudly displaying the baby tooth that had just fallen out and eager to tell me how frequently the Tooth Fairy has been visiting her lately—but these prove as educational for me as any other aspect of the job.
For a fresh college graduate to whom the future often seems daunting, it is immeasurably helpful to be surrounded by young dancers who are just learning to tie their pointe shoes, anticipating the Tooth Fairy’s magical arrival, still looking at life as one long, not yet choreographed dance in which they are all prima ballerinas. I only wish I could stay longer in their world.

Thank you, ABT, for giving me such a wonderful gift.

Sophie Johnson
Education Training Programs Intern Summer 2014

The other side of the National Training Curriculum

4 Aug

The crazy Met season for the company may be over but the busiest time for the National Training Curriculum (NTC) has just begun! I am one of two interns working for the NTC this summer. The NTC provides a scientific approach to the training and education of classical ballet, which aims to produce healthy and well-rounded dancers through the training of dance educators. The curriculum of the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School is based on the NTC and it has been producing numbers of amazing dancers. At the Department of Education and Training, we are working on the administrative side of NTC, making sure that it is serving its mission.

One of the major aspects of the NTC is to offer the teacher training sessions. Now, more than 1000 teachers have been certified in the NTC and the number is still growing. We have many sessions throughout the year but the summer is definitely one of the busiest seasons as we have them not only in the US but also internationally, with the largest session happening at ABT’s 890 Broadway Studios in NYC. Our NYC session started last week with the section of Levels 4 and 5. It was great to see all our preparation come into action with ballet teachers from all over the world. We are still learning and figuring out what works best as we implement—just like teaching ballet!

I am studying ABT’s National Training Curriculum with the partnership Master’s program at New York University. I’ve been studying the materials of the curriculum for the past year, but it has been a whole different experience to see the administrative side of NTC. Also, I had a chance to audit and take a class for Levels 6 and 7 today during my day off. Having the teachers from all over the world added another layer of energy, excitement, and knowledge to the already extensive learning experience I’ve been having at NYU.

It’s about half way through the NYC Summer session, and we are expecting the largest session with 110 teachers for Pre-Primary through Level 3 section next week. Merde to all the teachers who are taking the teacher certificate exam! We’re going to support and to make your time here to be the best learning experience :)

Minami Hara
National Training Curriculum Intern Summer 2014

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