by Michelle Neyland, Major Gifts & Institutional Support Intern
The time has flown by so quickly since I arrived in New York 4 weeks ago! I flew in from Australia in September, from the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts as an Arts Management student, however nothing could have prepared me for the ABT experience. I have had the ride of my life in just three months and I cannot believe it has to end! The wonderful staff at ABT made me feel welcome as soon as walked in the door and I was put straight to work as a Major Gifts Intern and Intuitional Support Intern. It has been an extraordinary year for American Ballet Theatre and I have felt so fortunate to be a part of it! ABT’s tremendous efforts continue to lead them into ballet history!
The Fall Season approached, I was introduced to the world of events working on everything from invitation designs and RSVP’s, to hosting Major Donor and Membership events, while assisting throughout the entire Fall Season. The World Premier of Alexei Ratmansky’s Symphony # 9, part one of a tri-series choreographed by ABT’s Artist in Residence was a fabulous success. The celebration continued with a dedication to Rodeo’s 70th anniversary among other outstanding works. Every day and every night either side of performances were full of events. My Fall Season schedule began with ABT’s Opening Night Gala, where the incredible New York social scene came to life! I have never witnessed so many Oscar de la Renta dresses in one room—the fashionable showdown of ABT donors reminded me of a Hollywood movie scene. Between the photographers, celebrities and mingling with guests I did not sit down.
The Fall Season continued ABT’s momentum with the annual Chairman’s Council Curtain Call dinner. After guiding Chairman’s Council members to their tables, I was able to sit amongst the Major Donors, Artistic staff and Dancers to really absorb what ABT is all about. The support from donors seen throughout the development department particularly from the Special Gift and Major Gifts department was to the Company’s credit. The dedicated staff and public’s emphasis on the importance of art and culture in their society was emotionally elevating. The honor of working with such a leading arts Company, particularly in Development was intellectually and spiritually touching. Ratmansky is truly the Balanchine of the 21st century- ABT is making ballet history!
I have made the most amazing connections in this wonderful city and the dearest friends anyone could ever make!
by Delaney Wing, Training Programs Intern
If you love children and ballet, nothing beats Saturday mornings at the ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. This semester, I was fortunate enough to be the Education Department’s Training Programs Intern. This involved working directly with the Children’s Division of the JKO School in order to make sure everything ran smoothly on the school’s busiest days. Children’s Division offers classes for children ages 4-12 that build a student’s ballet technique. My role as an intern is to make sure the children get to class safely and are ready to learn. On Saturdays you can find me running up and down the stairs with children in tow, fixing buns for parents, or working on paperwork. I make sure the studio spaces have enough barres and that no one gets lost in ABT’s labyrinth of studios. When the company is in town, I make sure the students observe their rehearsals or classes respectively. Watching the children observe the professionals is always a treat – their faces are always in awe.
Working directly with students and parents is one of the most gratifying parts of my job. The students are passionate and their love of dance is infectious. On Saturday mornings I love helping the youngest level of Primary students line up for classes. Primary students range in age from 4-8 and their morning class is usually the start to their day. I help line the children up and walk them to their assigned studio. I love having the little ones tell me about what they have learned after class. They are sponges and it is wonderful to see how quickly they learn, especially at such a young age. It makes you realize the importance of dance education. As a Training Programs Intern, you really feel as though you are a part of helping children fall in love with dance.
As a former ballet student, it is fun to be on the administrative side of the JKO School. So much goes into making JKO operate smoothly. From scheduling studio spaces to making sure every student has the proper uniform – I am immersed in administration. I continue to learn a lot about how to work under pressure and deal with families. All the skills I have learned thus far will be applicable in the future. Additionally, it is inspiring to be around young dancers. Wouldn’t trade it for the world!
Young dancers of the JKO Children’s Division (Photo: Rosalie O’Connor)
by Lucia Elledge, Marketing Intern
During my tenure as a marketing intern for the fall of 2012 I worked on a variety of tasks such as initiating a sales analysis, conducting marketing research, and copy editing promotional materials. I have always been interested in marketing, and this internship gave me invaluable insight into the field, as well as a more comprehensive knowledge of arts non-profits. I was also able to gain knowledge of other fields within American Ballet Theatre through the insight of guest speakers and my participation in several of the development department’s donor events. Ballet being a passion of mine, I could not have asked for a better place to have these opportunities!
by Alison Dambach, National Training Curriculum Intern
What an amazing and exciting time Iʼve had as an intern here at American Ballet Theatre! I have had the privilege of working as the National Training Curriculumʼs intern under Meghan Love and Jenna Bitterman for the past semester and Iʼve truly loved every minute of it. Currently Iʼm working towards my Masterʼs degree in Dance Education: ABT Ballet Pedagogy at NYU, where Iʼm training in the National Training Curriculum (NTC). Being able to learn the curriculum at the same time as working in the NTC department has been such a great opportunity. During my time as an intern, Iʼve been able to see and help with all that goes into teacher trainings, affiliate exams, and certification renewals. I believe this internship has helped shown me what a true honor is it to become ABT NTC certified; something that I hope to accomplish in my next semester.
If it werenʼt for Dennis, Jenna, Meghan, and the entire Education Department at ABT, I definitely would not have enjoyed my time as an intern nearly as much. The entire department is so friendly and willing to help in any way they can. Iʼm so thankful for this semester spent as an ABT intern – an experience I will cherish for a long time coming.
Raymond Lukens leading an NTC session (Photo: Rosalie O’Connor)
by John Ng, Special Events Intern
As I reflect on my experience at the New York City Center Opening Night Gala (the premier special event of the Fall Season), one word comes to mind: Whirlwind. I began my internship in the middle of September, exactly one month before the event. At this point, the Special Events team was already working in full swing in preparation for the event, so aside from having to learn all about ABT and adjusting to the new work environment, I had to dive right into the tasks! Every other hour, there were new items added to my to-do list. Fortunately, the team was supportive every step of the way throughout my learning experience. For the preparation of the event, one of the projects I managed was to write out dinner place-cards for over 400 guests. Although it seemed tedious and laborious at first, it was actually one of the most enjoyable tasks. It gave me a chance to practice my penmanship, and I was able to learn a lot of names: Board members, high level supporters, dancers and staff; an opportunity to get to know the people that make ABT tick! Before we knew it, the big day arrived – October 16th – and those tireless hours of preparation were finally paying off! Everything went according to plan and the event was a tremendous success! With that said, it also made me realize that the success of an event relies heavily on solid preparation; and to work in Special Events one must pay great attention to detail and have a good sense of humor. Afterall, those late nights and weekends in the office would not be worthwhile if you can’t laugh a little! To my mentors and colleagues in the Special Events team Brie, Katie & Maria: THANK YOU!
by Melissa Rosko, Membership Intern Blog
Working as a Membership Intern at American Ballet Theatre, I had a wonderful experience learning how a lucrative development team is run. As a recent graduate from the University of Texas in Austin, this internship was a wonderful way to expand my career goals of working in nonprofit development.
Bringing in about 22 percent of the company’s annual contributed earnings, the Membership department was constantly bustling with various large projects like the 3,000 piece mail out that had to be prepared for the annual fall appeal for donors to renew or upgrade their membership. This project included drafting and editing letters for each level of membership, addressing them all, and of course, getting them post office ready. This was a very intense task, but is also extremely important for the fiscal wellbeing of the company. It was also wonderful to see how everyone pulled together as a team to get a great deal of mailings done in much less time than usual, thanks to Hurricane Sandy.
Another very crucial aspect of Membership is the planning and execution of various member events. Starting from day one of the internship, there was constant logistical planning to be done for the annual Fall Season Gala at the New York City Center. I got to assist with keeping track of patron ticket orders, making phone calls to donors for their RSVP’s, and acting as a representative for studio rehearsal visits. My favorite evening to work was the annual Golden Circle event at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. This was a smaller, more intimate event with a Q&A by Corps de Ballet member Sterling Baca and ABT Ballet Master, Clinton Luckett. After working so hard on mailings and event logistics, it was most gratifying to be able to spend time with the people who are so devoted to the company.
By Paige McGovern, Education and Training Programs Intern
This week marks my final week as an ABT Intern, what a great summer it has been! As a former dancer potentially looking to embark on a career path in arts administration, this internship was the perfect taste of what a career in this field would offer. Working with the Education and Training Department for the National Training Curriculum gave me insight to how the administrative side of a non-profit company operates.
In the weeks leading up to the New York teacher trainings I assisted Jenna Bitterman, National Training Curriculum Manager, and Meghan Love, National Training Curriculum Assistant, with tasks such as processing payments, creating schedules, and organizing Affiliate Exam results.
This week was one of our busiest all summer; it was the Primary through Level 3 teacher training. Over 100 teachers came to the course making it the National Training Curriculum’s largest training session yet! The three weeks of teacher trainings were my favorite of the summer, Jenna and Meghan kept me very involved.
When the teachers arrived I had to point them in the right direction and answer any questions they may have had. The building got extremely busy with so many teachers. I then helped with updating schedules, creating invoices, selling boutique items, and I even learned how the budget is created. One day I even got to take a ballet class with the teachers! I really enjoyed watching the lectures and classes taking place, since before this internship I was uneducated as to what the National Training Curriculum was.
On the last day of my internship I got to proctor and grade the written exam that the teachers were taking. It was a great way to come full circle this summer from starting with the planning and ending with exams. I am sad to see my internship come to an end, but I have met so many amazing people and have learned so much that I can take with me in the future.