A Fouetté Turn Into My New Internship

22 Jan

Backstory: Summer 2016 was one of my biggest transitioning periods yet. After, interning and working for Dancewave for the past two years, my time came to an end in May. Due to funding, I was sad to hear that I was not going to be returning to Dancewave in the Fall. Although, I was bummed about the news, I am thankful for the amazing staff who introduced me to the field of arts administration and provided me with an exceptional experience of a working non-profit company in New York City.

At this point, I knew I wanted to continue gaining experience in arts administration or in the dance world in general, so I considered potential internships or jobs that would provide me that opportunity. My opportunity came sooner than I thought, when I was hired as a Summer counselor for ABT’s Summer Intensive 6-week program in June. In those 6-weeks I enjoyed watching over my group of students, taking class, and working with ABT’s staff. It was at the end of the 6-weeks, in July, when I was informed that I was not going to return to Dancewave. By now, I knew most internship positions were unavailable for the Fall, so I looked for internship positions in Spring – one of them being ABT’s Education and Training internship with the JKO School. Just when I thought I would have to wait an entire semester to even apply for the position, I received an email by Rebecca Schwartz (Director, ABT JKO School) offering me a positon for the Trainings Programs Internship for the fall semester. Delighted and beyond excited, I said yes.

Before I knew it, it was already September and my internship began. Interning with the JKO school gave me the opportunity to acquire office literacy skills, hands on experience/interactions with students, parents, and working professionals. It has taught me how to handle and manage situations with the most efficient solutions possible. My colleagues, Rebecca, Katie F., Katie C., and Leann of the JKO School took the time to teach me the ins and outs of what it takes to run a school within a world-wide known company like ABT.

Attending events like ABT’s 2016 Fall Gala at Lincoln Center or Sacks Fifth Avenue-Land of 1000 Delights, while working behind the scenes is an experience of a life-time. Knowing I was part of a team that was working towards making a high-volume event come together for the company, the students, their parents, and guest audiences to enjoy, brought me self-satisfaction and honor. I got to see working professional artists like Misty Copeland or Gillian Murphy outside of the stage in their morning company class or backstage at Lincoln Center, securing their ribbons just before going on stage; I felt like a little kid in a candy store. Inside the ABT studios, I was surrounded with warm-smiling children, older students, and teaching artists every day. Both the students and teachers were dedicated to each other in providing exquisite training and commitment to their progression in their training.

Four months later, walking away from my internship, I realized it was a dream come true. I could never fully put into words how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to intern for ABT or how much more I have learned about myself and professionally. The skills that I have acquired will stick with me for a life-time and I will be applying them throughout my career within the performing arts.

Elizabeth Juarez

Education and Training Intern

Fall 2016

A Learning Opportunity

22 Jan

“Why don’t you pull up your chair. This is a good teaching moment.” Many times this semester my mentor would ask me to do just that, and so time and time again I would pull up my chair next to her desk. These are the moments that truly make ABT a unique place to intern. Interns at ABT are part of the Educational program. Not a distraction but a valued investment.

Coming from a liberal arts background, finance or budgets were not really my strong suite. But perhaps the opportunity to intern in ABT’s Institutional Support Department excited me precisely because of the challenge it presented. I knew I could learn, because I knew I’d be taught.

I always had a lot of questions. But my mentor was extremely patient and more than willing to answer them. She spent time explaining the details of raising institutional support: what the application process for the different foundations looks like and how diverse the requirements can be, what the best ways to organize and document files are, what the nuances of interactions with representatives of foundations or corporations are, how project budgets are created, how to write reports, and so much more. But not only did I have the opportunity to learn about Institutional Support, I also got a glimpse into the Development, Artistic, Production Departments, and the Company as a whole. I knew that after graduating I want to be working in arts administration, but more and more I’m coming to understand how broad of a term it really is. ABT gave me the opportunity to explore and learn about the field not limiting me only to one aspect.

Looking back at my four months as an intern in the Institutional Support Department, I am blown away by how much I have had the chance to learn: what is a W990 form, how to make project budgets, how to write grants, and do prospect research. Things that only a couple of month ago existed vaguely in my imagination have now become concrete concepts I am ready to talk about and work on. The hands on experience and actively being able to apply the knowledge to a real life situation right after sitting by my mentor’s desk and learning about it make the ABT Internship Program truly unique.

Alisa Goz

Institutional Support

Fall 2016

The Real Highlight was the Guest Speakers!

9 Jan

The National Training Curriculum internship at American Ballet Theatre has been an incredibly rewarding experience! Looking back on the semester I can’t believe how much I have learned in such a short time! American Ballet Theatre is a place I could have only imagined working for and getting to come to the office every morning felt like a dream come true! This internship was also a huge asset to me as a NYU Masters student in the ABT pedagogy program pursuing my certification in the National Training Curriculum and a degree in Dance Education.

 

The guest speakers that lectured during the internship program were a real highlight for me. They offered great insight to various departments of the performing arts administration world. For me, as someone seeking a job in performing arts administration but unsure about which path to pursue, this was extremely helpful and interesting. Often, the guest speakers would over lap with ones brought in to speak at my NYU Performing Arts Administration course. This was so beneficial to me because not only did I get a clearer understanding of what the role of a Controller, a Company Manger or The Manager of Institutional Support is but I also got to see what I was studying in action and how it applies to the real world! This created a very well rounded experience for me.

 

I felt very welcomed into the ABT family and I was so lucky to work under such great mentors, Meghan, Molly and Sonia. I have so much respect for how much work goes into running the NTC program and how dedicated they all are to their job! I feel as though I really have really gained skills that I will carry with me into the future and much greater insight when looking for employment in a performing arts institution!

Dasha Schwartz

National Training Curriculum Intern

Fall 2016

Are you clueless about ballet? You should intern at ABT!

5 Jan

 

I am a business student who loves sports, so naturally I began this internship knowing next to nothing about dance. I knew the company name and the basics of what a ballet consisted of: ballet dancers. So walking in on my first day was pretty nerve-wrecking. Not only was I the new intern, but I was also way out of my comfort zone.  Turns out that that is something I am now grateful for. I got to meet my coworkers Jackie, Gwen, Arielle, and Grey who I often worked and interacted with. They made the experience an opportunity to meet great people and learn and not just a job. I learned bits and pieces of what role the development department plays in a non-profit organization. I learned how to interact with members and was able to put faces to the names on the acknowledgement letters I did weekly. I made new friends, my fellow interns, who didn’t make fun of me for not knowing who Misty Copeland or Jeffrey Cirio were. Instead they taught me the basic essentials of the ballet world. For that I am thankful to them, for guiding me and helping me learn to fit in. Overall, I’m grateful for the experience. People always ask me why I selected American Ballet Theatre to be my first internship when I was clueless about dance and never danced before, and I’ll always tell them, “Whenever I’m given the opportunity to learn about something that I am clueless about, I will never say no, because all knowledge is precious and no one knows what you’ll learn, or who you will meet, that could impact your life.” I’m glad to have been able to see the behind the scenes aspects that make the ballet performance as breathtaking as the dancer’s view on stage.

Carina Escobar

Membership Intern

Fall 2016

Go To All the Events!!!

26 Dec

Coming into my internship with the Major Gifts department at ABT, I had only a vague idea of what words like “Major Gifts” or “Development” meant. I was the tiniest bit afraid it would turn out to be dry or not at all what I expected. But over this past semester, my experience with ABT proved how interesting and creative a career arts administration can be. It’s so inspiring to work with people who care deeply about ABT’s mission and the performing arts as a whole, and to see all of the behind-the-scenes work give life to the projects on stage.

While the events and performances were definitely highlights of my time at ABT, I can’t overlook the experience I had day-to-day at 890 Broadway. In the Major Gifts office, Fallon Sullivan was so ready to help me learn (about development, the industry, our finicky printers, etc.) and contribute to the staff’s work. I was happy to see how the work I was doing was immediately used by Major Gifts to reach out to donors, organize events, or create reports. There were also of plenty of little hands-on projects that came up now and then – designing invitations, putting together an information binder for the board, asking a dancer for their signature for a donor gift, etc. I never felt like I was stuck doing “busywork,” and if it was ever tedious, the people I was surrounded by always brightened things up!

Aside from regular office duties, my favorite parts of the internship were the occasional pop-up events. Just before the opening of the Fall season, donors sometimes came into 890 Broadway to sit in on a rehearsal or dance class. I loved putting faces to the names I’d been working with and hearing a bit about their lives. It was also inspiring to see the dancers work tirelessly to perfect their performance. Another day, Burberry NYC was hosting a special fundraiser for major donors and members in their midtown location. I tagged along with another intern, taking in the incredible runway collection, the dancers, and donors who shopped the event. And at an early morning intern meeting, Kara Medoff Barnett (ABT’s new Executive Director) came to talk informally with us about her professional and personal experience leading up to her new job at ABT. After each of these little surprises, I looked at ABT with a new appreciation – the office and the art and all of the staff are constantly blending into each other, each of them striving to put forth the best work possible.

As a note of advice for future interns, I would recommend that you go to ALL the events possible. They’re so fun, and that is where you get to soak in what the heart of ABT is about and to make a connection with the staff and the other interns. Ask as many questions as possible, and don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone and everyone! Everyone I encountered in my time at ABT was so open and willing to help out. I can’t thank them enough for the incredible experience I had this semester. I look forward to putting everything I’ve learned into practice!

Rebecca Souza

Major Gifts Intern

Fall 2016

My Semester in Special Events

16 Dec

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always dreamed of working for American Ballet Theatre. Back then I might have had a different outfit in mind, but when I was accepted into the internship program at ABT this fall I was more than thrilled to put on some business casual attire and translate my passion for the art and for the company through an administrative perspective.

This semester, I had the opportunity to work as the Special Events Intern in the Development Department where I was able to learn so much more about the company, how it operates as a large, successful nonprofit organization, and of course the components of planning, organizing, and executing special events. In this position, I was given the opportunity to not only assist with the important and necessary tasks that go into major events such as recording and filing new reservation information, drafting and mailing acknowledgement letters before and after events, and tracking expenses, but also attending and staffing the actual events themselves. This fall I had the opportunity to help work on three big events; the 2016 Fall Gala, the preview event for Alexei Ratmansky’s new ballet, Whipped Cream, and the 2016 Holiday Benefit.

By far, attending events was one of my favorite parts of the internship program. As the Special Events intern, one of the most rewarding aspects of the position was seeing how the little things I helped work on throughout the process of planning were visible, important components of making the event possible. I also really enjoyed getting to meet donors I had been communicating with through acknowledgement letters at events, it was a wonderful experience getting to place faces with names and further connect the work I had been doing in the office to an outside environment.

In addition to these special events, I really enjoyed helping out with other events in the Development Department as well, such as Membership Studio Visits, Junior Turnout, Company Class on Stage, and Board Meetings. I would highly recommend volunteering to help at as many of these events as you can because not only will you get the opportunity to work with all the incredible people who work in the Development Department at ABT and have even more opportunities to connect with donors, but you can also get a glimpse into some rehearsals to see the amazing artists in the company at work.

Interning at ABT was everything I hoped it would be and more. I would highly recommend this internship to anyone interested in arts administration, development, or nonprofit work. You will be given a lot of responsibility, countless opportunities, and great insight into how the company operates from a different point of view.

Alyssa Wagner

Special Events Intern

Fall 2016

 

I am here, in this internship program, because of a TV show.

15 Dec

I am here, in this internship program, because of a TV show.

Some backstory: Fall 2015 was one of my lowest points. I was in the midst of planning a semester off and potential transfer from a program I no longer had passion for. I was scared and uncertain and finding it hard to stay positive. In an effort to cheer myself up, I found something that combined two of my great loves, dance and TV, in the Starz series Flesh and Bone. After binging the series, I was struck with inspiration.

At this point, I knew that actually being on stage was not for me. But what about being behind the scenes? Working in the arts but in a different, administrative capacity? Being a former dancer, I of course knew of ABT, of Misty Copeland and Marcelo Gomes and Isabella Boylston (though I did not know of Sascha Radetsky’s connection until after looking on his IMDb page because of Flesh and Bone – apparently I am one of four former dance kids who has never seen Center Stage, but I digress). I knew ABT was top notch in the dance world, so why not start there? On a whim, I googled “American Ballet Theatre Internship” and lo! Success! I edited my resume, wrote up a cover letter, sent in the application (to ABT among other places), and waited.

Two weeks later, I get a call from Dennis Walters, inviting me to come to 890 Broadway to interview for an intern position in the education department. I couldn’t believe it! Maybe this weird plan was working! I went to the office, nervous, and did my 30 minute interview. I thought it went well. I thought maybe this was my life turning around. Another two weeks later, I get an email from Dennis – there were many qualified candidates, but unfortunately I would not be offered a position with ABT. Despite this bad news, I wasn’t mad or heartbroken – I was now more determined than ever to make this work.

So the following March, I applied again. And I waited. And waited. I thought they might have lost my application, or were simply ignoring me. Finally, in August, I get another email from Dennis, asking to set up another interview with the education department. Surely, this was my time. I did a phone interview and then I waited some more. By the time, I came back to the city for my Fall 2016 semester, I still hadn’t heard anything. I sent another follow up email and got a familiar response – they were going in a different direction for the internship.

At this point, I thought maybe it was time to look elsewhere, or maybe forget an internship altogether and focus my time on my grades and my new major. Apparently, that is not what was planned for me. Not two weeks after my second rejection, I get another call from Dennis, this time with good news – their outreach intern was no longer available to work, and I had come highly recommended from my interview. This, I truly could not believe. After a mild happy dance in Washington Square Park, I accepted the offer and came to the internship orientation the next day.

Since then, I’ve pretty much been living out my dream. I’ve worked closely with the Make a Ballet program and the Young People’s Ballet Workshop, bringing dance to schools all over NYC. I’ve been backstage at the Koch Theater, wrangling kids for the Fall Gala. I now know every single person that works/dances for this company after making all of their IDs. Our concertmaster follows me on Twitter! Jose Sebastian follows me on Instagram! I’ve seen my favorite dancers perform world premiere pieces, and had to hold back tears while watching.
So, ultimately, I owe my gratitude not only to ABT for this incredible internship, but to Starz and Flesh and Bone. Because of this show that came into my life at the right time, I’m finding my way and really figuring out what I want to do and what I want to work in. Finally, everything is falling into place.

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Lauren Montana with ABT/NYU Program Director (and Star of Stage and Screen) Sascha Radetsky

 

Lauren Montana

Education Outreach Intern

Fall 2016