My ‘Season’ at ABT

17 Aug

Do I dance? Sadly, I don’t have the coordination for that. Did I know a thing about ballet? I know as much as the next person- that it’s a beautiful artform that has helped shape American culture throughout the years. I thought I knew finance well enough to help with any projects the team had for me right off the bat. Little did I know, I had so much more to learn- both about finance and ballet. By all means, this internship should have been the most nerve-wracking experience of my summer, yet I found it to be one of the most enjoyable opportunities of the year. Before coming to ABT, I was only certain about one thing- I wanted to work in the financial sector of a non-profit to see how non-profits balanced the seemingly precarious budget, year after year in hopes of starting my own one day. After reaching out to a previous intern about her summer as a part of the finance team at ABT, I knew it was how I wanted to spend my summer. 

Although I was disappointed that I couldn’t meet the team in person, greet everyone at the office everyday and experience the live performances myself, the virtual setting actually proved to be one of the best features about this internship. Because this internship was no longer tied to a specific location, I was able to work on other remote projects that I would have otherwise not been able to start. It was also extremely flexible, which is something that I greatly value. Personally, I work best when I can create my own schedule and work at weird (but productive), nocturnal hours of the night. 

Through my supervisor, Godwin, I learned how the Form 990 worked. It never occured to me how incredibly complex this tax form for non-profits could be. It made me value even more the hard work that the finance team put in. With every successful company and non-profit, there is a dedicated finance team that closely supports its endeavors with an abundance of budgeting and expense-tracking excel sheets. Without Godwin’s guidance and constant patience, I would have never been able to learn as much as I did. With Talisa, I helped input the payroll for dance instructors for the summer intensive classes. Although I didn’t get to work closely with the other members of the team, I hope I get to meet them all one day in the office!

Despite the online setting, Dennis and the internship staff still managed to make sure that we were able to learn about ABT and the different fields. I remember when Kara took time out of her busy schedule to tell us her story, and was happy to answer any questions that we had about her work and her journey to ABT. I recall the unique stories that each staff member from different departments had about their journey to ABT and their favorite (and least favorite) parts about working in ABT. The strong sense of community and family-like bonds that everyone in ABT forged was one of the most unforgettable aspects of my experience. Thank you ABT!

Cora Wen

Finance Intern

Summer 2021

Summer at ABT

10 Aug

I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to intern for American Ballet Theatre (ABT) this summer. When I applied for in February, there were very few performing arts organizations that would accept graduate students for intern due to the pandemic. However, ABT was almost the only one that was accepting interns as usual.

I am impressed that the internship system itself is very well organized. For instance, there are weekly meetings for interns, where we can have a valuable conversation with the executive director, and managers from the finance, marketing, education, and development department. ABT generously provided us with valuable opportunities to get to know the administration and management job at the nonprofit performing arts organization. In addition, through the intern meetings, there was a unique opportunity for us to receive detailed and practical advice from our mentor on cover letters, resumes, and interview tips in preparation for job searching. Through this opportunity, we were able to gain a wide range of knowledge and practical perspective about ballet company management. 

I can’t thank ABT administrators enough for the effort they put into supporting us during this unprecedented situation. Throughout the internship, what struck me was that I never heard a negative word about the challenge of the pandemic. They were resilient in the face of it and even made the organization stronger. For example, ABT has greatly increased its digital content in both performances and education programs. Also, ABT held free outdoor performances, ABT Across America, all over the country. In addition, the education department, where I interned, utilizes zoom to deliver education programs and ballet lessons to over 240,000 participants by 2020. The online program will continue even after the pandemic as a tool to reach out to a wide range of people in the United States and abroad.

The arts administrators I met at ABT are wonderful as a human with excellent practical skills, and I was inspired by them every day. I have never seen such an incredible organization or company in my life. I would like to become an administrator like them in the future.

Ayano Sato

Education and Training Intern

Summer 2021

The Why of It All

7 Aug

As I come to the end of my summer internship working with American Ballet Theatre’s National Curriculum Training team, I find it exhilarating how many questions I’m walking away with. My main goal for the summer was to untangle the inner workings of a massive nonprofit and gain some insight to how it thrives and supports itself. As someone who has worked in numerous fields at all ends of the spectrum, I had never been on the administration side of a non-profit arts organization. This internship was necessary for me to add more tools to my toolbox, so to speak, but I ended up with even more than I bargained for. 

Currently, I am about to go into my 2nd year in the dual degree MFA/MA program at NYU. My masters in Dance Performance and Dance Education will set me up for a future of teaching at a university and eventually maybe guide me to owning a community arts/dance center. I come from a background of dancing professionally, teaching, and choreographing musicals for community theatre, so I was honored to accept an internship with an organization I had revered since I was a child. Most importantly, I knew ABT would offer me a glimpse at understanding the ingenuity of how to keep a dance education program running. 

Working with the National Curriculum Training team, we dove in hard from day one. We had 8 teacher trainings, hundreds of participants, and a small mighty team of 6. Communication was key, and the support within this team was unlimited. I’ve worked with dozens of other bosses but never a team of all women, and I loved learning from these powerhouses. Yes, I was working as a part of a team, but also had been given the agency to make educated decisions which is rare as an intern. I not only managed the teacher participants from the administrative side but also had the privilege of observing and assisting the curriculum trainings themselves. This to me was the most educational piece, observing a classroom of current ballet teachers becoming certified in ABT’s curriculum. This internship forced me to ask myself the question, “why do I teach ballet that way?” I barely have years of teaching experience which is why I’m getting my masters, but I’ve never truly considered why I make the choices I do when I teach. It’s always been ingrained and choices are often made without a moment of hesitation but I should absolutely hesitate. As with most teachers, I’ve always taught what I know and having been trained at arguably one of the best ballet schools there is comfort in knowing that these choices will create a dancer, but what kind of dancer will it be? Maybe I’m going too deep, but my ultimate goal is to support healthy, body-positive dancing and to make that dream come true I need to consider why and how I teach. ABT has opened my eyes by providing strategy alongside ballet and I will forever be grateful for the lightbulb that has been set off in my mind. 

Sarah Bricker

National Training Curriculum Intern

Summer 2021

My Summer Experience at ABT

7 Aug

Serving as an intern the Development department at ABT has truly been an experience unlike any other.  Not only is the internship program well-structured and fulfilling across the board, but the Development staff is also incredibly hospitable and welcoming, allowing me to feel like a true member of the team this summer. 

As a Development intern, I had the privilege of gaining experience in a wide variety of projects that ultimately carried a significant impact.  For example, my weekly tasks included collecting news relevant to the work of the team, such as prospect alerts, competition, and reports on donors and foundations.  Researching and compiling articles allowed me to stay connected to the news, and I am certain that this is a practice I will continue to use in the future.

One of my favorite projects has been creating invitations and posters to be shared with board members and donors.  Having the opportunity to tap into my creative side, while also learning about the processes behind producing events and generating support, was incredibly meaningful to me.

All in all, I am so grateful for the connections I have made, the community I was wholly accepted by, and the learning experiences that contributed significantly to my growth – I can not recommend this internship enough!

Maya Reilly

Development Assistant Intern

Summer 2021

Making virtual connections in NYC

4 Aug

When my internship search began, I knew I wanted to work for a performing arts company in some aspect. Ever since I was little the arts have been something that have enriched my life, and something that I have always been passionate about. With that being said I knew I wanted to work in this industry. With the pandemic and lots of arts companies coming to a halt, I hadn’t found any internships in the arts, until I found this opportunity with ABT. A world renowned ballet company in NYC with thousands of donors and fans, I realized this is it. This is the job for me. After spending the past 10 weeks interning with ABT, that still remains true and I can’t say enough good things about this company. 

Working in Membership within the Development department has been such an eye opening experience in many ways. I have really learned so much about how important the Development department is to how ABT functions but also to how any non-profit organization runs. Also, I have learned how vital it is to emphasize stewardship among donors and even in a virtual world that is still possible. There are still so many ways to keep people engaged in what ABT is doing and to get them involved. In addition, this internship has introduced me to so many amazing people and I have been grateful enough to learn from and hear about their experiences working with ABT and in the performing arts industry. Everyone that I had the chance to meet were professional, treated us with respect and like we were full-time staff. I couldn’t ask for more from an internship!

One of the things I looked forward to most about this internship was getting the opportunity to get into the arts scene in New York. I have loved the city ever since I was young and have always wanted to work and live there. Living in a small town in Michigan I didn’t think it would be possible, especially during a pandemic. ABT gave me an opportunity to finally get my feet wet in the New York arts life and get a little glimpse into what it is all about. Even though I was not able to be in the city this summer and see ABT in person, I still felt that I was able to network with people and be connected to the beautiful work ABT is doing. Being able to see videos of the company dancing across America this summer made me proud and humbled to say I work for that and I had a part in making that happen!

In sum, this summer has been everything I wished for and more. This company allowed me to do work that matters and that is important to the overall wellbeing of the company. I am beyond grateful for the valuable skills I have learned, the people I had the privilege of working with (shoutout Ali, Grace, Jackie, and Grey!!), and getting to work for America’s National Ballet Company. 

Bryce Stevens

Membership Intern

Summer 2021

ABT Live!

4 Aug

Working for a company like American Ballet Theatre in New York City has always been a dream but one that did not seem achievable as I completed my master’s degree five hours away in Washington, DC. However, the transition of the internship program to a virtual format has allowed me to participate in the program from wherever I might be. This pandemic necessity has provided valuable access to interns from all over the country to have the experience of working at one of the top dance companies in the country. 

A typical day in my remote internship in Institutional Support involves writing acknowledgement letters to thank funders, piecing together the narrative portions of future grant applications, or researching perspective foundations, all from the comfort of my bedroom office. In addition to these “normal” days, I have had the opportunity to see some of the dance in person this summer that I have been raving about to funders in my writing. In June, I took the train up to NYC for a night to participate in the Development and Marketing departments visit to Wave Hill Gardens to see ABT company dancers film the balcony pas de deux from Romeo and Juliet. This spectacular venue paired with exquisite dancing and the opportunity to meet so many of ABT’s staff and interns made for an amazing evening. I felt so welcomed by the staff and feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to see behind the scenes of how ABT has been putting together its top-quality digital presentations over the last year and a half. 

I also think fondly of seeing the final version of the balcony pas de deux during ABT’s virtual Summer Celebration. The artistry and beautiful locations of all the work premiered during the event was incredibly impressive, as was hearing such high-profile names such as First Lady Jill Biden talk about the good work that ABT does. 

My final encounter getting up and close with the art from was during the ABT Across America Tour. The second to last stop of the tour was in Middleburg, VA, just an hour away from DC. A couple of friends and I made the drive through the wine country of northern Virginia to the performance location. As we entered the intimate space we were upgraded from general admission to the reserved section in the front and given free glasses of prosecco by enthusiastic volunteers. Watching ballet live and in person again for the first time in almost two years only a couple of rows back from the stage was an experience I will never forget and reminded me why I love dance so much. After the show, I met ABT’s Executive Director, Kara Medoff Barnettwho was so gracious, kind, and genuinely thankful for the work I was doing as an intern. 

As I come to the end of my time with ABT, I will look back fondly on the kind and welcoming team, the meaningful contribution I was able to make with my writing, and the memories of some amazing dancing. The chance to encounter ABT’s art in person this summer confirmed to me why I want to work in arts administration: to make the spectacular arts events that I enjoy so much a reality. 

Erin Wynne

Institutional Support Intern 

Summer 2021

Till We Meet… Again

3 Aug

Growing up as a dancer in northern Westchester, an hour from the city, I have always viewed American Ballet Theatre as the most prestigious ballet company in the country. As I grew older and became more invested in dance, I realized that I wanted to pursue it as my main career path. However, I am constantly reminded that becoming a professional dancer is not an easy or predictable job nor is it financially stable.

Going into my first year at Southern Methodist University, I knew that I needed to find another interest that I could pursue as a complementary career path to dance but was unsure of what exactly that might be. Once Covid-19 hit, I decided that I would make use of online classes offered during the Summer of 2020 in hopes that the business courses would spark a new interest. After six general business courses, this summer provided a great opportunity to intern in arts management, combining my two interests: business and dance.

Eager and nervous, I submitted my application to American Ballet Theatre at the end of February. After much built-up anticipation, I checked my email and had received an interview invitation with Fallon Sullivan and Megan Stahlberg, the special events coordinators. I was able to complete my interview with them the following week and show them how my passion for dance and skills in business would prove useful in the Special Events Internship for the Summer of 2021. I was fortunate and overjoyed to be offered the position.

During the first few weeks of my internship, I learned the basics of the Raiser’s Edge donor database and met many professional artists during the bi-monthly Ballet Banter’s and Virtual Studio Visits. As the end of June was approaching, the special events team was fully invested in producing a virtual Summer Celebration Gala on July 15th. For this event, I worked alongside Fallon and Megan in weekly meetings as well as emailing and documenting hundreds of donors whose generosity allows for the growth of America’s National Ballet Company.

Summer Celebration was drawing near as the special events team was fully preparing for their biggest virtual fundraiser of the year. On the premiere of Summer Celebration, the microsite that ABT used was down due to issues with their server. As I watched the site buffer from my kitchen table, I sat back as my two mentors (and many development team members) performed some severe damage control in attempt to premiere the event to the thousands of viewers across the world. I was amazed by their talents in improvising this virtual nightmare. I was reminded at this moment that even the most prestigious companies are not perfect.

Aside from the multiple virtual events this year, America’s National Ballet Company set off on a country-wide tour visiting multiple cities and concluding their ABT Across America tour in the heart of Rockefeller Center. I was honored to be invited to the dress rehearsal where I was able to watch the dancers perform, as well as meet my many colleagues I had been working with all summer! One of my fellow interns and I stood there greeting the audience in the middle of Rockefeller Center with our “All Access” badges around our necks. This was such a surreal moment at the beginning of my career as I realize how proud of myself I was for working for such an elite company.

Throughout my special events internship with American Ballet Theatre, I have learned a tremendous amount about myself and what direction I see myself headed after college. I learned that I can prepare and strive for perfection, but when it comes down to it, I must be ready to improvise and think on my feet according to what is given to me. I am thankful to my mentors Fallon and Megan for fully integrating me into their daily work and providing me with challenging duties. Also, for giving me several opportunities to learn about myself which has inspired me to steer my career path to incorporate both dance and the business aspect of the arts.

Emily Slater

Special Events Intern 

Summer 2021

Welcome Back to JKO…

3 Aug

Looking back on my internship at ABT this summer I am incredibly grateful for the experiences and knowledge I have gained over the last few weeks. Growing up admiring the dancers and staff at ABT, later attending the JKO school, and moving to South Carolina to study dance in a university setting, I never would have guessed I’d find myself back at ABT.

As much as I wish we could have experienced the energy that radiates throughout the building at 890 Broadway, everyone I had encountered during my internship was working hard to ensure things continued to run smoothly from all different locations. As an intern for the JKO School, I was assigned multiple different administrative projects, as well as proctored many Zoom classes for the summer intensive. Getting to learn the ins and outs of what goes into a summer at ABT on Zoom and preparing for the new year certainly kept me busy. I won’t forget one of the first meetings with the Education Department, the staff was discussing the successes of the past year, the upcoming tour for the company and all things JKO. After my fellow intern and I were introduced, Sascha Radetsky, who had been one of my teachers at JKO, made a comment that really resonated with me. He said, “no matter where you go, you are always part of the ABT family”.

This really hit home for me because leaving New York and deciding to branch into the administrative side of the dance world seemed intimidating at first. However, it is clear that ABT runs as one big family with so many moving parts that wouldn’t be nearly as successful without one another. I think this energy exudes throughout the whole company, with everyone being supportive of one another, having common passions and goals, and wanting nothing less than for the company to succeed. Throughout the internship, it was made clear to us interns that we were not only valued, but we were needed within whichever department we were able to help in. All the staff wanted us to leave with more knowledge than we came and provided us with a plethora of valuable information to carry into future internships and job opportunities. Although we couldn’t meet within the hustle and bustle of NYC, my summer with JKO certainly did not fall short of any expectations, and I am grateful to have played a small part in the ABT community.

Gillian Berry

JKO School Intern

Summer 2021

The Hidden Work of the JKO School Staff

2 Aug

In March 2021, the JKO School was able to quickly adapt their teaching to an online format. A year and a half later, we are still stuck behind our computer screens. As an intern with the JKO School this summer, so far, it has been a very unique experience. In a normal year, I would have been roaming the halls of 890, but this year I am in my own apartment, trying to soak in any information possible about the school and company. Even though it has been a very different experience, I have learned so much from the confines of my computer and Zoom. The staff are trying their best to integrate all the interns into the company and show us the ropes even though we are not in person. They have all been extremely welcoming and want to teach us as much as possible. 

Just like many other ballet or education schools, JKO is currently in the in-between phase from being stuck behind a computer screen to the gradual return to in-person teaching. This transition phase is very exciting as it comes with a number of uncertainties, countless questions and hours of brainstorming. Through the internship experience, I got to see first hand the staff work altogether to try to figure out the smoothest transition back to in-person teaching. Attending these different meetings has really opened my eyes to all the hard work that goes into the organization of a dance school as well as trying to figure out this unique situation we currently are living through. There are so many individuals that partake in and contribute to these different meetings. They share ideas with one another, and bounce off each other’s energy as they try to figure out this tough situation. They work so hard and often their work goes unseen. When you are a student at a dance studio, you never really think of the hard work that goes into the functioning and organization of a dance studio. Seeing all these people come together was really inspiring. They put in so much work for all the students to have the best experience possible. As an intern, I got a unique, inside look at all the hard work that they put in. It really opened my eyes to all the different jobs in a dance school.

Over the summer, I have also had the opportunity to moderate and host a number of different Zoom classes for the Summer Intensive program. It has been so interesting to see the Summer Intensive come alive through a computer screen. Every week, a new cohort of students joins the Zoom sessions from countries all around the world like Hong Kong, Mexico, London, Italy, Argentina and the list just goes on. No matter where the students are in the world and no matter what time of day it is, they always join the class with a big smile on their face, ready to take class. Some of these students are starting their days at 1am. Their dedication to the art form is so inspiring. They come back everyday and keep pushing through week after week. 

This internship experience has been very eye opening and has taught me so much. I am so grateful to have spent the summer with the JKO School even though it was online. I had such an amazing experience and it was such a fulfilling educational experience. 

Emilie Trauchessec

JKO School Intern

Summer 2021

A Summer of Learning

29 Jul

It has been an honor to have the opportunity to be a small part of American Ballet Theatre this summer, as an intern in the Education Department working in the area of the National Training Curriculum, growing in my knowledge of many things in the process. I have admired ABT for as long as I can remember, and certainly continue to now, as a graduate student completing a Master of Arts degree in Dance Education at New York University with a concentration in ABT Ballet Pedagogy. It has been a summer filled with ballet and with learning.

I came into this internship as an ABT Certified Teacher in Pre-Primary through Level 7 of the ABT National Training Curriculum, and with significant teaching experience, but I have looked for and found a great deal of continued growth in my understanding of this brilliant curriculum and best practices for teaching ballet. I have had the privilege of observing other teachers both teaching and learning as I assist with the training workshops, proctor exams, and act as an administrator for master classes, and I have found opportunities to look deeper into the logic behind the curriculum. I have learned a lot about the exam process as I have assisted with processing exam results. The internship is virtual, with work-from-home projects and Zoom meetings, and I have refined my technology navigation skills in numerous previously unfamiliar tasks.

The ABT staff members I have the joy of working under – Sonia Jones, Sayako Harada, and Molly Schnyder – are nothing short of incredible. It has been inspiring to see the determination, passion, and skill each of these women has. It has been a busy summer in the NTC, with eight teacher trainings taking place (including trainings held in Spanish and Italian), and there is a lot to stay on top of every week. Even with their busy schedules, though, the NTC staff are consistently positive and kind, and the utmost professionals. Additionally, working alongside fellow NTC intern and NYU student, Sarah Bricker, has been delightful. Dennis Walters, the Director of Education Operations who has guided the internship program throughout the summer, has been one of the most gracious examples of leadership in the arts I have encountered in my life.

I humbly recognize this internship as an amazing opportunity, and I am grateful to have been granted the chance to learn and work for ABT. It has been a full and challenging summer as I have juggled the internship along with teaching and my final semester of graduate school, but it has been worth every minute. I am confident that the experiences I have had this summer will carry me forward in my career, and that the many relationships and connections initiated during this internship will continue to blossom and flourish. Thank you, ABT.

Taryn Ouellette

National Training Curriculum Intern

Summer 2021

Following ABT Across America as a Press Intern

24 Jul

While 20 American Ballet Theatre dancers and 28 staff crew drove across the country for ABT Across America, I had an opportunity to follow the journey by piecing together the press of the tour. Each week I compiled a variety of press clips to send off to the ABT community, a small but fulfilling task knowing the newsletter would soon be delivered to dancers, staff, and board members. During the three weeks of ABT Across America, most of the circulating press focused on the tour. With an acceleration of blogs, magazines, news channels, and podcasts highlighting the tour, I began to see how to process of press brought the whole thing together.

While the first stop in Lincoln, Nebraska began on July 1st, the Press team had begun planning much earlier. Even before I was welcomed in this summer, the team was reaching out to outlets both national and local to cover stories on the tour. The unique performances could be pitched in different ways, from a style story to a travel blog. No matter the angle, the concept of a cross-country ballet tour on a stage converted from an 18-wheeler truck made for a great story. I had the opportunity to pitch multiple travel blogs about the tour, and ultimately learned the satisfaction of receiving one response among many attempted pitches. Persistence is key.  I watched the press unfold from the calendar announcements to broadcasters highlighting the growing crowds, and finally to the glowing reviews that applauded ABT’s successful performance. From start to finish, ABT Across America’s opening night was highly anticipated and victoriously carried out, with many comparing the show’s energy to that of a rock concert. With seven more stops, I was intrigued to discover how new cities presented the tour.

Of all tour stops, I was most excited for Millennium Park in Chicago. I may be biased living in the area, but I was thrilled to see how the press could capture a performance set before 10,000 people, and one that welcomed live performances back in Chicago. The news was rolling out, with media from Time Out and Chicago Sun-Times sharing the event with my community. I started to see the power of digital media in bringing the crowd together. As the word spread and social media captured the attention of Chicago natives, all 10,000 seats would quickly be claimed.

ABT Across America was unlike any ballet performance I had heard about. The shows, mostly free, were brought to many cities that rarely attract ballet performances. As a summer intern, not only did I learn more about the ballet industry from a marketing and press perspective, but I also saw firsthand the efforts of ABT to produce a tour that actively shares ballet with the community through accessible and engaging performances.

I did not expect going into the internship that I would have the opportunity to help gather and share the press of a national tour, especially one so unique and ambitious. I am thankful for the Press team and to my mentor Delia, who gave me thoughtful opportunities and shared with me the world of ballet as it can be presented and admired through the power of the press.

Grace Robinson

Press Intern

Summer 2021

Art is the Heartbeat of New York!

24 Jun

When I got the letter of acceptance into the ABT internship program, I was absolutely stoked. As a lover of the Arts, I was so excited knowing that I could be a part of helping the Arts scene in New York City come back to life as we emerge from the pandemic era. As a college student at Fordham Lincoln Center, daily I would walk by the Koch Theater and the Met Opera, seeing audiences pour out onto the plaza after the ballet, and to me this always exuded an irreplaceable aura. It feels like such a full circle moment to now have an internship in New York City at such a renowned dance company as ABT, and it is an honor to contribute in any way that I can to this organization.

While we have been working remotely, the people have been so warm and welcoming, even transcending the Zoom screen. It has only been a few weeks of my internship so far, and I am so appreciative of how everyone at ABT has treated us interns like valued staff members since the very beginning. I still can feel the energy present when joining meetings and seeing how everyone works together from the ground up to ensure that ABT runs at the highest quality. I cannot think of a better experience than getting to work with America’s National Ballet Company this summer!

This week, I had the exciting opportunity to see the magic of ABT in person! We went up to Wave Hill, a lovely garden in the Bronx, for a film shoot for the ABT Summer Celebration. I was in awe seeing the dancers in person because this gave me such a tangible idea of how the daily work we do in the Membership department contributes to bringing this beautiful art to audiences. Watching the dancers’ gracefulness and athleticism in action after over a year of not seeing any live performances was breathtaking. I was reminded of the emotion that is expressed so uniquely through dance, and the exchange of energy between artists and audience, which is something so special about live performance. On this trip, I also got to meet my mentor, Grace, some of my fellow interns, and other wonderful ABT staff members who I had only previously worked with on Zoom. It was so lovely to see the office come together in person and feel that sense of community!

Overall, as an intern in the Membership department, I get to gain a greater understanding of how vital ABT members, donors, and fans are to the organization. It is inspiring to see how many people still care so deeply about dance and supporting the Arts even during this trying time we have collectively experienced this past year. I have seen how every individual person who loves and supports ABT is a vital part of the company’s ability to continue innovating and bringing beautiful art to the community. I am really looking forward to the rest of my internship this summer and getting to see the company continue to produce great work like the ABT Across America tour and preparation for future performances and events.

Ali Bernstein

Membership Intern

Summer 2021

It’s the Small Stuff: A Semester with ABT

21 Jun

We’re always told not to sweat the small stuff, and while I agree with this when it comes to feeling bad about not holding the door open for someone or the typo in the email you sent to your professor, sometimes I think it’s important to sweat the small stuff. 

This semester interning with American Ballet Theatre has given me an insider’s look into America’s National Ballet Company® in a way I never could’ve expected a year ago. Pre-pandemic, as a student at Syracuse University, if I wanted to intern with a company based out of New York City, I had to be in New York City. But with the world of remote work being what it is now, I got the fantastic opportunity to work with ABT right from my apartment on Euclid Ave in Syracuse, NY. 

Yes, being a remote worker has its challenges, but for me, I’ve chosen to relish in all the small things – having Diva, the piccolo player, recognize your face on Zoom, seeing the edit you made make it into the press release or being invited to that extra meeting on a Monday afternoon.

The grammatical nerd in me also loves that American Ballet Theatre does not use “the” before its name. It is not theAmerican Ballet Theatre, just American Ballet Theatre. This level of detail is the kind of small stuff I love sweating because it shows that a word as small as “the” can make such a difference when it comes to company identity and brand consistency. 

When it comes to my intern responsibilities, I had a healthy balance between the small stuff and the big stuff – “stuff” being the nontechnical term, of course. This “small stuff” included press clippings and sending out a weekly newsletter with that week’s press mentions. And while I may have enjoyed the more substantial and comprehensive projects a little more, I recognize that even with the small stuff it is important to put my best foot forward. Being able to complete the small stuff effectively and efficiently takes something off my supervisor’s plate and establishes me as a valuable asset to the team. As a student, just under a year out from graduating, this lesson is one I will take with me from here on out. 

And having put the work into the small stuff, when rewarded for the big stuff, it is all worth it, everything seems to fall into place. For instance, after writing a blog post about International Women’s Day for ABT’s Sidebarre, I received a shoutout in the company-wide Friday email. This email landed in my inbox directly next to the press mentions newsletter that I had just sent out myself. It all just fit together. 

To end, I would argue ABT also sweats the small stuff. Being an intern for the span of four short months – I was small stuff. Even so, my mentors (shoutout Delia!!), team and cohort provided me with a fantastic semester where I learned lots and was given the chance to work in an area I am passionate about. Here’s to sweating the small stuff and turning it into big opportunities!

Samantha Aaronson

Press Intern

Spring 2021

Hello Nice to Never Officially Meet You Both!

23 May

If you have read any posts on this blog from the Spring 2020 – Spring 2021 interns, you will be well aware that this year our internship experience was virtual. Meaning wake up in your bed, walk 10 feet to your desk and voila there is all of 890 Broadway at your fingertips – your ABT internship awaits. However, the virtual nature of the internship is not entirely what this post is about. If you would like to hear about that, just scroll down a couple posts.

When I interviewed for the position of Executive Office Intern, I met with Meredith Shell, the Executive Assistant at the time and immediately felt a connection with her and dare I say, had a pretty successful interview. Everyday I was waiting by my computer with my phone in my hand to hear back from her about whether I had gotten the position. I knew this is where I was meant to be for the next semester, but had Meredith known too? Turns out, she did! (Yes, I know you all knew that considering you are reading my post, but I threw it in for dramatic effect, ok?)

Very swiftly after the offer letter, the first days on the job arose. I worked effortlessly hand in hand with Meredith on everyday projects and tasks related to managing the Executive Director’s time and schedule efficiently. Meredith also introduced me to other departments in ABT that I had the pleasure of working with collaboratively and creating amazing content. The most notable would be the ABTalk series, which is a series of interviews with distinguished ABT community members who work in adjacent fields. I took a couple episodes from the idea to produce content, which was incredible to be a part of.

As soon as I got my bearings and was navigating the virtual internship seas, about 3 months in, with my incredible mentor/supervisor Meredith at my side (virtually), the boat tipped over and Meredith took her graceful leave of the company to pursue another opportunity. I was more than ecstatic for her, as I had seen day in and day out the hard work and dedication she puts into everything. But I was also scared for my future. What would I do without Meredith? I had only put three months into the position, and I was not sure if I could swim on my own.

However, I had no choice, so when Meredith left, another wonderful Executive Assistant, Johanna Kepler came in. She was new and wide eyed and knew less about the company than I did. So, for the remaining month of my internship experience, I told Johanna everything I knew, and we explored the vast depths of her responsibility together.

I have learned many valuable lessons from this internship, but the most important, I learned from Kara Medoff Barnett, the Executive Director, herself. During the beginning of my internship experience, Kara’s advice to me was to lean into the unknown and say yes to opportunities as a woman even if you’re scared. Be scared to do the things you don’t think you can or don’t feel prepared for, because at the end of the day, your success lies within you. You can do anything you put your mind to. Even going from intern to mentor in a virtual world for someone you’ve never met in an office you’ll never see.

Deja Robinson

Executive Intern

Spring 2021

See You Soon, ABT!!

23 May

Interning (virtually) at ABT has been an incredible experience and I am beyond grateful I  had the opportunity to learn and work at this incredible organization. Although I have  volunteered at organizations in the past, this experience was the first time I had ever interned at a  non-profit. When I applied I knew I was ready to get some finance experience at a non-profit and  bring some of my accounting skills to the organization. Additionally, I had not stepped into a  ballet studio since the age of six, however, art and the performing arts have always been an  important part of my life. I love to paint and would help with the dance and theater productions  at my school whenever I had the chance. Therefore, interning at ABT allowed me to experience  another side of productions I had never seen before, finance.

The projects I was given during my internship helped me understand the operations going  on behind the ballet productions, like payroll, depreciation schedules, prepaid expenses, and even  tax forms! I learned a lot about what goes into making performances come to life through  unconventional ways. For example, preparing the depreciation schedule for fixed assets allowed  me to learn more about productions and which materials, costumes, and props goes into creating  them. (I also discovered ABT’s production of Whipped Cream and went down a rabbit hole  researching that show!!) Additionally, Godwin and Sandra were amazing to work with and the  projects and guidance they offered helped make this internship an incredible learning experience.  I learned more about payroll with Sandra’s help and even with complications due to the virtual  nature of this internship and the sensitive information I was dealing with, I was still able to  complete many projects. Also, Godwin is an incredible mentor and truly made this internship a  chance for me to learn. The skills I acquired through each project helped me understand how the  accounting concepts I am learning in class apply in a real organization.  

 Finally, I am grateful for the (virtual) community I was able to join through my ABT  internship. Although I was in California, I still felt very much connected to the ABT community,  especially through Kara’s and Kevin’s kind and informative emails they would send out.  Additionally, Dennis’s weekly Friday meetings gave all the interns a chance to regroup and learn  useful technical skills, from writing a good cover letter to acing an interview. I also enjoyed all  the amazing guest speakers from across different departments at ABT who shared their  interesting experiences and fascinating stories.

 I am so grateful I had a chance to be part of ABT and contribute to this organization’s  mission. Although my internship ends soon, this is definitely not goodbye, I can’t wait to finally visit the studio in person!!!

Allia Al-Darmaki 

Finance Intern  

Spring 2021

My Semester at ABT

23 May

My life has always revolved around ballet. I started dancing when I was six, attended ballet performances monthly, and volunteered at the annual Nutcracker performances,  to name a few. At sixteen years old, I made the difficult decision to leave ballet to focus more on my studies. Although I had stopped dancing, I never left the dance world. I continued to volunteer at Miami City Ballet performances and continued to attend shows. When it came time to apply for my first internship, it only made sense for me to apply to a dance organization. When I learned that ABT was hiring interns for its spring semester, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to work for the JKO School, as I was a student at their summer intensive back in 2013 and had a fantastic experience. Fortunately, I was hired and joined ABT as an intern in the Department of Education and Training. 

During the past couple of months, I have hosted Zoom classes for four different levels of the JKO School, worked on data entry for fundraisers and summer intensive audition results, and final student evaluations for the semester. Through each step, I was guided by the JKO team of Katie Ferris, Katherine Currier, and Jenna Berloni, who provided constant assistance. It was astounding to see how detail-oriented the team was, as they were constantly aware of any issue with any student in the school. They were all very attentive and considerate of each student’s individual needs, especially during such a complicated time. As a student at Miami City Ballet, I always admired the hard work of the school administrators, and now I understand how much they genuinely care for every person at the school.

Although I would have loved to experience this internship in person, the online opportunity allowed me to travel to visit my family for an extended period of time. For two months, I was in my mother’s home country of Brazil, perfecting my Portuguese and spending time with my family, who I had not seen in over five years. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend so much time with my family, and I am so grateful that I could complete this work in Brazil. I will never forget this opportunity as my first internship experience, and I hope to be at 890 Broadway one day in the future!

Ashley Kail

JKO School Intern

Spring 2021

890 Broadway: A Community

21 May

890 Broadway seems to hold a special place in the hearts of so many people who are a part of American Ballet Theatre. This physical address was mentioned in our weekly intern meetings by many different guest speakers, again in weekly check-in meetings with the Children’s Division staff, and by teachers during JKO ballet technique classes. I have heard stories of students running up and down the hallways asking questions of the JKO staff, the relationships that are forged between pianist and dancer in the company’s studios, and the conference rooms in which a small, but mighty, marketing team discusses ways to bring ABT “into the now.”

Throughout my time as an intern for American Ballet Theatre, however, I have discovered that 890 Broadway is so much more than a physical location with ballet studios, offices, and conference rooms. 890 Broadway is a community of people—students, dancers, artists, musicians, staff, and audience members.

As one of the JKO School interns, I hosted and moderated the JKO Zoom technique classes throughout the week for four different levels. Although my face was hidden behind the ABT logo under the guise of “ABT JKO School”, I too feel part of the 890 Broadway community. Watching the dancers work and grow throughout the semester has been such a wonderful experience—one that inspires my love for this art form even further.  I watched as the Level 1A’s began to more clearly understand the technique of a tendu, was inspired by the Level 3A’s eagerness to explore the mechanics behind certain steps, listened as the Level 1B’s shared the excitement of their days before beginning their warm-up, and read their comments supporting each other during center exercises. Teachers encouraged questions and understanding; lectures in partnership with the NYU Harkness Center taught dancers about anatomy, nutrition, and mental health. Character classes brought excitement to the traditional schedule of ballet, conditioning, and modern classes, and parents were able to observe their dancers perform an exercise to music from The Sleeping Beauty during the final week of classes.

The JKO School is a community, and this community extends beyond the school, through every facet of the organization. Every single staff member or former intern who spoke during our weekly Friday intern meetings encouraged us to reach out with questions, or even just to have a conversation. Dennis Walters, our ABT internship coordinator and the Director of Education Operations, was available any time of the day for internship help, resume questions, and ideas on how to make the internship experience the most valuable it can be. The camaraderie among staff was almost tangible in the Weekly Education Staff meetings, and the JKO team of Katie Ferris, Katie Currier, and Jenna Berloni were so welcoming and quick to respond to any questions I had while moderating Zoom classes.

Over the last few months, I also worked on evaluation projects, summer intensive database entry, and began work on increasing the accessibility of adult classes. One project that particularly resonated with me was transferring data from a JKO fundraiser in coordination with Custom Ink to an Excel spreadsheet. Hundreds of individuals purchased a sweatshirt or donated in support of the school, but they also left comments sharing what ABT means to them and how the JKO school has shaped their life. The way American Ballet Theatre has impacted so many individuals, whether former dancers, company members, current students, audience members, or fans from across the world, is so inspiring. These comments are such a beautiful testament to ABT’s commitment to its mission of bringing ballet to the widest possible audience and the global community the company has created.

So, although I have never traversed the maze that 890 seems to be, what seems to truly make this place is the people.  I feel so honored to have been able to work with, learn from, and be a part of the same community as all of the wonderful staff at ABT. Thank you so much to the JKO team for such an engaging semester, and I cannot wait to see how the Children’s Division continues to grow, adapt, and become an even stronger community. 

Morgan Jankowski

JKO School Intern

Spring 2021

In Demand with ABT OnDemand!

21 May

One of the most interesting parts of being involved in a virtual internship is watching how different companies adapt to the current environment to stay relevant. Being in the arts and humanities industry, I figured that ABT would mostly be relying on the generosity of donors and members to help them stay afloat until they were once again able to perform. I was surprised to learn that not only were dancers still performing by utilizing a pod system, but the company was ensuring that performances were still being live streamed, and content was being presented.

I got to be a part of the launch of one of these efforts called ABT On Demand. Marketed as an online viewing platform, it would be a way for members to still find joy in performances even though they couldn’t attend live. This streaming platform would not only feature full length ballets, but Ballet Banter episodes, private classes, and other short films including the dancers. 

Once the platform launched however, we ran into a slew of problems that we weren’t entirely prepared for. Members were only allowed to access the streaming service if they gave above a certain amount in a calendar year or were a certain membership level. We were more than happy to extend access to anyone who requested it and made a generous donation.

However, we soon realized that we had donors who were donating their Met Subscriptions in place of cash donations. Because their donation was still accepted and typically fell over the required amount, we decided to also include them in the promotion. This led to an incredibly successful launch of ABT On Demand with viewers all over the world who were accessing our content. 

I loved being able to witness a project like this come to life and have a part in its success. Watching an industry that relies so heavily on its community be able to still provide for their supporters during a challenging time was incredibly satisfying. Knowing that people were consuming and enjoying the virtual performances gives me a lot of hope for the future of American Ballet Theatre for when we return to live shows.

Emma Titus

Patron Services Intern

Spring 2021

On Being the Membership Intern…

21 May

American Ballet Theatre’s internship program has been an amazing experience. I was a spring intern during the COVID pandemic and it was quite the trip. We zoomed into everything, which was weird but still awesome that ABT decided to still do internships. I loved how fast-paced it was and how you never knew what was going to happen, I love that kind of excitement. This internship kept me on my toes and was good practice for problem solving quickly and effectively.

One of my favorite parts of my internship was sitting in on department wide meetings to see what it takes to launch something like ABT On Demand or ABT’s spring campaign. As an intern, you were asked your opinion on things, which I thought was really cool. My mentor was very down to earth and honest with me about non-profit development work. She trusted me with big projects and I greatly appreciated that. She just kept giving me projects and asking what I’d like to be a part of. It’s crazy how fast the past 5 months have gone by. It feels like yesterday that I was meeting all of the spring interns and setting up logins for ABT. 

As an intern, you have an amazing opportunity to make lifelong connections that could help you with your future. Make friends and don’t forget to ask questions. It’s much easier for you and your mentor to ask questions about anything. You never know what kind of connections/meetings you could partake in. I would highly recommend asking to meet with people in departments that you are interested in. Take advantage of all the opportunities in front of you and make the most of your personal internship.

ABT’s internship program is a good way to get some exposure and see what job fields you might be interested in. I highly recommend applying to ABT’s internship program because it is an unforgettable experience.

Jessamyn Efken

Membership Intern

Spring 2021

Interning for One of the Most Prestigious Institutions in the Dance Industry… Through A Screen.

18 May

When I received my offer letter for a position at THE American Ballet Theatre, I froze. I will say that I am a confident young man, but the honor of being accepted into the family of a pioneering dance company was overwhelming. I gladly accepted the position of Chief Philanthropy Officer Intern (the only male in my cohort) and my journey began.

At first, jumping into the deep end felt like a mad frenzy. I had really no idea what I was doing. We had a brief orientation to become familiar with the software and databases, but then it was off and immediately I was tasked with my first project. I was fortunate to have had an amazing supervisor assisting me along the way and answering any questions I had… because there were many! In what I would come to find out was typical ABT fashion, I leaned into the feeling of confusion and tackled each project head-on. Over the semester, I drafted acknowledgment letters to major donors and trustees, created presentations for board meetings, wrote transcripts, researched organizations for prospective partnerships, pulled records and information from databases, and much more. 

In a normal year, the ABT  internship program would run in the main building at 890 Broadway. Given the restricted circumstances of the pandemic, my entire 16 weeks of building connections and creating relationships took place via Zoom meetings, emails, and phone calls. The absence of in-person interaction definitely created a small void in the full intern experience, but my time as an intern was absolutely fulfilling and one I will never forget. 

While in my last year of undergrad at NYU, I was also an RA, worked part-time at school, served on the boards of multiple organizations on campus, tore my meniscus and underwent surgery, worked outside of school choreographing and performing on different projects, etc. I say all this to say that I had to juggle a lot this semester and it was most certainly intense, but the ABT team being flexible made it all manageable. Special shout out to Kaitlyn Frieling, Georgia Siampalioti, Dennis Walters, and my cohort. I’ve had a blast!

Malcolm Young

Chief Philanthropy Officer Intern

Spring 2021

A Semester With the NTC

14 May

Following an unusual undergraduate graduation in May of 2020, I decided to spend the
next academic year earning my master’s degree through the ABT/NYU partnership program and
subsequently received an internship in the National Training Curriculum department at ABT! I
was intrigued to apply for this position by the promise of an incredibly unique opportunity to
learn about the administrative side of the NTC, all while earning my own certifications. In
January of 2021, I was welcomed into department and also met another NTC intern on our
team.

Over the course of the semester, I worked alongside the NTC department to prepare for
virtual teacher training sessions. With the past year being the first time the training sessions
were offered entirely online, we had almost 100 participants enrolled from around the globe
learning the curriculum together. Raymond Lukens and Franco De Vita, the authors of the
curriculum and my instructors at NYU, were able to host the trainings for this diverse group of
teachers from their home in Florida. My personal responsibilities included organizing
participant information and exercises, engaging with participants, screen sharing for lectures,
grading exams, preparing packages to be returned to participants and collaborating closely with
the NTC team to handle anything else that came up.

As I look back in the rearview mirror at this experience, it stands out to me how this all-
female team was welcoming and accessible as they showed me the way, while still
accomplishing the incredible feat of training teachers from around the world in the ABT curriculum.

They were trusting and gracious as they handed over responsibilities and I never
doubted my importance as we completed the many administrative tasks of these trainings
together.

Jillian Marziotti

National Training Curriculum Intern

Spring 2021

The ABT RISE Weekend Was a Success!

12 May

The semester had the upcoming ABT RISE weekend looming over it. Constantly, we were left wondering (hoping, really) if it would be successful. In late February/early March, we got to work. We began keeping track of all the students that were applying for the weekend. It was here where we hit a wall; it was great that students were applying, but most of the students applying were from New York. 

The goal of the ABT RISE weekend was to give typically underrepresented students in ballet an opportunity to learn from great teachers for a weekend at no charge. So we had to come up with a plan to reach a broader pool of students; our goal became to secure one applicant from each state. This meant meetings with the marketing department, meetings about equity and inclusion, and planning social media posts. For me and one of my fellow interns, this meant reaching out to Boys and Girls Clubs across the country in the hopes of finding new and eager dancers. 

Cold-calls and spreadsheets owned my first two weeks of March! I was worried about calling the clubs at first, but I ended up having great conversations with directors who left the call more interested in ABT and ballet in general. Not sure how many students we acquired from the calls, but ABT definitely developed relationships with many of those clubs and it was awesome to be a part of that.

Finally the weekend arrives. The zoom meeting opens and we are immediately flooded with tons of kids, dressed in their dance clothes and eager to start the weekend. The kids started their day with a ballet class, then repertory, and they ended the dance portion of their day with a modern dance class. Watching the students blossom over the course of the day was an amazing thing to witness. One student said at the end of the ballet class, “I was really nervous to come today but, after this class, I’m so excited for the rest of the weekend!” (Oh, that sound you hear? It’s just hearts breaking everywhere.) 

The weekend ended with reflection from the students. They talked about how excited they were to continue their dance training and gushed about how fun the weekend was. I was so happy I got to be a part of what seemed to be a formative experience for most of the kids.

This experience really showed me the kind of company ABT is. I admire how they go out of their way to make ballet accessible. Dance in general can be really inaccessible, so a major dance company like the American Ballet Theatre crafting an entire weekend dedicated to students that might have difficulty taking a dance class, is incredibly honorable. It signals to me that I chose the right place to intern and I am excited to see ABT’s future equity and inclusion projects.

Kelsey Shelton

Education Intern

Spring 2021

ABT’s First Education Archives Intern!

10 May

As ABT’s FIRST Educational Archives Intern I have to say, it has been so fun! I am completing my Master of Arts in Dance Education: ABT Pedagogy at New York University. I am then hoping to get my archiving certification and officially become a Dance Archivist. What does a Dance Archivist do? They provide consultation regarding the arrangement of artifacts (digital & physical) accrued by individual dancers and dance companies. Archivists take stock of these artifacts (photos, programs, costumes, letters, certificates, etc), provide digitization guidance/services, and help create websites/databases/albums/collections. For me, the ultimate goal is to objectively clarify the human story left behind by this ephemeral art form, dance.


Being virtual for the duration of my internship was not at all a hindrance. I had plenty of online projects. I was able to create databases that functioned as frameworks for the organization of website information. I also created databases that functioned as advertising tracking and visual representations of program results. One of my favorite projects was organizing the ABT Vimeo collection. I got to then create a user-friendly database that supports the weekly posting of videos on different platforms. This database functions really well and it looks good too!


Another enjoyable aspect of the archiving work has been writing up stories for the website. I had the opportunity to write about two incredible women, Lucia Chase and Billie Holiday. I shared known and possibly unknown contributions that these two remarkable women made to ABT.

 
I love history and I love ABT. Having the opportunity to do archives work for an organization so dear to my heart has been an incredible experience.

Renee Meiffren

Education Archives Intern

Spring 2021

Here’s Why You Should Be An Intern With ABT

10 May

Growing up, I was a huge ballet fan; I loved readings about the stories, watching videos online,
and catching the latest performances. However, as I got older, I slowly lost touch with the art
form and wondered if I would ever have the opportunity to combine my love for dance with my
knowledge of marketing. Little did I know my ambitions of earning an ABT internship would turn
into a reality this past spring semester.


During my time as a marketing intern with ABT, I had the pleasure of working on various social
media efforts, tracking performance history, and generating ideas for the ABT Across America
Tour. However, while I could use this post to discuss each project in detail, I would like to talk
about the one aspect that truly made this a special experience: the people.
Starting on day one, I was quickly integrated into the marketing team. Even on a Zoom call, I
could feel the excitement buzzing through the computer screen. Each member was passionate
about their current projects and eager to start developing the next ones. The team had
immediate trust in my abilities, letting me know about the many amazing concepts people were
working on and often asking me to share my opinions. I was always encouraged to create and
present my own ideas for potential marketing projects, a lot of which would ultimately be
explored or brought to fruition.


I worked closely with marketing team members Steven, Brittany, Bethany, and Connor — all of
whom were some of the kindest, most driven people I have ever had the pleasure of working
with. Each of these individuals had unique backgrounds that they would use to offer a fresh
approach to marketing an event. While ballet may have its traditions, the marketing team was
always looking for ways to draw in a new audience or to reinvent a current convention. Every
day, there were new obstacles and surprising opportunities, something that is very exciting to an
aspiring marketing professional looking for variance in a day-to-day work experience.
Yet, what impressed me most about the ABT company was the community’s mission to create
an inclusive and innovative work environment. Having weekly discussions, the company was
devoted to creating the most positive experience for every employee — whether that be on the
artistic or management side. Such a mission only demonstrates how much the company values
its employees, repertoire, and audiences.


As I reflect on what has been a wonderful experience, I have a few parting words. If you want to
meet compassionate, talented people, apply for an ABT internship. If you want to work on
meaningful projects, apply for an ABT internship. And, if you want to be heard while contributing
to an organization that is challenging the professional ballet landscape, apply for an ABT
internship.


To Steven, Brittany, Bethany, Connor, Rachel, and Lourdes: thank you for teaching me about
marketing for a nonprofit organization. I cannot wait to see all the spectacular ideas you create
in the coming future.

Sasha Cohen
Marketing Intern
Spring 2021

A Dream Come True

10 May

It’s been four months since I started my internship at ABT and I am still pinching
myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. What an experience this has been! I am so
grateful to have been brought on board to work with the National Training
Curriculum this semester. I had already had a relationship with the National
Training Curriculum, having been certified in Pre-Primary through Level 5 and
presented students for ABT exams. However, I also know that everyone wants to
intern at ABT, so naturally, I was nervous about applying. Getting my offer email
was an incredible feeling and something I will probably never forget.


Some of my primary responsibilities included assisting the National Training
Curriculum team with anything and everything they needed to make the exam
process run as smoothly as possible. This included prepping exam paperwork,
hosting exams and master classes via zoom and processing all of the exam results. I
absolutely loved seeing all of the presenting schools. The beauty of being in this
remote world is being able to connect with people from as far as South Africa but as
close as New Jersey. It was so incredible to see and meet other teachers from
different parts of the world. I also love listening to and watching Raymond, Franco,
and all of the other extraordinary examiners teach the master classes. It was so
inspiring yet, another perk that I thoroughly enjoyed.


Another aspect of the internship that I enjoyed was the special events. There are still
a few left for the semester that I plan to attend, but one that sticks out in my mind is
one from February. It was called “Dancing in White Spaces: A Fireside Chat with
Professional Black Dancers”. The conversation featured ABT’s own Misty Copeland,
Gabe Stone Shayer and several others as well as dancers from Dance Theatre of
Harlem, San Francisco Ballet, Alvin Ailey and Mikhailovsky Theatre. It was so
incredible to hear stories from the dancers themselves. They discussed how they
overcame obstacles and what they wanted their legacies to be.


I looked forward to the Friday intern meetings, where we had workshops on how to
interview or write a cover letter, which I found extremely helpful. We also had guest
speakers, all of whom worked at ABT, in different capacities. I loved hearing
everyone’s stories about how they ended up at ABT. It was always a nice way to end
the week and also a great way to get to know people in other departments.
Overall, my internship experience at ABT was positive and enriching. Sonia, Molly,
Saya and the rest of the NTC team were supportive and guided me throughout the
semester. I couldn’t have asked to work on a better team. I feel so honored to have
had this opportunity and I can’t wait to see what my future holds.

Yesseña Whitfield
National Training Curriculum Intern
Spring 2021

Writing for ABT When You’ve Really Never Had A Second Thought About Dance Before

31 Mar

Two months into my internship with ABT, I am still surprised I ended up here.

Here, of course, meaning on a virtual plane.

I’m not at all familiar with ballet. I was in dance class when I was five and lacking an internal sense of rhythm and any particular interest in the subject, I quit. Even the ABT’s annual The Nutcracker performances at the Segerstrom Center, only 30 minutes away from my childhood home, passed me by. As a result, I was completely oblivious to how coveted even an unpaid internship with the ABT would be.

So it caught me off guard when I heard nearly 200 people had applied to be interns. There are only 12 interns in my cohort. The news was even more shocking to me because at the time I was struggling to adjust to the online work environment and beginning to doubt the quality of my writing. 

Spring interns in Development are thrown directly into the deep end. January and February are right at the peak of busyness. Spring 2021 was especially chaotic since a vacancy in the department was forcing my supervisor to shoulder twice as much work as usual. And then as suddenly as all the work appeared, it seemed to vanish. I wondered if it was because the standard of my work hadn’t been up to snuff. It was messing with the worst of my lingering perfectionist, grades-obsessed tendencies from K-12. 

And as I observed the tremendous passion driving every one of ABT’s efforts, I wondered if this position was being wasted on me.

These are concerns I would’ve felt much more comfortable voicing in person, or perhaps would not have occurred to me at all in a normal internship. But because every interaction took place in the strictures of Zoom and email, it was easy for me to twist myself into anxiety pretzels about things I would just ask about directly otherwise. 

After one agonizing weekend I worked up the courage to voice some of these worries. My supervisor assured me that the confusion I was feeling was normal. Institutional Support is uniquely difficult for newcomers to adapt to, being bound up in not only ABT’s constant state of barely controlled chaos, but also whatever state of chaos ABT was in two years ago and the vaguest ideas of what ABT will be doing a year in the future.

So beyond the mechanics of how to create grant narratives with reference to existing materials, informal interviews with coworkers, and ABT’s constantly evolving plans, I would say the main thing I’ve learned so far is really just a recap of a lesson I think I’ll be reviewing all my life: to trust in my own judgement and that of others, and to ask questions instead of stewing in confusion. 

I’m sure I’ll learn a lot more in the remaining half of the internship. I have really appreciated the continuous effort to familiarize interns to all aspects of ABT and ABT’s level of commitment to its DEI objectives. I’m especially pumped for the upcoming discussion on disability. If you’re like me and didn’t know much about nonprofits at all beforehand, an internship at ABT is a great primer, not just to arts nonprofits, but to what a warm and respectful work environment feels like. 

Angela Song

Institutional Support Intern

Spring 2021

An Exciting Start to the Special Events Internship

2 Mar

Though I’ve only completed one month at ABT, I have already learned so much. I have also discovered that my ABT internship is quite unlike any internship I’ve had in the past. The biggest difference, of course, is that this internship has been conducted entirely online. This was certainly an adjustment, but interning remotely offers the opportunity to think critically and quickly as well as adapt to a new work environment. Additionally, this is the only internship I’ve ever had in a large office, where I work alongside many other college-aged interns. This aspect of collaboration—supplemented by fun and informational weekly intern meetings on Friday mornings—has added to my experience, as well as provided some much-needed (virtual) interactions in the midst of the pandemic. So, I’m very thankful to be working with Dennis Walters and fifteen other interns. 

My internship lies within the development department, specifically the special events team led by Fallon Sullivan and Megan Stahlberg. On a typical week, there can be anywhere from one to three special events catered toward ABT donors offered over virtual platforms such as Zoom. As an intern, I’m tasked with helping to plan, organize, and attend these different events. In just my first four weeks, I’ve already been a part of five very different events. Although all special events are now virtual, this has not impeded ABT’s ability to provide interesting programming in the form of Q&A discussions, social distancing-compliant live performances, and lectures. 

On my very first day of work, I was already busy coordinating a guest list for my first event of the semester, a Q&A panel for ABT donors featuring executive director Kara Barnett and artistic director Kevin McKenzie. The Zoom panel was packed with donors, who were grateful for the opportunity to interact directly with ABT leadership. Kara and Kevin answered several thoughtful questions and were able to provide insight into the future of the organization as we move closer to a post-pandemic world. This first special event was a perfect way to learn more about the organization, and I was especially excited to see how much both ABT staff and donors care about the future of ballet. Sometimes, the hardest part of managing a special event is making sure it stays under the allotted time—though the event was held from 2:00 to 3:00, it was apparent that Kara, Kevin, and everyone else on the Zoom call easily could’ve stayed for a few more hours!

This week, ABT celebrated Black History Month, in part, by hosting a special event with Dr. Joselli Deans. She delivered a lecture on the lives of Delores Browne and Raven Wilkinson—two Black ballet dancers who struggled throughout their careers in America to receive the recognition they deserved. Like last month’s Q&A, this event was also highly attended—more than 100 people tuned in, which was a wonderful sign of ABT’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. As I just graduated from college with a degree in history and international studies, this was an amazing event for me to have the opportunity to help organize and attend. 

While I have interned at arts organizations before, ABT has been a perfect opportunity to work in a supportive, effective environment while also learning about the world of special events. I’m looking forward to the rest of the semester!

Gillian Reinhard

Special Events Intern

Spring 2021

A Semester as an ABT Virtual Intern

12 Dec

In January, I nervously walked up the steps of 890 Broadway to interview to be a summer intern with the American Ballet Theatre. The energy there was incredibly bright and moving. It was amazing to see the artists and the arts administrators, side by side, simultaneously working together to bring new creations into the world!

However, by February, the whole world had begun to shut down. At this time, ABT had canceled the Spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House and I had no idea what my internship would look like!

Thankfully, as the world transitioned to all online, I was still able to complete my internship as a virtual intern for the Fall 2020 season. Although I was nervous to see what kind of work I would be doing as a virtual intern, I knew that being a part of one of the greatest ballet companies in the world during this unprecedented time would give me the opportunity to learn about how to continue to create art in this new virtual landscape.

This fall season had such unique and interesting challenges and successes! ABT has some of the greatest minds within its administration and it was a privilege to learn from those within my team, Delia Brengel, Kelly Ryan, and Laura Miller, as the company navigated the loss of theaters and live performances. I quickly learned there are no bad questions, or suggestions as they welcomed me to share my ideas and thoughts about how to push an important story further, and in front of more eyes than had ever seen ABT before.

Each day I would wake up excited to get my hands on new projects such as the Moving Stories: ABT Film Festival, the new ABT: Kitchen cookbook, children’s books Boy’s Dance and B is for Ballet and ABT Today: The Future Starts Now virtual celebration. As a virtual press and public relations intern I was able to hone my communications and writing skills, by writing pitches, and brainstorming about the best way to share these new creations with its eagerly awaiting audience.

As a press intern this season I have felt truly connected to ABT’s mission to bring ballet to the widest possible audience, and cannot wait to continue to utilize all the skills I have learned here.

Kendall Butler

Press Intern

Fall 2020

That’s a Wrap on Fall 2020

11 Dec

When I started to think about having a professional career in nonprofit and fundraising, I certainly did not expect and would not imagine to do all the fundraising work online. Certainly, it is not an easy time for a performing arts organization when you can’t put on live performances. Meanwhile, for me it is a unique time to work with American Ballet Theatre as a development assistant intern. It has been so nice to see everyone here at ABT development department keep the work going by being adaptive and creative and embracing the virtual platforms, so I have learned a lot this fall.

As a development assistant intern, I mainly have been working with my supervisor Kaitlyn. Throughout the three months, I have assisted in multiple projects, for example, research on nontraditional performance venues, taking development committee meeting minutes, organizing donor/board member files and acknowledgement letters. All these projects are practical and will be useful in my future career but personally, I find taking meeting minutes interesting since I only have learned about the role of board members in nonprofits in class without knowing much details. It is great way to observe how trustees work with ABT staffs and the significant role they are playing in ABT’s fundraising.

Since this is a virtual internship, I truly appreciate that Kaitlyn would always check in with me and spend time to write down the detailed information to explain project-related content that I am not familiar with. I am also invited to join the weekly development department meeting as well as the monthly education and development meeting. These meetings provide me an incredible chance to learn about the planning and decision-making process within ABT and how everyone in the development department, though play different roles, manage to work together on various projects from the beginning.

Besides my work with development department, the intern meetings have also made this internship a unique experience as Dennis manages to invite ABT staffs from different departments every week to share their experience at ABT and their career path. Through the meeting I am able to learn about the role of different departments at ABT which gives me a more comprehensive perspective on how these departments work together within a large performing arts organization.

So, that’s a wrap on Fall 2020, thank you ABT for this experience, and special thanks to Kaitlyn for being incredibly supportive. I’m grateful to still have the opportunity to learn and grow during a time when uncertainty is the certainty. It has given me a different view to think about the significance of fundraising and to reflect on my future career choices. Can’t wait to see the world come back to normal and the dancers will be performing on stage in front of a full house of audiences!

Anna Zhao

Development Assistant Intern

Fall 2020

JKO Intern Reflections

9 Dec

As a dance student entering my senior year of college, I was nervous as to how transitioning into virtual learning would impact my dance training and educational experience this semester. Dance students and educators across the globe have all faced the challenge of how to move their instruction into a meaningful virtual format this semester, and as the JKO School Intern this semester I had the unique opportunity to be apart of this process and assist the wonderful JKO School team in cultivating high-level training and attempting to replicate the JKO community atmosphere online.

In weekly team meetings, we discussed ways in which we could improve the online learning experience for the students, and my main role as an intern was administrating the Zoom classes. As a zoom administrator, I witnessed the resilience and creativity of both young students and teachers in adapting to the online studio environment. I was impressed with how teachers were able to engage their students and got a little taste of the students’ lives as they introduced their pets and shared stories about their lives at the start and end of classes.

While I would love to venture to 890 Broadway, interning this semester was special as I felt I experienced this tremendous challenge to dance training and was able to support the JKO staff, faculty, and students, in overcoming it.  I helped to coordinate a wellness workshop series with the Harkness Center for Dance injures in order to cultivate the school community and give JKO families the opportunity to learn about best practices for dancing at home. I helped to create virtual classes to be posted on social media for students to take. In assisting in executing this programming, I watched the JKO School go above and beyond to create a rich and authentic virtual learning space and make ballet become more accessible than it ever has been to the larger community.

I had a fantastic experience with ABT this semester, and feel immense gratitude to Katie, Katie, and Jenna for their continued support and mentorship. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for the JKO school community!

Sophie Visscher-Lubinizki

JKO School Intern

Fall 2020

ABT’s Role in Guiding my Career Path

9 Dec

As a recent graduate who struggled to decide what to do next, The American Ballet Theatre had a wonderful impact on deciding what I wanted to do with my career. I have interned with other for-profit companies, and I wanted to see what the nonprofit world was like. I wanted to experience what it was like working with people who were passionate about what they were doing and who they were working for. The thing I love about ABT’s mission is that they are looking to provide arts and culture to the largest community they can. Working for a company that works for their audience was rewarding.

I learned all about how nonprofit annual taxes work in various states in the US. I helped analyze financial processes on ABT’s accounting software and learned where and how this company allocates its finances. I helped out with some credit card expense reports and learned about DanceUSA – a community designed to help other arts companies around the nation. 

Godwin, Talisa, and Belzin were a lovely team of people who were willing to guide and teach me. I had a great Zoom call with Talisa one day discussing why getting a CPA was not for everyone. As someone who is pursuing my CPA, it was nice to hear from a woman in finance who told me why it was not always the best option for everyone. It was not a very long conversation, but it was an impactful one for me. I appreciate Godwin always checking in with me and making sure I understood what I was doing. He tried to make the best of this unique situation, and I am so grateful to him for that. I can tell Godwin knows how to be a good leader to his team and to me. He always provided clear direction and guidance, which is honestly a luxury as far as internships go. 

Dennis’ weekly meetings were also extremely helpful for me when I was deciding if the nonprofit sector was for me. He taught us what the company did, its different functions, and set up meetings with various people in ABT to learn a little about their role. Some of my favorite Zoom meetings were with Kara Barnett, the executive director, and Rachel Richardson, a company dancer. I loved learning about ballet and the inner workings of a huge and widely known ballet company. I am hoping that one day I will be able to visit 890 Broadway in person and experience an environment surrounded by talent and passion. 

Madison Ryan

Finance Intern

Fall 2020

My ABT Internship

7 Dec

As I finish my ABT Internship, I am reflecting on the last 3 months  and how grateful I am to have had this experience. While the last few months have felt uncertain, the opportunity to work with the membership team at ABT came as a welcome surprise. I feel honored to have been a part of the membership team at this pivotal time of the year and have learned so much through my experience this fall.

The last few weeks of my internship have been special getting to work towards the end of the year goals for membership and new donations. Getting an inside look into the fall celebration, seeing the short films by ABT Dancers, and being a part of the giving tuesday campaign are a few things that have made my time at ABT that much more special. In a semester, where being in person was impossible, there were other unique ways to connect with the development team and other interns. Working with Alex, Jackie and Grace has been a dream, they have all made my time at ABT and with the Membership team special, as an intern the team made me feel like an important part of the team, and gain some real hands-on experiences.

As part of the program. I got to participate in talkback and conversations with ABT Artists and Staff, which has introduced me to the wider world of ballet and dance. Coming into the internship, I did not have as much knowledge of ballet as everyone else and was excited about the opportunity to learn and grow in a new area of performing arts.

I am thankful for the experience I have gained by interning with ABT this fall. Working with the company has made me feel more prepared and excited for the future.

Ashley Weintraub

Membership & Database Intern

Fall 2020

Welcome to the ABT Family

4 Dec

This fall, I completed the National Training Curriculum (NTC) Internship within the Education Department at American Ballet Theatre, working September 11 – December 11, 2020 in a remote setting. During my internship, I was responsible for assisting with special projects and day-to-day operations related to the NTC, such as:

  • Co-hosting the Level 6-7 & Partnering teacher training course, taught by Franco De Vita and Raymond Lukens
  • Hosting weekly JKO children’s division ballet classes for Harriet Clark
  • Hosting Winter Intensive classes
  • Assisting the Raising The Barre weekend workshop with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, featuring Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden
  • Grading Exams for the ABT/NYU Master’s Program teacher training

I worked directly with the brilliant NTC team: Molly Schnyder, Sonia Jones, and Saya Harada, under the JKO Artistic Director, Cynthia Harvey. I also interfaced regularly with the Education Faculty at the weekly virtual staff meetings, which allowed me to gain more insight into the entire department and witness firsthand how collaboration, communication, and a little bit of humor make for great team work (#winning)! I had the invaluable opportunity to get to know ABT inside and out through meetings with staff from marketing, development, company management, finance, and the executive team. Working in an environment that believes in the power of dance education, I saw how ABT’s mission to share dance with the widest possible audience impacts their daily decisions, which in turn continues to positively impact the current and future generations of dancers and arts administrators.

In addition to my organizational work — which included working in OneDrive, practicing my mail merge skills, creating presentations, and more — I also helped with the @abtschool social media posts for the ABT/NYU Master’s Program! Bringing my knowledge of marketing and media from my past work experience, I was able to use those media skills in my work at ABT to produce IGTV videos for a current audience of 32K followers.

I feel very lucky to have been invited onto the Education team this fall, and become a part of the small, wonderful family that is the ABT National Training Curriculum team!

Cheers,

Amy Wensley

NTC Intern

Fall 2020

Emma Goes to the Warehouse

1 Dec

Starting my internship at ABT, I was thrilled by the opportunity and very eager to learn. The experience has managed to exceed my expectations. This isn’t the type of internship where you show up with a laundry list of to-dos and strict deadlines. Instead, you are called upon to brainstorm ideas and share your perspective. My main project over the semester has been developing content and ideas for the ABTKids Daily webpage. I have been able to use my creativity in all of the projects I have been given, and the best part is that there are tangible results to go along with each task. I get to see my work come to life on the ABTKids Daily page every week, and I know that someone is out there watching and learning from home. Not only that, but I get to learn alongside them as I create the content! First, let me tell you about my new friend, Winston.

Winston, an emerging internet sensation, also happens to be the son of my supervisor, Dennis Walters. Winston is well known for his work hosting the ABTKids Daily series, Winston Goes to the Warehouse. Winston Goes to the Warehouse is a series of videos following Winston as he tours the ABT warehouse and interviews the property master and wardrobe supervisor. I had the pleasure of going through all of this footage and determining what types of episodes we could create with the content we had on film. Diving into the footage, I felt like I myself was getting a tour of the warehouse. Spending hours watching and rewatching the videos, I not only feel like I could give a tour of the warehouse, but I also feel like I met Winston. That is one of the most special things about this remote internship, that ABT makes you feel like you are there in person. ABT has made a conscious effort to go the extra mile and keep their students engaged while they are cooped up at home. It is so rewarding to be a vehicle to help deliver this content to the kids, and the best part is that I am learning and experiencing it all alongside them.

ABT has truly taken this virtual world by storm. I would argue that their use of virtual programming has made ballet even more accessible than before, thus fulfilling their mission to bring ballet to the widest possible audience. Everything ABT does ties back to this. I feel lucky to be a part of an organization that is so driven by their mission, a mission that I am proud to support.

I have had a great experience at ABT over the past few months. I have grown professionally and personally and had a great time while doing it. Thank you to Dennis for mentoring me and showing me the ropes, and to Amanda and Richard for so graciously welcoming me to their team.

I hope you have the opportunity to intern at ABT, for it will undoubtedly be a very memorable and impactful experience.

 

Emma Alteri

Education Outreach Intern

Fall 2020

 

P.S. Check out an episode of Winston Goes to the Warehouse below!

Lessons From A Virtual Internship

1 Dec

As my time at the virtual version of 890 Broadway comes to a close, I find myself grateful for the opportunity to make a difference at such a pivotal moment.  This year has been a time of growth and challenges, but ABT takes it in stride.  With this growth, I learned some lessons working virtually.  I have got 3 pieces of advice: 1) you are your greatest advocate, 2) overcommunicate, and 3) be enthusiastic. 

For the first lesson, it is always important to remember that if you want more projects, can handle more, or have ideas then you need to be the one to bring them up to your supervisor/department.  Everyone is very busy, so make sure to be your own advocate to be heard.  ABT is a collaborative environment and values people who can step up and fill a need.  Advocate for yourself.  In my experience at ABT, if I wanted more projects, I made sure my supervisor knew where I was on current projects and my capacity for more.  This brings me to the second lesson, overcommunicate.  In a virtual world, it can be very difficult to learn the culture of an organization.  If you are unsure about how something is done or want clarity on a subject, just ask.  If you have the capacity to take on more, communicate that to your supervisor.  Lastly, be enthusiastic in all that you take on.  It can be hard to maintain an enthusiastic demeanor virtually, but if you can, it will transform your experience.

My supervisor during my time at ABT was Jon Haddorff in the Major Gifts department.  I had such a great experience being an intern in this department and loved being able to work with Jon.  He is open to suggestions and lets interns have many opportunities to grow.  I come from a program background and so very much appreciated his teaching me how the Major Gifts department worked, while also allowing me room to grow and take part in projects.

Hopefully, ABT will be able to go back to 890 Broadway soon, but in the meantime, I have found these lessons to be useful and adaptable to both virtual and in-person positions.

 

Sabrina Kesler

Major Gifts Intern

Fall 2020

If You’re Well, I’m Well

23 Nov

Spending time with the JKO School Children’s Division has taught me the value of engagement, wellness, and community in the world of dance. Although I revered the company and school prior to my internship, I’m leaving with more admiration than before.

I was the administrator for several Zoom classes every week, so I got to experience the classes firsthand. The faculty and staff work extremely hard at keeping students engaged and well. Many faculty begin their classes with saying hello, asking kids about good things that happened that week, and making sure their dance space is set up and safe. Throughout the class, faculty “spotlight” kids in Zoom to encourage them and complement their dancing. Every student has a chance to demonstrate as well. This keeps students engaged and excited about their dancing- they want to be spotlighted! Structure and curriculum are also very important, for the faculty want them to be ready for whenever they return to in-person classes.

Wellness is also a priority. JKO cares about each individual student, and they are quick to meet with students, encourage them, and help them through struggles and circumstances that are a consequence of the pandemic. One of my favorite experiences was moderating lectures in conjunction with Harkness Center for Dance Injuries. Throughout the semester one-hour seminars would be held from Harkness, and these workshops were aimed at promoting physical and mental wellness in the community. They had a positive and healthy quality and addressed crucial topics: the dangers of going on pointe too early, specific health issues for female athletes and how to avoid them, and (actually) healthy mindsets when it comes to eating. It is so important to teach these things to ballet students at a young age, so I was happy to be a part of these workshops.

Finally, as an intern with the JKO School, I got to help create community in a time when it is more difficult than usual. The other JKO intern and I would edit pre-filmed ABTots classes for Instagram so young children could take a free class every week- complete with a story and a craft. We also made a student directory so families could connect remotely. Every week, the JKO Children’s Division staff, interns, and some faculty would meet to discuss logistics and how we could make the semester better for individual students and the division as a whole. In these meetings, I learned how ABT had promoted wellness for dancers in the past and how they strive to do it now in the pandemic.

My internship was a very enjoyable and educational experience. ABT is a positive place and I loved interning with them!

Morgan McIntosh

JKO School Education Intern

Fall 2020

“What is a Maypole?”

19 Aug

As my internship comes to an end, I am still unable to grasp the extent of all that ABT has shared with me over this short period of time. In addition to acquiring valuable new skill sets, learning in a collaborative environment and observing renowned speakers, the thing I have come to cherish the most is a simple project about a maypole.

The transformative maypole project started off as a spontaneous idea pitch called “What is a Maypole?” by my mentor, Dennis Walters. I quickly realized that before I could fulfill answering the project question with a fun and educational activity for ABTKids Daily, I first had to find my own answers that included more than “a tall pole named after a month.” Starting with the snippets of information I gathered from Dennis’s description, I found myself falling into a black hole of new google tabs filled with maypole research. From learning about the pole’s cultural relevance on the historic Beltane festival to comparing Guinness World Records for the largest pole standing, the project surprised me in more ways than one. I was shocked by how much I didn’t know and intrigued with everything I had learned.  

As the research process continued to spark new insights, I came across the next exciting task to transfer the information I had learned into an engaging activity for kids. As a person who trends toward drawing inside the lines and finding comfort in rules and directions, I was challenged with thinking outside of the box to complete this task. By finding inspiration in the little things, specifically a pencil, a few ribbons and a push pin, I was able to overcome my creativity roadblock and watch a fun DIY maypole craft come to life. Not only was I amazed with the simplicity of the craft, but also surprised in my ability to find solutions to a problem that seemed so unfamiliar at the start.

Much like the maypole project, my virtual internship experience was a learning curve, filled with uncertainties that were answered by exploring the unknown with excitement and an open mind. As I celebrated many firsts with ABT this summer, my first time working at a nonprofit, my first introduction to arts administration, my first virtual internship, ABT continuously provided me with a haven to grow and learn without boundaries. Thank you to my mentor, Dennis, and the outreach team, Amanda and Richard, for supporting me with endless opportunities to grow beyond my comfort zone and tackle projects such as the maypole through a multidimensional mindset. I am sincerely grateful to learn from such a passionate team that welcomes curiosity with open arms. My time at ABT was a cherished experience and as an added bonus I am now well versed in what a maypole truly is!

 

Ananya Chatterjee

Education Outreach Intern

Summer 2020

 “What is a Maypole?”

The Connectivity of Ballet

11 Aug

When I began my internship with the National Training Curriculum team at ABT, I was anxious and excited about both my role, and the company’s transition to online work. I had just graduated from Rutgers University with my BFA in Dance; while taking my graduate courses online, I realized that dance still had the chance to bring people together, even if virtually. I came into the internship with the same hopeful spirits that I had finished my undergraduate degree with, and I believe that has made my experience and the experiences of those who I have worked with impactful.

Despite the challenges of having to work remotely, my team and I were able to connect with dancers all around the globe. Particularly, having the chance to learn from Raymond Lukens and Franco de Vita was such an amazing experience. That opportunity showcased to me how the dance community is truly able to make light out of a dark situation. Further, I was even able to have personal conversations with participants who taught me a few things about their side of the world. I am now able to say “Thank you” in Greek: efcharistó. (I am really looking forward to the chance to say this on the steps of Mykonos when that’s possible again.)

Walking out (or logging off) of my time at ABT, I will take away with me how important it is to connect with and learn from different cultures. I truly believe that the more we learn from other people, the more we can learn about ourselves. I am so grateful that I was granted the opportunity to listen to speakers and guests near and far, all while in the comfort of my house in New Jersey. My time at ABT has been incomparable, and I hope that I continue to be open to learn from other cultures and people through dance.

 

Gillian Popino

NTC Intern

Summer 2020

Improvising with ABT

8 Aug

My department, Patron Services, was entirely in flux due to the pandemic, so I spent a summer improvising with ABT. Without the ability to bring people beautiful productions in person, my boss told me, we would be pivoting to something of a media company, bringing the ballet home through videos, audio, and personal correspondence with patrons. Thus, I spent my summer editing dancer videos, designing letters to send to donors, sorting through recordings of ABT online interviews and other events to ensure that they would be accessible for everyone.

It was hard to escape the feeling of witnessing some kind of history, sitting in on development meetings at a storied American institution during such a pivotal moment in our time. ABT did an incredible job of including interns in most discussions and events within our departments, making us feel like part of the team and allowing us to listen in on discussions about all the various challenges for ABT during our time. I heard conversations about social movements, Black Lives Matter, the impending recession, ways to retain engagement during the time of social distancing—all through the lens of a sprawling cultural nonprofit.

As such, ABT did an incredible job showing us what it takes behind the scenes to make those incredible performances possible. The nonprofit world was demystified by the end of the summer, and I became aware of jobs within a nonprofit that I didn’t even know existed. This, supplemented with the zoom calls we had with notable people within the company and across the dance world, provided me with the tools to make an informed career choice when I graduate next year. It is an incredible feeling to discover that one can work in various, fascinating roles in the arts, even if one does not exactly have the balance and grace to dance.

 

Sarisha Kurup

Patron Services Intern

Summer 2020

 

Helping to Ensure the Future of America’s National Ballet Company

8 Aug

After working here this summer, it doesn’t surprise me why American Ballet Theatre is one of the greatest ballet companies in the world. Growing up as a classical ballet dancer, I’ve always admired ABT dancers’ impeccable artistry and athleticism. What I didn’t know was that, behind the scenes, ABT’s administrative staff is equally as hard-working and talented. It has been a privilege to work with the Development Department this semester. Due to the COVID-19 crisis and all live performances being canceled, the role of raising funds for America’s National Ballet Company felt particularly significant this summer.

As the Development Assistant Intern, I jumped right in assisting primarily with the Board of Governing Trustees and Major Gifts. I was trusted with tasks I never dreamed of and given hands-on experience drafting acknowledgment letters, researching donor prospects, updating Raiser’s Edge, and creating statistical graphs for a presentation to the Board. I felt like my mentor, Kaitlyn, truly valued my ideas and challenged me to use my writing skills and creativity in new ways.

Although I never stepped foot in 890 Broadway, I was still given so many opportunities to learn about all aspects of this incredible institution. For example, the “Coffee Chat” zoom I joined, hosted by Executive Director Kara Medoff Barnett and Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. This conversation focused on ABT’s plans for the near future and included staff, major donors, and board members. It was inspiring to be surrounded by those who share my passion for dance, with everyone working towards the goal of making ballet more accessible and inclusive for all. It struck me that these people are powerful performing arts advocates, rallying together to ensure the future of ballet at this crucial time.

While a remote internship is not what I expected this term, ABT’s administrative staff still inspired, motivated, and mentored me throughout this entire experience. As my internship comes to an end, I know the skills I’ve gained will serve as the perfect foundation for any arts administration career path I choose. Whether on-stage or on-screen, I’m grateful to have been a part of sharing ABT’s beauty, innovation, and power with audiences around the world.

 

Nicole Case

Development Assistant Intern

Summer 2020

Membership During a Pandemic

6 Aug

This summer, I have learned more about membership, development, ballet, and nonprofits than I ever thought possible, even while working from home!

One of my main tasks during my internship was managing the Membership email account through answering questions from donors. At first, it was very challenging to find the answers to questions that puzzled me as well, but thanks to the support of my mentor Alex, as well as the rest of the membership team, soon I was able to respond quickly and confidently. I was touched by messages from donors expressing how much they loved ABT, and how they wanted to support us during this challenging time. Through answering these emails, I was able to not only enhance my customer service skills, but also to really discover the importance of ABT and our relationships with loyal supporters.

I also had the opportunity to work on a few creative projects with the other Membership intern, Sam J. Together we were able to create a social media calendar to revamp the Junior Council Instagram, and also produced membership one pagers that could be distributed to prospective donors virtually.

During my time at ABT, I have been able to witness the entire company shift and transform to deal with the unexpected. I can truly say I am proud to have been even such a small part of this organization, and I will remember my time learning about membership during a pandemic for many years to come.

 

Samantha Laurelli

Membership Intern

Summer 2020

Reaching ABT’s Audience from Home

6 Aug

Dance has been a huge part of my life since before I can remember, and after moving to NYC for college, I dreamed about spending a summer interning with ABT. After lots of prep on my application and interview, I was ecstatic to get an offer to join the Special Events team! When we were told the internship would be fully virtual, I was frustrated, as you can imagine. I was also grateful, however, as I knew it would be a good opportunity for me to learn a new way forward.

Luckily, I had the pleasure of working with two of the most intelligent, eloquent and supportive mentors, Fallon Sullivan and Megan Stahlberg. Despite not being able to work in person at 890 Broadway, Megan and Fallon made me feel included by letting me be “in the room” of many zoom meetings every week. These meetings were an amazing opportunity for me to learn how the Special Events team works within ABT internally and with partners externally. I experienced first hand the strategy and operations of Events within a non-profit, and I am indebted to Megan and Fallon for granting me that exposure and for supporting me through this non-traditional intern experience.

I quickly noticed two phrases used at ABT that all individuals and teams used to shape their decisions. There was a heavy emphasis on being America’s National Ballet Company, and especially within light of the BLM movement, how we can work to represent, include, and welcome the diversity that makes up the country. There was also a lot of focus on ABT’s mission statement ofreaching the widest possible audience.

In my second to last week, a full length recording of Manon, performed at the Metropolitan Opera House in 2007, was offered to our donors. When looking over the analytics of the video on Vimeo, I noticed that the ballet had been viewed in over 30 countries. Scrolling through the names of countries I was amazed to see such variety: Japan, Singapore, Israel, Bulgaria, Puerto Rico and South Africa, just to name a few. I knew ABT was reaching the widest possible audience, literally spanning the globe. As Fallon Sullivan, Events Manager, mentioned “Virtual events are the future of ABT Special Events.” These viewers were able to experience the magic of ABT without having to travel to the Met. It was really special to feel that I had a role in strengthening ABT’s mission, even during the uncertainty of a global pandemic.

I cannot express how grateful I am for my time at ABT. Thank you to everyone who has made the experience unforgettable, and thank you to Megan, Fallon, and the whole development team for showing me what resilience, humility and graciousness looks like when working through troubling times.

 

Jane Tegeler

Special Events Intern

Summer 2020

Staying Connected in a Virtual Internship

6 Aug

I am not well-versed in the dance world, let alone the ballet world. When I was searching for a Summer 2020 internship, the opportunity to be the Finance Intern at the American Ballet Theatre intrigued me, as it would be a way for me to dive into an artform I admire from afar while also learning more about a field I am interested in.

At first, I dreamt about commuting to 890 Broadway and working in an ever-changing office space. Shortly thereafter, the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the world. The Summer 2020 interns became ABT’s first intern class to work virtually throughout the entire summer. My visions of working only a few blocks from Union Square Park now seemed trivial as I wondered what a virtual internship would entail.

My initial hesitations about this new type of internship experience dissolved immediately. During the first few days of my virtual internship at ABT, I realized that being a virtual intern would not make me any less involved. My supervisor, Godwin, introduced me to the accounting software I would use for the remainder of the internship while Belzin and Talisa walked me through how to record the ever-increasing influx of student refunds and donations to be processed as the Summer Intensives went virtual. By the end of the first week, I began working on a project that would later be used as part of ABT’s application to the SBA Paycheck Protection Program. I was only a few days in but already learning about and given opportunities to help coordinate ABT’s response to the pandemic.

When I look back at the past ten weeks, I see the strong community at ABT. Godwin, Belzin, and Talisa called me over the phone or on Zoom and were always open to having conversations to stay updated on my progress and answer any questions I had. Furthermore, when looking back, I see the lessons I learned at ABT. The international reach and scale at which ABT operates contrasts the smaller local nonprofits I have prior experience with. The trust the Finance team placed in me gave me the room to grow and learn about internal accounting and financial statements. I completed independent projects using Excel relating to expense reports, the Form 990, and other finance-related tasks. While I learned with each task, I also knew that my work meaningfully contributed to ABT.

I sincerely thank Godwin, Belzin, and Talisa for being supportive mentors throughout the internship program even though we have not yet met in person. I would also like to thank Dennis for his efforts to create a community among the intern class with our weekly Zoom meetings. I am looking forward to the day I can visit 890 Broadway and meet the individuals who made this internship an unforgettable and invaluable experience in person.

 

Simrit Grewal

Finance Intern

Summer 2020

An ABT Internship from 1,300 Miles Away

6 Aug

When I applied to intern at ABT, I never could have expected to be doing it from over a thousand miles away from 890 Broadway. I previously had an internship in the development department of another ballet company and was thrilled to see ABT’s internship opportunities posted. After a lifetime of dancing and looking up to ABT, I knew if there was an opportunity to intern here, I wanted it. Then of course, right before my interview was scheduled, the country began to shut down due to COVID-19. At that point, I thought I was traveling home to Florida for a few weeks, which then turned into the whole summer. Despite all of the surprises and changes over the past few months, interning remotely at ABT has exceeded all of my expectations.

As part of the Membership team, I got to work on a variety of projects while also keeping up with the weekly routine (or as we say, “the Membership Machine”). That included checking the voicemail to help out members with donations and renewals, learning how to use Raiser’s Edge and NetCommunity to send out acknowledgement letters, and gathering press and social media materials to be sent to donors in a weekly newsletter. I also had the opportunity to work on larger projects with the other Membership intern, Sam L. We collaborated on things like creating a social media calendar for the Junior Council Instagram and one-pagers to showcase the different membership levels ABT offers. I really enjoyed working with a close-knit team, and everything we accomplished was rewarding and taught me a lot about membership.

I don’t think any of us knew what a remote internship would look like, but for me it was the best experience I could have asked for. I got to participate in regular Zoom calls with the Membership and Development teams, and worked closely with Sam L. and our supervisor, Alex. While I wish I could have spent the summer at 890 Broadway in person, I am so thankful for my time as an ABT intern.

 

Samantha Jones

Membership Intern

Summer 2020

 

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The Children MUST Dance!

6 Aug

I can certainly attest to ABT’s resilience during these uncertain times! The resounding efforts by all departments allowed the organization to continue their educational mission, and more impressively re-envision an impactful fall season. Being the JKO intern during Summer 2020, I did not experience the magic of 890 Broadway. Rather I was fueled by the community spirit proudly exhibited in weekly zoom meetings and in details of assigned projects. A phrase that was often proclaimed in challenging moments, “the children MUST dance”, served as a motivational mantra in all my tasks. No one could predict the coming months, but we all knew the children would be dancing together again.

The anticipated decision of the JKO School fall re-opening plan came with an abundance of preparation: zip code enrollment analysis, scenario planning, parent surveys, and weekly re-opening discussions. My involvement in these plans took a data-centered approach. I analyzed the student’s feasibility of travel, anticipated housing accommodations, preferences for learning scenarios, and attitudes towards pre-cautionary health/safety measures… all in the name of “the children MUST dance”. With a deeper understanding of the student’s capabilities and needs, I wrote generalized conclusions that informed an inclusive fall re-opening plan. Perhaps most informing were the commentary left by students and parents from the JKO School. I read about the tight-knit community in the JKO School, and I learned about the incredible artistry created in the studios. Once again, that notion that “the children MUST dance” echoed in all their responses.

Though I won’t be able to see the children dance together again in the fall, I am proud to help re-connect the JKO School community. In the future, I hope to experience the in-person magic of 890 Broadway. Thank you ABT, and the JKO School Staff!

 

Allaistar Regan

JKO Intern

Summer 2020

You Can Write Grants From Anywhere- A Virtual Internship at ABT

28 Jul

I applied for the ABT summer internship on a whim in February 2020, not knowing that COVID-19 would cause a mass shutdown canceling ABT’s Met Season, closing 890, and making internships virtual. In the Spring I was not only auditioning, but I was also looking for jobs that were more behind the scenes of performing arts for the first time. Armed with my Journalism degree and experience writing grants and press for very small ballet companies, I applied for any job or internship I could find in the city.

That being said, I was very surprised when the Institutional Support department at ABT called me in for an interview. I was even more surprised when I received the email saying I got the Institutional Support internship. Unfortunately, with the uncertainty of COVID and when ABT can return to 890, the summer internship was entirely virtual. Am I disappointed that I could not work at 890 and see the backstage of the Met Opera House during my internship? Of course! However, I wanted to work with and learn from the development department at ABT no matter what format.

Prior to starting my internship, I was told that the best time to learn how to fundraise is during a crisis. Because after that, fundraising feels easy. I started my ABT internship with that exact mentality.

I hit the ground running when I started my internship. During the first week, I drafted a grant application, created a grant interim report, and wrote an acknowledgment letter. I was amazed that Ebonie Pittman, Associate Director of Institutional Support, and Nicholas Denninger, Institutional Support Associate, trusted me with that much responsibility right off the bat. I cannot thank Ebonie and Nick enough for spending time to teach me more about the grant writing process, and how to create a compelling grant narrative.

With the nature of writing grants, I had the chance to interact with many departments at ABT. I worked with everyone in development to create ABT’s SMU’s DataArts profile, which is required for NYC Department of Cultural Affairs grant applications. I interacted with the education department to create grants and grant reports to support ABT at School, ABT’s residency program in NYC public schools. I am in awe of Richard Toda, Dennis Walters, and everyone in Education with how they are bringing ballet to students across the city.

By the end of my internship, I’ve completed two grant applications, two interim reports, many acknowledgement letters, the development part of DataArts, and learned how to utilize Raiser’s Edge and Raiser’s Edge NXT.

Jon Haddorff, Associate Director of Major Gifts best described the internship program. “ABT is like a teaching hospital. Like the interns in residency, we give our interns hands on experience.” This internship has solidified my new career goals of working in a development department in a performing arts organization, ideally a ballet company. Thank you ABT for giving me this opportunity to start my new career path.

Jessica Frazier

Institutional Support Intern

Summer 2020