Don Q’ing Our Way Through the Summer

5 Sep

ABT’s Internship Program is a great opportunity to experience the non-profit work in the arts. With weekly intern meetings and field trips to the Metropolitan Opera, Dance Media and Roundabout Theatre Company, interns are not restricted to only learning about their assigned department. Mentors and staff are always welcoming and open to answer any questions.

The program is also a great opportunity to meet friends. June 1st, 2017, we were just two separate individuals, Sarah Cho and Annabelle Sadoff. As the weeks continued on, we began to merge into one. As Dennis half-jokingly called us (but not really), we were known as Sarabelle. Working in the Education Outreach Department, you’re given a large assortment of tasks, ranging from simple tasks like folding programs to more complex ones like creating worksheets for future workshops.  We started our bond while preparing 3,000 programs for the Young People’s Ballet Workshop, but the pivotal moment in our friendship was the day we went to P.S. 261 K to assist with the final performance of Make a Ballet. We helped with the set up and chaperoning of students, but most importantly, we learned the amazing teaching artist, Richard Toda’s, Don Quixote choreography. While we didn’t have to learn the dance, the choreography was so inspiring and fun that it got us out of our seats to follow along. The choreography stuck with us throughout the entire summer, pulling out the moves in the middle of cleaning the studios, moving barres, during lunch, and whenever our mentor, Dennis, would walk by. Even the repetitive, but important, tasks like filing cabinets became exciting, as we would perform a Richard Toda move after we scanned a binder into the system.

One important project we were assigned for the summer was to re-organize the internal and external communication of the internship program. From planning out the deadlines to creating the intern request forms for staff, we were given directions and guidance but also had freedom to use our own experience as interns to improve the process. Dennis asked for our input in creating the mentor handbook to outline what we thought would be helpful for mentors to know when they work with interns. We created a first draft ourselves and edited the handbook with Dennis to realign the language. It was very satisfying to know that our experience could be of beneficial use to make the internship program more efficient and effective for staff and future interns. Of course, we celebrated our work with Richard’s Don Quixote choreography.

It was a great experience, sitting side by side at the desk meant for one person, throwing angry birds and cupcake beanie babies around, having casual conversations with THE Sascha Radetsky, watching Summer Intensive classes, finding historic pictures from early 1990s in file cabinets, organizing costumes, finding ballet legends’ pointe shoes in the pointe shoe store, running the ABT boutique in the office, and of course, busting out Richard’s Don Quixote choreography whenever and wherever. While the summer term was short, the memories, skills and friendships will last for a lifetime. #sarabelle

Annabelle Sadoff and Sarah Cho    (AKA Sarabelle)

Education Outreach Interns

Summer 2017 

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Pleasant Surprises from an Unexpected Detour: Broadening the Horizons of a Career in the Arts

5 Sep
My first experience with American Ballet Theatre was going to see Maria Kochetkova perform Swan Lake at the Metropolitan Opera House with my mother. I remember barely being able to keep still in my chair, wanting to pounce up and join in the choreography. I remember leaving Lincoln Center on the 1 Tain with the largest smile on my face, not only feeling more inspired than ever to keep dancing, but also that I could do anything if I put my mind to it.
My next experience with American Ballet Theatre was dancing in their three-week Collegiate Summer Intensive in the June of 2016. I soaked in every last moment of being in the studios; I was beginning my Freshman year of college in the Fall and I was getting too old for most Summer Intensives. A classmate had applied to be a counselor for the five-week intensive, and I thought that was something I would definitely be interested in.
The next Spring I composed an email to the Summer Intensive staff inquiring about the Summer Counselor position and was asked to come in for an interview. There, they asked if I would be interested in an internship for the summer with the JKO Pre-Professional Division.
It was incredibly unexpected: I was still only 18 and had only finished my first year of college. But through out my experience this summer, I drew from and continued to refine my knowledge of ballet education and organizational, administrative, and editing skills. I worked closely with the JKO staff preparing for the school year with the students’ registration, refining the student and faculty handbook policies, collecting inventory of the uniforms, and mailing out the teacher and accompanist contracts.
As the school is not in session during the summer I also had the opportunity to assist in other areas of ABT Education Offices, such as Project Plié and the multiple Summer Intensives happening both in NYC and across the United States.
With the internship program we also had other opportunities, such as an exchange program with Roundabout Theatre, a visit to DanceMedia’s Pointe Magazine, tickets to experience some of ABT’s Metropolitan Opera season, and even a backstage tour of the Met. On top of this, every week we would have intern meetings to hear from different departments of the organization and what comprises a career in arts administration: all the way from how ABT functions as a non-profit to grant writing. These lectures were incredibly eye opening for me, as previous to this summer I had only experience as a dancer; I learned of so many more ways the arts can be turned into a career.
Overall, I was immensely moved by the amount of effort ABT placed into the outreach of dance for the youth and in the local schools. In a time where the arts are struggling to remain relevant, ABT is at the forefront of the mission. At the Young People’s Ballet Workshop students from public schools from the NYC area poured into the Metropolitan Opera House to watch some of their peers perform alongside company dancers, and it thrilled me to see the amount of unconfined excitement buzzing in a room full of young students.
I saw them sitting in the seats where I watched ABT perform for the first time, and just looking at the gleam in their eyes and the uncontained smile of their faces that they also were not just inspired to move, but that they could accomplish anything they put their minds to as well.
It was an honor this summer to intern with American Ballet Theatre and to know, that in my small ways, I am helping young dancers to be inspired just as I was and I would recommend this opportunity to anyone interested in any form of arts administration.
Kasey Boekema
JKO School Intern
Summer 2017
Kasey Broekema is 19 years old entering her sophomore year at Columbia University studying dance and English.

My Summer in the National Training Curriculum

29 Aug

Being part of the National Training Curriculum team was full of little surprise joys this summer. I, along with my awesome co-intern, spent our days ensuring teacher training intensive sessions and affiliate student exams were ready to go and efficiently processed. Some of my main tasks included auditing and processing exam results for both teachers and students as well as maintaining physical records and online files. However, it was all the moments from the atypical tasks that truly built the internship experience for me.

For example, early in the summer, all of the interns took a field trip to Lincoln Center to help set up the Young People’s Ballet Workshop featuring ABT’s  students—helping thousands of elementary kids fill up the auditorium to get excited about ballet? Phenomenal experience. Or, even helping out in the apparel and trinkets boutique during dancer intensives or teacher trainings gave me an opportunity to get to chat with some of the participants; I loved learning about different people and how their unique background brought them to ABT for the summer. We also had the opportunity to meet the interns at a Broadway theatre company and share our experiences in the arts at major NYC organizations with each other.

I also thoroughly enjoyed my time learning from the various people who work at ABT. I was so blessed to have such wonderful mentors in Meghan Love, Sonia Jones, and Molly Schnyder. It was encouraging to know that walking into the office every day that these people cared about me as beyond “just an intern”. They were patient, kind, and considerate—I really couldn’t have asked for a better trio to work for. Also, whether it was informally at the lunch table, though a few Q&A sessions at intern meetings, or casually around the office, meeting the people and seeing passion of ABT is inspiring to be part of. I am thankful for meeting such great educators, artists, and administrators.

Sarah Tsung

National Training Curriculum Intern

Summer 2017

 

ABT jumping pic

My Time at ABT

29 Aug

It is hard to believe that my time interning at ABT has come to an end. It has been an incredible experience seeing how this non-profit organization runs, from the dazzling performances on the Met stage, to the private auctions with donors and board members. If you are someone who is thinking of applying for an internship, please do so! Here is what I took away from my summer internship at ABT in Manhattan:

The incredible staff! I had the privilege of working in the development suite with an incredibly welcoming and hardworking group of people. From day one they were eager to meet the interns and were so accommodating to all our busy schedules. Each day when I came to work, Roseanne at the front desk greeted me with a friendly ‘good morning’ and everyone smiled. ABT works very hard ‘behind the scenes’ to put on such fabulous performances, and I appreciated that. It was eye-opening seeing how much time, effort, and most of all, money, goes into making this organization what it is. However, just like every ballet performance, all the hard work happens in studios and behind the curtain, and in this case, downtown at the office as well.

My specific internship! I worked in patron ticketing, which allowed me to process tickets from many major donors and learn the importance of staying organized. It is crucial that the exact amount of tickets with the proper seats for each specific ABT donor is precise and correct. I learned about ABT’s process for communicating with the Metropolitan Opera House and David H. Koch Theater, the preparation that occurs during off and performance seasons, and the database that holds the precious information. Most of my work consisted of data entry into ABT’s system, but there were also times when I interned at the Met Opera House. These days were my favorite days, not only because I gracefully walked upon the scarlet carpet, but because I saw my hard work come alive. The opera house events were where I met the donors for which I had been processing and packaging tickets and watched the ballerinas perform.

Dina Resnick

Patron Ticketing Intern

Summer 2017

 

A little about me:

I am entering my senior year of college studying finance and marketing with a minor in theatre. My passion for theatre and dance inspired me to seek career opportunities in these industries, and it has been an absolute pleasure interning for ABT. I always loved ballet (I took lessons for 12 years) but knew I didn’t want to perform for a living. You don’t have to give up the things you love just because you become an adult. This industry is where I belong, and it is inspiring because the arts are filled with great people who have passion.

Third Time’s the Charm

29 Aug

One story that I am always hesitant to tell at first is the one about how exactly I landed at ABT during the summer of 2017. But, I feel that there is no better way for me to express how honored and grateful I am to be one of the interns selected for this semester:

I had first applied to be an intern the summer after my freshman year of college (2015) and had received an email months later about how my application had been rejected. “No matter,” I told myself. After all, I still had so many years of school left to go and I could “always apply again.” Well, I definitely did keep to my word and applied for a second time two years later. As you may have guessed, I was rejected- yet again. Finally, I decided to apply for a third time and told myself that if I didn’t get it this time around, I would give up and move on to other interests. However, to my surprise, I was checking my email one day when I noticed a message from the Special Events Manager saying that she was having trouble contacting me. Long story short, I had gotten the internship!

I’m proud to say that after my time here at ABT, it was worth the wait! I have been so lucky to have wonderful mentors (Claire and Gwen!) who always made sure that I knew exactly why I was doing something, what it would be used for, and how I could accomplish my task. I can honestly say that everyone at ABT has been more than willing to help interns learn about the organization or a specific department. From my time at ABT, I had the chance to experience first hand things like how to staff a dress rehearsal and consider each step of the event planning process.

Lastly, I would like to say that the weekly intern meetings are an important aspect of ABT’s internship program that really make it stand out from the rest. These meetings allowed us to meet people in other departments and talk about not just job duties, but also their career trajectory and the steps along the way to their current position. They were also really important because it showed me that ABT was investing in our education/learning. They weren’t just looking for an extra set of hands to help out- they were genuinely committed to our professional development so that we can work in all spheres of performing arts administration and the non-profit sector even after our time at 890. 

Jennifer Ly

Special Events Intern

Summer 2017

A Plethora of Extraordinary Experiences

27 Aug
When thinking about my time at ABT as the Special Events intern, a plethora of extraordinary experiences come to mind, such as staffing the variety of special events held at the Met throughout the season, working the membership table for performances, or the exchange events with The Roundabout Theatre Company and Dance Magazine.
One thing I particularly loved about ABT is the internship program itself. As there were so many of us, 14 in total, I had the ability to bond with wonderful people from across the country, many of whom I now consider good friends. The program itself gave me a sneak peek into the different departments of ABT, such as Institutional Support, Finance, Company Management, and many more. Therefore, even though we spent a majority of time within our respective departments, the program gave us exposure to areas of the company we knew little about and might consequently be interested in. Ultimately, although we might have interned in one department, a presentation may have peaked our interest in another department, which we could pursue later in life.
As mentioned above, the Special Events intern gets unprecedented access to the Met unlike any of the other interns. That being said, I got to know the Met on a deeper level, becoming friends with the ushers and security guards (shout out to Carmela and Miguel!), serving patrons, and watching some events, such as dress rehearsals and seminars with the dancers and artistic staff. Being a theater lover all around, I am convinced I was in heaven! Aside from working at the Met and projects related to the Met events, I worked on various projects for the Fall Gala, a large research project on the Junior Council, and many tasks for the Junior Turnout event in the Fall. These projects gave insight into the timeline of preparing for large scale events, how the little things I do drastically improve events or documents, and gave me an overall appreciation for everything that goes into this successful company.
To wrap up, I had the most incredible summer experience. The relaxed, yet professional, and genuinely kind company culture made me love walking through the door. I was always greeted with a smile from Roseanne, the office receptionist. I was given an in-depth glimpse into what it takes to run a successful arts organization, understood the Met and the process of stage work on a much deeper level, learned a lot about myself and ABT as a whole. I cannot wait to see the Fall season at the Koch Theatre with all of my new found knowledge and experiences!’
Louise Brownell
Special Events Intern
Summer 2017

My Summer at ABT

27 Aug

This summer I had the amazing opportunity to intern at ABT. While here I was able to learn so much about the inner workings of the company and how a non-profit organization operates. Not only did I get to learn about the Marketing Department in my day-to-day work, I was also able to learn about all different departments through our weekly intern meetings. At these meetings I was able to learn about how a non-profit differs from a for-profit organization, I learned about the Institutional Support Department and what goes into the company receiving grants and donations, and I was able to learn about the Finance Department and what goes into the ABT budget and the different ways to manage and plan the finances so that the company can stay afloat.

Outside of the meetings I was in the Marketing Department helping with various projects and social media. The major project I worked on was an exhibit for the Google Cultural Institute, which involved a synopsis or description and a picture of every ballet the company has ever performed. I was able to work on this project on my own and it ended up being over 650 slides!

My favorite moment from my internship experience was getting a backstage tour of the met and even getting to walk onto the stage. It was so amazing to look out and see all of the seats and lights. It was even more amazing when I were backstage I saw Principal Dancer Hee Seo warming up before her performance of Onegin, which I got free tickets for.

My ABT experience has been a great one and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to learn in such an exciting and interesting environment.

Elena Schwartz

Marketing Intern

Summer 2017