Having to write a blog post has to be the hardest thing on earth for me. It makes me wonder if I can fit all the amazing experiences I have had at ABT fit in one post. My internship with ABT has really showed me the ins and outs of the non-profit organization. I interned with the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School and helped my mentor Rebecca Schwartz and the rest of the JKO Staff with projects, spring performances, and anything else they needed help with.
Coming to 890 Broadway for the first time I was a nervous wreck. I did not know what to expect, how the office would look, how many people I would be working with, I came in blind-sided because I wasn’t from the area. I had just simply applied through my University back in Laredo, TX and had a phone interview with my mentor Rebecca. Next, I knew I was packing my bags and on my way to live in New York. I honestly did not think I would enjoy my internship as much as I did. I knew it was going to be a learning experience for me but I did not think it would be a career starter.
During my internship I really got the full experience working at ABT I was told. I helped out the JKO School Pre-Professional division and Children’s division. I helped with other educational outreach programs, including Make a Ballet, Ballet for the New Audience, and Young People’s Ballet Workshop. I helped sell Boutique items for the education department. I was also hired as the receptionist two days out of the week during the night. For my internship hours I would work during the day three days out of the week, work Monday nights for the school, and work on Saturday’s as well. Working Monday and Saturday were the best days out of the internship program because that was when I was able to talk to the students more and hear about their experiences at ABT. I would be able to walk to the 9 different studios ABT has and talk to the students about their rehearsals they were having for the performances. Sometimes on my way back to the fourth floor I would even be able to peep my eye into the studios to watch the main company dancers rehearse right before the Met Season. I was also able to talk to the parents and assist them with information when needed. It was a great experience all together.
During the week I would work on many small projects for the spring semester but by far I would have to say it is the craziest time for the school. During my internship I worked on mid-year evaluations, end-year evaluation templates, two spring performances, daily student ballet buns, and Baby Dragons. You might think “Baby Dragons?” but it might not be exactly what you are thinking. There are many, many projects I can write about but I will just let you know about the Pre-Professional Division Spring Performance. I had the chance to work with former ABT Principal Dancer Ethan Stiefel as he was choreographing Knight Life for the JKO School Level 7. He had a vision of what he wanted his piece to look like and along side my mentor we were able to make it possible. He envisioned having a Dragon and two baby dragons for the piece and that was my job for about a month and a half. I researched online for hours a day on how to make his vision for the costumes come to life and it happened. It was crazy at the beginning but it all worked out. Now you might be thinking where do baby dragons take place? Well Mr. Stiefel for his piece wanted two of the JKO Children’s Division Students to come out as baby dragons. And as creative as Mr. Stiefel is, he wanted the costumes to be unique and not just a Halloween costume you can buy online. It took forever and a lifetime, as it may seem to get the perfect image in our hands. I sat in the office four days prior to the performance getting the small details of the costume correct, this meant that I sat in the office painting ballet shoes, socks, and even bobby pins, yes I said it bobby pins, green. All the stress I was under was all worth it in the end because the school had a successful performance at the Joyce Theatre and Mr. Stiefel’s piece had amazing reviews. And of course, the baby dragons looked adorable.
Interning at American Ballet Theatre has been the greatest experience of a lifetime. Not only because it is America’s National Ballet Company but also because all the workers are humble and kind. It makes you feel like you are wanted and the environment on the fourth floor is just incredible. If you truly enjoy the Arts and the administrative side you will enjoy working at ABT and who knows you may even become a new employee for them like I have. I am now the 19th intern to get hired and my new position is Summer Intensive Assistant.