One Actor’s Attempt to Split His Brain Between Art & Tech

28 Apr

Having been accepted to the Internship program as a ‘freelance marketing intern’, I have had the pleasure of carving out my own little niche at American Ballet Theatre.

From the time I was ten years old, I have been actively involved in the performing arts beginning with vocal music, followed after by acting and dance.  Upon entering college, I decided to major in graphic design and animation so as to lessen the financial burden of my acting career (headshots, reels, voiceover recordings, etc.).  In the process, I became completely interested in using technology to create art, from club posters to documentary films.  I found that the art I was most truly engaged in was art that I could not only perform, but bring to fruition according to my own design.

Upon joining ABT’s internship program, it was decided by my mentor, Dennis Walters, that my graphic design skills were best put to use by taking on various projects that granted me almost complete creative freedom, so long as I did not stray too much from ABT’s branding style.  For the first time, I felt like I had freedom, but at the same time felt restricted.  Most of my studies had been dedicated to designing whatever I wanted, any way that I wanted.  Working for ABT proved necessary for my professional development since, as a graphic designer, I must learn to adapt my skills to the branding style of whatever organization I am working for.  As a marketing intern, I must do what is best for the image of the organization, and not just what I think looks good to me.  This proved to be a blessing in disguise, as I am now more flexible idea-wise while brainstorming and am inspired to create multiple designs for each project I am assigned to, instead of settling on the first thing that satisfies my interests.

The sheer diversity of the projects I have been assigned thus far have truly pushed the bounds of my creativity, while providing some much needed practice in the various design software I learned to use in college.  Business cards, I.D. cards, stickers, posters, flyers, and brochures I have created during my internship will prove to be valuable additions to my professional portfolio as I advance in my career.  I am certain that my remaining time with ABT will continue to push the bounds of my creativity and provide me with many more opportunities to harness my craft and network with professionals in the arts.

Michael Petruso

Marketing Intern

Spring 2016

ABT Studio Visits

26 Apr

 

If you donate $900 or more annually to ABT you can enjoy the perk of sitting in on two hours of Company rehearsal with coffee and light breakfast beforehand. Studio Visit days are exciting not only for the patrons coming to see rehearsal, but also for the staff that volunteer to help. I have been fortunate enough to have worked all three Studio Visits this Spring.

 

My duties included making sure patrons were in the correct studio, answering any questions, and maintaining a quiet atmosphere to respect the privilege of sitting in on rehearsal. Even though I was working, witnessing the work behind the artistry during rehearsal was such a treat that it didn’t feel like work. As a dancer myself, I can no longer kick my face like I used to but I will always appreciate the physicality that goes into every movement. The communication through body language and problem solving between the dancers to quickly learn choreography and then make it effortless is the epitome of teamwork.

 

Some of the rehearsals I had the pleasure of watching include Chamber Symphony with soloists and Corps de Ballet Men, La Fille mal gardée with the soloist and Corps de Ballet Ladies, Pas de Deux with Maria Kochetkova and Herman Cornejo, and variations with Hee Seo and Veronika Part, to name a few. After rehearsals, patrons have often told me what a treat it is to witness the work behind the artistry and see the interaction between the dancers and the ballet masters.

 

As a dancer, I know so much hard work goes into every performance, but being able to watch the rehearsals of these amazing professionals makes me even more excited for the Spring Season at the MET starting May 9th.

 

Martha Dobbs

 

Major Gifts Intern

 

Spring 2016

You Think You’d be Starstruck….

26 Apr

When asked to write a blog post about my internship at American Ballet Theatre, I wasn’t sure what to say. There have been so many wonderful things about the experience so far, it’s hard to choose just one to focus on. Most people probably want to hear about the times I met famous ABT dancers. I could tell you about the time I met Sascha Radetsky (Center Stage fans should be jealous), or that one day I ran into Misty Copeland in the stairwell, or the time that I swear Herman Cornejo walked past me in the hallway (yes, he is as amazing in person as he is in photos). But those things actually become a norm when you’re here. You think you’d be starstruck, which sometimes I am, but everyone makes you feel so welcome that it becomes a comfortable environment for you. Plus, there are simply so many more important things to tell you about.

 

As the Educational Outreach intern, I want to tell you about the experiences I have had with the children who participate in the different ABT programs. I’m an Arts Administration major at Rider University so I have taken classes in Education and Outreach. However, I didn’t quite understand how important outreach programs are until I saw them first-hand. My favourite part of my internship is when I have interaction with students, whether that means traveling to New York City public schools, or having on-site programs here at ABT.

 

When I’ve visited schools for Make A Ballet programs, I’ve helped with arts and craft classes and photographed their final performance. Watching the children dance in the Make A Ballet programs is such a heartwarming experience. Most of these students have never danced before, and here they are performing for their fellow classmates. The smile on their faces just says it all, and that’s when you start to realize how important outreach is. We all love this art form already, that’s why you’re here reading my blog. But imagine if you were never introduced to it. The work that American Ballet Theatre’s education department does is nothing short of incredible.

 

Walking into 890 Broadway, I don’t always know what to expect. Will there be a school here for a program? What projects will I be working on? All I know is the work that I do is meaningful and useful, and I am never stuck filing. The internship program here is a real program – they want you to learn! Whether I’m personally working on something, or simply sit in on a meeting about a particular project, I am always included in the conversation because they want me to learn the ins and outs of the education department.
This internship has confirmed what I want to do with my career in Arts Administration, and that’s all because of the incredible experiences and mentorship I’ve had here at ABT. Each day I learn so much and am so grateful to be here. American Ballet Theatre has a wonderful internship program, and I hope you have just as much of an amazing experience as I have!

Mia Bowyer

Educational Outreach Intern

Spring 2016

Trust the Timing: Artistic Internship

19 Jan

As the end of the summer was quickly approaching, I sat in my apartment and reflected upon all the change that was happening in my life; a new job, a new apartment, a new season. As I sit atop my foam roller wondering what else the universe had in store for me, I received a message on Facebook from a former ballet instructor, Lara Murphy. She asked how my time in New York had been, since I was now going on year three of post undergraduate life. After we caught up on life, she informed me that a friend of hers was looking for young people to do some administrative work at American Ballet Theatre as they develop their new Project Plié outreach program. I thought to myself, ‘another desk job?’ I had just began my career in group fitness and personal training, so I definitely wasn’t trying to return to long days of sitting in front of computers but something about the name ‘Project Plié’ sparked my interest.

After dong some research on the Project Plié program, “a comphrensive intiative to increase racial and ethnic representation in ballet and diversify America’s ballet companies,” I decided to apply. Within a few weeks I had interviewed with the Artistic Department, a place I’d soon find out was a new home, and was accepted into the internship program.

Interning with the Artistic Department has opened my eyes as a dancer. I have always only known one side of being in a dance company, so working with this department allowed me to see what all goes into running a company. I can honestly say that I will never question rehearsal times and spaces ever again. These past few months of creating rehearsal schedules for dancers, has been far from easy.   Along with creating and posting schedules, I was given the opportunity to see ABT quite a few times during their time at the Koch. The skills I learned and knowledge that I have gained from working closely with Tina Escoda and Amanda Sugino is beyond noteworthy.

Another part of this internship that I will forever cherish was the Project Plié mentorship lunches. These lunches not only nourished my body, but my mind as well. I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with almost all sides of ABT, from Ebonie Pittman (Manager of Institutional Support) and Ariel Dupas (Patron Ticketing Associate), to Courtney Lavine (Company Member), to Susan Fales-Hills (Former ABT Board Member). As much as I did not plan on enjoying sitting at a desk for hours on end, this internship has proven that everything happens for a reason and I am forever grateful for all that it has provided me.

Michelle Russell

Artistic Intern

Fall 2016

“Speedy”

19 Jan

Working at ABT for the past three months has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I began with little office experience and a moderate dance background – I’m leaving with a much greater knowledge about the administrative side of a dance company and with a greater knowledge of the dance world.

I have to thank my mentor, Meghan Love, for making my time at ABT so wonderful. She walked me through the various jobs I would be given over the course of my internships and knew that I would get the job done. I’m a very fast worker and have since earned the nickname “Speedy,” now a running joke between Meghan and I. I learned something new almost every single day of my internship, ranging from where to file incomes and expenses to creating certificates for the newly certified NYU students. I have become very familiar with the database of teachers, having gone through most teachers to update their information.

During this internship, I have also had amazing opportunities to meet and get to know the interns from Roundabout Theatre Company. As a theatre major, learning about this major company from people who work there was amazing. It was also great to be around other interns and learn about their future plans and we each got to show a bit of our world to each other. We were also able to have a backstage tour of the Metropolitan Opera House with ABT’s General Manager, David Lansky. It was incredible to stand on that stage and think about all of the famous singers, dancers, and actors who have stood there.

Working at ABT this fall has truly been a dream come true. This internship has taught me a lot and has given me experiences that I will never forget. I’m proud to be an intern at this amazing company. My time here has reminded me of my love for dance and I have fallen in love with it all over again. ABT, thank you so much for this extraordinary opportunity.

Abbie Levison

National Training Curriculum Intern

Fall 2016

It Takes Two to Tango: ABT’s Final 75th Anniversary Celebrations

7 Jan

As the Fall 2015 Special Events Intern at American Ballet Theatre I had the honor of working on two Special Events- the 75th Anniversary Fall Gala and the Holiday Benefit Performance. The 75th Anniversary Fall Gala was held on October 21, 2015 on the Promenade of the Koch Theater following the opening night of ABT’s Fall Season. The Holiday Benefit Performance was held on December 7, 2015 at the Beverly Hills Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. The Benefit was much smaller than the Fall Gala and featured a one night only performance featuring newly promoted Californian Principal Dancers, Stella Abrera and Misty Copeland.

As the intern it was my responsibility to track and keep all of these replies within our 2015 Fall Gala Event Binder. The intern is also in charge of maintaining and recording all expenses for the Gala, serving as the point person for all dancer and senior staff RSVPs, ordering all thank you flowers, candies, and letters, all in-house mailings, ordering and procuring awards, creating contact sheets, answering inquires in the special event email and voice mailbox, proofreading everything that comes from the special event office, and helping with daily tasks when needed.

You will learn a lot about development, event planning, the arts, and non-profits through this internship. You will leave your internship with a higher degree of skill and knowledge that is incomparable and incredibly valuable to this field. ABT is a large company but it is a family and everyone wants to help you succeed. Embrace your time here and learn as much as you can.

Tips:

  • Become friends with Vince! He will be your saving grace.
  • Bring a pair of flats with you always (you never know when you will have to carry cases of things up and down stairs).
  • If you want to learn about something, ask. They will make it happen.
  • There is always at least one dog at ABT daily, do not be alarmed.
  • If there is a party or gathering, go. Get to know your co-workers and peers. (You may also get to try one of David Lansky’s famous Margaritas and play “beach” volleyball in the studio).
  • Volunteer and sign up for anything and everything. This allows you to get to know members and donors.
  • Birthdays are big here, become a birthday person.
  • Seriously this goes a long way.
  • HAVE FUN!

Fallon Sullivan

Special Events Intern

Fall 2016

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    From L to R:  Grace Singleton, Fallon Sullivan, Kelli Dowling, Heather Hicks, Taylor Beck and Jamere Brown outside the Koch Theater at ABT’s 2015 Fall Gala

     

     

     

Everything Happens for a Reason

1 Jan

I’ll preface this by saying I’m not typically one to believe in the “everything happens for a reason” mantra. My journey to ABT however, can only be explained as such. Being from the DC metro area, I had first applied for a marketing internship with The Washington Ballet. I had my interview – my first interview ever – and didn’t feel so great about it so I started researching and applying for internships with practically any east coast ballet company that offered one. I applied to ABT and frankly, really didn’t expect anything to come of it – it felt too out of reach. I had first heard of the ABT internship program a few years prior through a girl who I had attended a previous summer intensive program with who, during her freshman or sophomore year at Duke, interned at ABT. Having just ended my dancing “career”, and having just started my freshman year of college as an arts administration major, I knew that at some point in the future, I wanted to apply. The time at which I applied for the internship however, did not feel like the “right” time. Low and behold, about three weeks or so later, I heard back from Washington Ballet that they had decided to go with someone else. The literal next day, I got an email from ABT asking to schedule an interview and for some reason, it then started to feel “right”, I had a good feeling about it for lack of a better explanation.

About a week or so later I got a call offering me the position and having told my mother, who I knew would first object due to the cost of living in NYC, that if I got it I was going whether I had to take out loans to pay for it myself or not, I accepted on the spot. Two weeks or so from then I was in New York apartment hunting with only a little over a week to go before my move in date. Upon signing the lease for a large walk-in closet sized apartment in Manhattan for an absurd price, I returned home eager for my first day at 890 Broadway. It seemed like it took months for this day to come but when it did, I instantly knew I would be happy here. First, as a former dancer, it was just an honor to be in the same building as some of the dancers I had admired for years, more less passing them in the hallways. Second, hearing the music from class and rehearsal made me feel like home and made working so much more enjoyable. Third, everyone in the office was so friendly and welcoming.

My first impression held true throughout the three months. I have loved every minutes of working here and only wish I were here longer. The membership department operates a bit as a family, all the love, dysfunction, and fun included. Although when I applied I listed membership as my second choice, I truly believe that in the end it was the right department for me. The work I did in the membership department ranged from working events, to entering data, to stuffing envelopes. The range of work allowed me to develop a diverse set of skills that I’m not sure another department would have allowed for.

Having gone into my internship with a specific interest in event planning, it came as no surprise that my favorite part of the job was getting to work the member events. As an extremely calm person, almost to a fault, it’s easy for me to remain calm in stressful and fast paced situations and I strangely enjoy the chaos of last minute setting up and running around to prepare. Then, working the actual event generally means there is some degree of participation, either through engaging in conversation at a cocktail party or watching a rehearsal during a studio visit, which I very much enjoyed.

Although not technically a member event, working fall gala was one of the highlights of the last three months. First, people watching as people entered the theatre was what I believe to be one of the greatest people watching spots in New York that night. Second, upon finishing our duties of directing people up to the gala dinner, we were able to attend the gala with our own little table on the second tier – the perfect spot to do some more aerial view people watching. After dinner, a few of us went down to the dance floor and danced the night away in our formal dresses. It was quite a night and one that I’ll never forget.

A second highlight of my time here was the annual holiday staff party. It was great to be able to mingle with everyone from every department, including the dancers, together. An awesome beach volleyball court had been set up in one of the studios and a lot of us from the membership department along with a few dancers, a few people from other departments and later on a group of JKO kids, played volleyball all night long. It was quite a laugh and so much fun. It was a great way to have some fun and to get a chance to hang out with everyone outside of work before the end of my internship.

In short, I loved practically every minute of being a membership intern at ABT. I had a great experience working for one of the top companies in the world and it was a true honor to get to play a part in the inner workings of it.

Taylor Beck

Membership Intern

Fall 2015

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