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.