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


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.


  • 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.

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

Working in the JKO School and a whole lot more!

1 Jan

Like many little girls, I started dance classes at three years old. It quickly became my passion and I continued dancing through high school. Though I’ve had less time to dance since I started at Fordham University as a Communications Major last year, living in New York City has allowed me to stay connected to the dance world.

Knowing my love for dance, my boyfriend emailed me a link to apply for an intern position at ABT for Fall 2015. I immediately seized the chance to work behind the scenes at one of the most influential institutions in the world of the arts. I was offered a position as an intern at the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School in mid-August and can’t believe my four months have already expired.

The Education Department has a congenial atmosphere, and I’ve felt warmly welcomed since the first day. I enjoy interacting with the students of the ABT JKO School and their parents. It’s especially heartwarming to see the three year old pre-primary students excitedly twirl around the office before class wearing tiny ballet slippers and hair pulled back in a bun. I especially love sneaking a peak into the studios as the students and Company dancers rehearse—their talent is astounding and I reminisce over my dancing days.

Much of my work is very hands-on: I’ll fix students’ hair just before class, sell uniforms and boutique merchandise, organize new inventory, and run up and down the stairs escorting young students to their class. My first day on the job involved helping JKO School manager Katie Ferris prep the studios the day before classes began. I marveled at ABT’s nine spacious studios where principal dancers and pre-primary students alike meet for class while we rearranged barres, mirrors, and chairs—by the end we had worked up a sweat!

In addition, I handle some of the school’s files. I review class observation forms, behavior charts, and attendance. Interning in the Education department has provided me with insight into how much legwork (pun intended) it takes to operate one of the most prestigious ballet schools in the country. Unpredictable situations often arise, and

I’ve been happy to complete the daily administrative tasks that save my mentor, JKO School Director Rebecca Schwartz, the time to focus on more pressing matters.

Finally, I was also given the chance to attend several exciting events through ABT, such as a premiere of Misty Copeland’s new documentary, a Studio Company performance at the Young People’s Ballet Workshop, the Broadway show Old Times, and performances of the ABT fall season at the Koch Theater. I’m thankful for the opportunity to work at an institution that fosters a passion for ballet in all participants, from audience members to dancers to employees and all the way down to its littlest students.

Delia Brengel

Training Programs Intern

Fall 2015


ABT Experience 8000 miles away from home!

18 Dec

In the summer of 2015, my search for my fall semester internship began. I was entering my second year in Performing Arts Administration at NYU Steinhardt. My goal was to secure an internship at a ballet company, and what better name is there in the world of ballet than the American Ballet Theatre. I applied online like a hundred other applicants that apply to ABT from all over the world. Being relatively new in the country, I didn’t expect to make the cut. One morning as I was sipping a cup of tea, Dennis called, asking me to come in for an interview. I was ecstatic that I was even being considered, so you can imagine my joy when I actually secured an internship in the Education and Training department of ABT. Interning at ABT meant I would be involved in some way with performers I had seen only on TV back in India. How star-struck was I, when I got to meet Ethan Stiefel on my very first day! Meeting everyone else, I just knew I was going to get an opportunity to learn from the best people in the business and witness, first-hand, all their efforts in making ABT the well-oiled machine that it is.


I got the chance to work on different programs throughout my internship period such as ABT’s Make a Ballet program at P.S. 20 and the Young People’s Ballet Workshop at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. When I was not working on these programs I got a chance to create a school database, which consisted of schools participating in ABT’s Educational Outreach programs. I would say the most important program in ABT’s education and outreach initiatives is its award-winning Make a Ballet program. It reaches out to schools that are in the need to and want to introduce arts education in their curriculum. This model program introduces students to all aspects of the creative and administrative theatrical experience.


Working at ABT and experiencing the office environment at one of the best ballet companies in the world was a dream come true for me. Completing my credit requirement at NYU was only an added benefit for me. I would do it all over again if I get the opportunity. Thank you Dennis and all the staff members.


Sanket Kodolikar


Education and Training Intern


Fall 2015

An Office that Feels Like Family

18 Dec

When I had my first day as an intern at ABT, I wasn’t sure what my experience was going to be like. My interview had been conducted by phone, and so I only had what my friends and classmates in the NYU Performing Arts Administration program had told me about their experiences at ABT. So I really didn’t know what I was walking into on that first day.


I immediately felt welcomed by Jon, Diane, and Emily in Major Gifts, and during my time working with them they made me feel comfortable and like a valued member of the major gifts office. In fact, the entire development department was a fun and welcoming place to work. We celebrated birthdays, chatted about life, and worked Fall Season events together.


My favorite part of working in Major Gifts was learning about not only the administrative side of major donors and individual giving, but the cultivation side of it as well. I had several opportunities to interact with donors through the execution of major donor events as well as accompanying donors to rehearsals and classes in the studio. Having the chance to connect with donors and see firsthand their love for the Company was extremely rewarding. My time at ABT has been so valuable to my growth in arts administration and I will miss working with the Jon, Diane, and Emily.


Kelli Dowling

Major Gifts Intern

Fall 2015


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