Testimony of a Duo-Department Intern

25 Jul

By Alexis Stanley, Education and Artistic Intern

Hello potential ABT intern applicants! My name is Alexis Stanley, and I am a rising sophomore at Duke University. Having developed a passion for ballet since I began dancing, I applied to ABT’s Internship Program in order to gain a greater understanding of the administrative and interdepartmental aspects of running a non-profit dance organization. Now nearing the end of my third month interning with ABT, I could not be happier I chose this program to help me gain the background necessary for pursuing a career in arts administration.

As an intern with both Education and Artistic, I have had the opportunity to see how ABT operates on several levels, from the professional company to the educational outreach programs designed for ABT’s youngest audience members. In a typical week during ABT’s busy 2012 season at the Metropolitan Opera House, I spent two days interning with Artistic’s Cristina Escoda (Artistic Administrator), Miki Shintani (Rehearsal Coordinator), and Amanda Sugino (Assistant to the Artistic Staff) in the green room of the Met, and four or five days with Education’s Dennis Walters (Director of Educational Outreach), Kevin Edwards (Manager of School Programs), and Steven Kaplan (Education Coordinator) at ABT’s 890 Broadway location. Now that the company’s Met Season is over, I spend all of my time with Education and will continue to do so until the end of this internship semester.

As an Artistic Intern, my primary tasks included verifying the dancers’ timecards with rehearsal schedules and casting “basics” and calculating dancer payroll (overtime/penalty) for rehearsal and performance days. Often I was given the opportunity to watch rehearsals, see performances, and meet the dancers and other members of the Artistic staff—all while experiencing firsthand the day-to-day triumphs and occasional challenges of working with a professional ballet company. Of course, not a day went by when I didn’t feel star-struck walking through the Met’s backstage and being in contact with the dancers and administrators I have revered since entering the world of dance.

With Education, I have become involved in a medley of tasks and projects which have ranged from updating department filing and working in the Pointe Shoe Store to creating a new costume inventory database for ABT’s outreach programs. Earlier in the semester, I also had the chance to use my creative skills by preparing activity stations for Pre-Performance Workshops (my personal favorite: an A Midsummer Night’s Dream-themed hockey game!) and serving as a teaching artist assistant for events with young dancers. Recently I have been working closely with Kevin Edwards on creating a new intern/personnel database and with Steven Kaplan on archiving videos of ABT’s Summer Intensive performances. And to top it all off, Kiley Griffith (a fellow Education intern) and I have just begun a new project of taking inventory of the huge collection of costumes located in Education’s various back rooms.

Whew! It certainly is turning out to be a busy summer here at ABT, but I confidently can say that I would not trade my time here for anything. I’m sure my fellow interns would agree that if you are looking for a rewarding hands-on experience in arts administration, ABT is a great place to be!

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