Submerged at the Met

27 Jun

Growing up with a strong passion for ballet, I could always rattle off a couple of beloved prima ballerinas, some classic ballets, maybe a male dancer or two, but I could never tell you what it takes for a full production to come to life. I’m currently in my fourth week of the ABT Internship Program, and already my knowledge of how a ballet company operates has increased significantly. At the beginning of the program, us interns suggested people within ABT that we would love to talk with during our weekly intern meetings. I opted for what I consider the unsung, and unseen, heroes of ABT: the music department. Always submerged beneath the stage, with the only clue being an occasional lock of white hair swaying wildly around in tempo, the ABT orchestra and its three conductors provide a vital component to a performance’s success.

Interns enjoying ABT Orchestra rehearsal of Sylvia

Interns enjoying ABT Orchestra rehearsal of Sylvia

On a beautiful Friday morning, we entered the dark abyss under the Metropolitan Opera House. After sitting in on an orchestra rehearsal for Sylvia, followed by a company class (read: jaw-dropping), we met with Charles Barker, the principal conductor for ABT. He talked about his background and the fortunate circumstances that led him to ABT, as well as letting us stand on the conductor podium in the Met and wildly wave our hands about like it was no big deal. His enthusiasm and love for ABT was evident and contagious. It is always inspiring to talk to someone that seems to truly love what they do everyday.

Interns with Conductor Charles Barker in Dressing Room

Interns with Conductor Charles Barker in Dressing Room

This trip to the Met was only one day in the internship, and it would be misleading to write that all we do is hang out at the Met and eat homemade chocolate with conductors. Outside of these excursions, I intern with Institutional Support within the Development Department, which focuses on private and government foundations, and corporations. The Development Department is a crucial arm of ABT that is in a constant cycle of grant proposals, gift acknowledgements, and further prospecting. Only four weeks in and I have already learned so much about the inner workings of ABT, but I’m sure there is still more to come.

Tara Collins

Institutional Support Intern

Summer 2013

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