Major Gifts and Backstage Trips

7 Aug
Downstage Center at the Metropolitan Opera House

Downstage Center at the Metropolitan Opera House

As this summer’s Major Gifts intern at ABT, I have had the pleasure of working alongside the wonderful Patrick Galvin, ABT’s Assistant Manager of Major Gifts.  I spend most days writing personalized gift-acknowledgement letters to some of ABT’s most important individual donors, processing mailings, and running errands all around Union Square.  Over the past six weeks, I have come to realize how crucial high-level individual donors are for the success of such a large, multifaceted arts organization.  ABT relies on many sources of support, including foundation grants and ticket sales, but most of their impressive shows could not take place without some generous individuals underwriting each production.

To thank the underwriters of Alexei Ratmansky’s triumphant Shostakovich Trilogy, Patrick and I decided to give them framed Playbills and photographs from the premiere performance.  I matted and framed sixteen Playbills (signed by Alexei!) and sixteen photographs of ABT Principal Dancer David Hallberg.  The gifts were either hand-delivered or FedExed to the underwriters’ homes.  It was so gratifying to hear about the excited responses from the recipients!

One of the photos of David Hallberg that I framed and matted (Don't mind the flash!)

One of the photos of David Hallberg that I framed and matted (Don’t mind the flash!)

The ABT internship program comes with many perks, including complimentary tickets to ABT shows and opportunities to meet interns at other arts organizations.  Recently, we all joined the Roundabout Theatre Company’s summer interns for a trip to the Met to watch the classic ballet The Sleeping Beauty.  David Lansky, ABT’s General Manager, met up with the group and described the complex process of arranging and scheduling ABT’s international tours.  ABT tours annually in locations as diverse as Beijing and Barcelona, and the company’s first-ever trip to Abu Dhabi is on the horizon!  David then took us all on a backstage tour of the Met.  We saw the dancers’ quick-change stations, racks of beautiful (and heavy!) costumes, hundreds of props, and massive set pieces.  It was incredible to view the iconic Metropolitan Opera House from the stage; I can’t imagine how it must feel to take a bow in front of 4,000 audience members!

A view from the wings

A view from the wings

ABT General Manager David Lansky describing a typical Corps de Ballet tutu.

ABT General Manager David Lansky describing a typical Corps de Ballet tutu.

Mikaela Sanders

Major Gifts Intern

Summer 2013

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