A Week in the Life of an ABT Education and Training Intern

3 Dec


The energy of the JKO students fills the air as they arrive at the Koch Theater for the Fall Gala. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the JKO School and the 75th Anniversary of ABT, the JKO students are opening the gala with a piece choreographed for them by Alexei Ratmansky, Pièce d’Occasion. With other current and former interns, I lead the students and their parents up the stairs to watch the dress rehearsal of the company’s pieces for the gala. Once everyone is in their seats, I sit down to watch the rehearsal of a brand new piece by Liam Scarlett, With a Chance of Rain. I’m captivated by the dancers and enjoy the opportunity to see the dance come together with the orchestra’s music. After the rehearsal is finished, I lead a group of anxious students to a hallway where they await their turn on the stage. The 140 students jump up and down, both to warm up their feet and try to rid themselves of their nerves. They have no reason to be nervous, however; their piece is beautiful and highlights their strong technique while evoking the speed with which childhood passes. Once they finish their rehearsal, we take the students through the maze-like hallways backstage to a studio downstairs until the performance begins. At 6:30, nerves abound as we lead the students back up to the wings of the stage, where they receive last-minute words of encouragement from Kevin McKenzie. After the piece has finished to enthusiastic applause, we make sure the students are checked out of the theater, before emerging from the stage door ourselves back into the reality of the outside world.


I’m back at Lincoln Center, this time as an audience member at a performance of Raymonda Divertissements, Jardin aux Lilas, and Fancy Free. Before the performance, the ABT interns met apprentices from the Roundabout Theatre Company for dinner and networking, discussing the similarities and differences between working at non-profit theatre and dance organizations. Now, sitting in the audience chatting with Roundabout apprentices before the curtain goes up, I find it hard to believe that last night I was backstage in the wings at this time; the two worlds seem so different. The performance is delightful, and I especially enjoy the chance to see Fancy Free, which I had been reading about a few weeks ago at the office as I helped make worksheets about Fancy Free for ABT’s Make a Ballet outreach program.


Today finds me at the office, and I have time to respond to a few emails before heading to the weekly intern meeting. Today we’re working on interview skills, and after discussing how to prepare for an interview and common questions asked, we launch into a game of “Interview Jeopardy.” Interns take turns selecting “Good,” “Bad,” or “Ugly” cards and responding to the questions they contain, which range from “Tell me about yourself” to “Why were you fired?” I’m unlucky enough to get two of the “ugliest” questions, but we all get a good laugh over them and learn how not to respond in awkward situations. After our meeting, I work on finishing up research sheets on influential people from the 1940s that students in the Make a Ballet program will study and use as inspiration for their own ballets. Once this is done, I create a flyer describing the internship program to be used at a career fair at NYU later in the day and work on updating the Intern Alumni Database that I recently created. Overall, it’s been an exciting week at ABT as the fall season began. I have learned so much already about arts administration and education and look forward to seeing what the rest of the semester holds.

Isabel McGrory-Klyza

Educational Outreach Intern

Fall 2014

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