Exploring the Ballet World Behind the Scenes

31 Dec

With its mission to bring American dance to the world, ABT travels to foreign countries every year and receives warm welcomes and thunderous applause at the various venues. But, what are the elements that support such successful tours and how to compensate the quite high travel expenses? The answer mainly lies on ticket sales revenue from ABT’s Fall and Spring seasons in New York City. Therefore, managing single tickets and subscriptions for the New York seasons is a great chance for membership interns to explore the world of ABT, as ticketing plays an important role in supporting the company’s development.

Learning how to use Raiser’s Edge is the first step in exploring the “Non-Profit” world. I was taught where to insert ticket information and how to merge numerous acknowledgement letters in the database. When receiving actual tickets from The Koch Theater or BAM, I have to make sure all single ticket information in properly entered into the database. This includes performance times, ticket quantities, total price and seat sections.   In addition I have to make sure everything is perfectly matched with the information on the actual tickets. Unlike single ticket orders, subscriptions could only be purchased for the Metropolitan Opera House season (spring season) each year. The long order sheets not only contain subscription details such as performance series, total prices, as well as patrons’ requirements to REMAIN, CHANGE, DELETE, or IMPROVE their previous seats. In order to keep received subscriptions in good order, the ticketing associate and I worked together to create several folders labeled by ‘receive today’ ‘in progress’ ‘done’ to distinguish those orders. Additionally, for documents in the ‘done’ folder, I was able to separate them in two piles: straight renewal and renewal with changes, so that the ticketing associate would find it easier to manage them.

During fall season, I was responsible for setting up and managing the membership table at Koch Theater. Each day I set up brochures, posters, dancers’ pictures and a DVD player 45 minutes before the performances start. During the intermission, my assignment was to chat with audience members who showed great interest in ABT and introduce them to more information regarding becoming a member. In the event I met someone that was already a member above the golden circle level, I would direct him/her to the patron lounge for snacks and drinks.

The whole internship experience at ABT not only made my dreams come true as a ballet fan, but also gave me lots of opportunities to improve my skills, from database to communication as well as organization skills. This experience taught me how to be a reliable member of the team and be the boss of my own projects. Most important, I obtained clearer insight on future career development.

Sha Li

Membership Intern

Fall 2014

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