Working in the JKO School and a whole lot more!

1 Jan

Like many little girls, I started dance classes at three years old. It quickly became my passion and I continued dancing through high school. Though I’ve had less time to dance since I started at Fordham University as a Communications Major last year, living in New York City has allowed me to stay connected to the dance world.

Knowing my love for dance, my boyfriend emailed me a link to apply for an intern position at ABT for Fall 2015. I immediately seized the chance to work behind the scenes at one of the most influential institutions in the world of the arts. I was offered a position as an intern at the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School in mid-August and can’t believe my four months have already expired.

The Education Department has a congenial atmosphere, and I’ve felt warmly welcomed since the first day. I enjoy interacting with the students of the ABT JKO School and their parents. It’s especially heartwarming to see the three year old pre-primary students excitedly twirl around the office before class wearing tiny ballet slippers and hair pulled back in a bun. I especially love sneaking a peak into the studios as the students and Company dancers rehearse—their talent is astounding and I reminisce over my dancing days.

Much of my work is very hands-on: I’ll fix students’ hair just before class, sell uniforms and boutique merchandise, organize new inventory, and run up and down the stairs escorting young students to their class. My first day on the job involved helping JKO School manager Katie Ferris prep the studios the day before classes began. I marveled at ABT’s nine spacious studios where principal dancers and pre-primary students alike meet for class while we rearranged barres, mirrors, and chairs—by the end we had worked up a sweat!

In addition, I handle some of the school’s files. I review class observation forms, behavior charts, and attendance. Interning in the Education department has provided me with insight into how much legwork (pun intended) it takes to operate one of the most prestigious ballet schools in the country. Unpredictable situations often arise, and

I’ve been happy to complete the daily administrative tasks that save my mentor, JKO School Director Rebecca Schwartz, the time to focus on more pressing matters.

Finally, I was also given the chance to attend several exciting events through ABT, such as a premiere of Misty Copeland’s new documentary, a Studio Company performance at the Young People’s Ballet Workshop, the Broadway show Old Times, and performances of the ABT fall season at the Koch Theater. I’m thankful for the opportunity to work at an institution that fosters a passion for ballet in all participants, from audience members to dancers to employees and all the way down to its littlest students.

Delia Brengel

Training Programs Intern

Fall 2015


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