Halloween at ABT

7 Nov

After dancing professionally for Ailey II, the sister company of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, I began to develop an interest for arts administration in the nonprofit sector. I began to think of ways to transition my career off the stage to one day running a dance nonprofit. In this way I would be able to pursue my two passions of dance and giving back to the community. This pursuit led me to Columbia University where I enrolled in the Fall of 2017 to pursue a degree in Nonprofit Management. In retrospect, I had attended the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive in 2006 during my earlier days in Ballet and somehow felt that it was not my last visit at 890 Broadway. So, after learning about ABT’s internship program and realizing that this would be a great asset in my education, I applied and was thrilled when I received a phone call from Dennis Walters, the Associate Director of Education and Training who offered an internship position for Fall 2017.

My first task was to assist Mr. Walters and ABT Teaching Artists at PS 261K with their Make a Ballet program. The experience gained by interacting with the public school students was truly rewarding and enjoyable, especially witnessing how ABT outreach programs were enabling students to develop their execution and appreciation for ballet. Seeing first-hand the benefits of educational outreach helped to solidify my desire to one-day work in education outreach, which further ignited my passion for arts education. My other tasks consisted of organizing the intern binders, updating programs, making IDs for the full staff, and attending educational program events. I really enjoyed participating in the meetings with my co-workers, Dennis, Amanda, and Richard because I learned first-hand the type of work that is required to successfully manage educational programs.

Intern meetings are held every Friday where we all convene and listen to an employee of ABT speaking about their responsibilities, challenges, and successes at ABT. I have learned to appreciate what it takes to be a company manager, how to write grants, enhance a resume, and how to write a proper cover letter. I particularly found the latter to be beneficial for me when I begin to seek employment after graduation. On October 20th, several interns and I attended ABT’s Koch Theater season. I was able to invite my aunt to see the company and we sat in the orchestra seats two seats away from the Artistic Director, Kevin McKenzie.

I also had the opportunity to work at the Lincoln Center Halloween Event on October 28th where I assisted in the setup of the ABT section and passed out candy to children while informing their parents of the upcoming ABTKids family-friendly performance. Seeing the joy on the children’s faces when I passed them a sticker saying “I am an ABT kid” was gratifying. The use of this simple sticker showcased ABT and served as a great marketing tool.

In conclusion, I enjoy working in the education department because everyone is welcoming and friendly. By the mere presence of Kate Lydon in the office, who was my repertory teacher in 2006, and chatting with Sascha Radetsky a former ABT Soloist who I watched growing up, and simply walking through the corridors of the building have come full circle for me. I admire the dedication and the hard work conducted by all departments that have contributed to make ABT the company that it is today. I am extremely thankful for what I have learned at ABT and I cannot wait to implement the knowledge gained into the nonprofit world!

Annellyse Munroe

Education and Training Intern

Fall 2017

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