My time at ABT was a dream come true. Growing up in dance, I had a built-in appreciation for the arts, but never truly knew all that went on behind the scenes until I had the chance to work with the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. As the JKO School Intern, I assisted the directors of the JKO School, including both the Children’s Division and the Pre-Professional Division, while interacting and helping the children and parents of the school.
The Education Department is a close-knit family, and I was thrilled to be taken under their wing. Besides valuable training, I gained friendships that will last a lifetime. Whether it was helping with quick changes backstage, taking pictures, or making ID cards for the dancers, I learned so much throughout my internship. Most importantly, I soon learned one must always be on their toes at the JKO School, as there was always something exciting going on with over 300 students in the school.
While I improved in many skills this semester, I also added some new skills to my skill set. Who knew I would become an expert at painting ballet shoes? Yes, that’s right! Two days before the Young People’s Ballet Workshop, the Studio Company needed help preparing for their performance. My mentor graciously offered to let me pull costumes and props together for the show. However, someone needed to paint the ballet shoes. I had done it before, so I offered to help! It was a really fun experience, but also extremely helpful for the rest of the Education Department and dancers. A couple days later when I had the privilege of helping at the show, I had a feeling of pride seeing all the shoes I painted, onstage!
I also learned that I am a very good dragon. ABT partook in the Lincoln Center Halloween Party, and instead of passing out ABT bookmarks and candy, I was privileged to dress up as Jackie, the JKO School Mascot. At the time, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but it ended up being a blast! Jackie was a hit and kids were thrilled to meet a “real dragon.” One mom even handed me her baby! I can now add “dragon master” to my resume. Nevertheless, it was a great memory, and I joined an elite group of people who have worn that dragon costume including Ethan Stiefel and Gillian Murphy.
These are just a few of my many great memories while at ABT. I will forever be thankful to the JKO School and the Education Department for allowing me a place in their family. I have so much appreciation and respect for what they do to promote ABT and carry on traditions to the next generation of dance. This semester flew by, but the memories will last forever. Thanks, ABT!