NYC Crash Course

8 Dec

This week marks my last week as an intern in ABT’s Institutional Support Department. I am still looking forward to the last weekly meeting with Dennis Walters who is the Associate Director of Education and Training and the other interns, as well as ABT’s Executive Director, Kara Barnett. I will also close out this experience with an 80’s themed Holiday party this Friday!

Coming from my hometown of Arlington, TX to New York City for three months for this internship has been a crash course to say the least; a crash course in NYC living, non-profit organizations, and professional life as a whole. My supervisor Ebonie Pittman, the Associate Director of Institutional Support and Special Campaigns, has introduced me to the opportunity of supporting this over 40 million dollar organization by soliciting donations and grants through formal requests and networking. It is empowering to fundraise for a non-profit with a mission that aligns with mine, sharing the both historic and progressive aspects of dance and fine arts to a broad audience, especially those who may not otherwise have had access to it. (Shoutout to Project Plié, ABT’s diversity initiative.) I am looking forward to transferring the skills I’ve gained to future opportunities and hopefully being able to help financially support myself and my peers who are starting small dance companies and arts organizations with impactful missions.

I have a deep love for travel and did not expect such a cultural shock by moving to NYC this fall. Throughout my recent four years at Howard University, I became familiar with public transportation by living in Washington, DC and studying abroad in Paris, France for a semester in 2016. However, the New York City Metro is a whole different beast. The fast pace of everything and the high volume of people (and dogs in sweaters) was more than I could expect, but I love the fact that there is always something to do in the city that truly never sleeps. I can always catch a late night train or dance class. There is always something new to experience and someone new to meet.

Working in an office like ABT has shown me how fun professional life could be. While I’ve grown up as an aspiring dancer thinking being a professional in an office environment would be boring and draining, I have learned this fall about the potential that working in the right office environment can give. Taking on new projects, challenging oneself, helping create and facilitate exciting events, working with a determined team toward a common goal, and seeing the direct impact of positive work makes me eager to find my next professional opportunity. (My new requirement = a dog-friendly office) I also got to see all the work that goes behind the scenes of creative endeavors like dance companies from the important team that finds the funding for tours and galas to the teams that ensure that an audience will show up through marketing and membership. There as so many individuals working their hardest to ensure that Misty Copeland can fouetté on stages in Hong Kong or Detroit.

After three months in New York City, I am ready to return to the notably slower paced Dallas-Fort Worth area to celebrate the holidays and prepare for my next endeavor. This NYC crash course has prepared me for whatever my next step is, whether it is continuing to build my dance career, finding a new city to explore, using my new skills to support my entrepreneurial goals, helping another mission oriented organization in a creative office environment, or hopefully a good mix of everything. I am grateful to have gotten to experience New York and ABT over the past few months. From watching World Premieres from this year’s fall season shows to meeting the principal dancers and every staff member, it has been a wonderful experience. I am glad I’ve been able to use my love for dance and writing to support ABT for this short period of time!

Reya Roussel

Institutional Support Intern

Fall 2018


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