“Center Stage” in Real Life

24 May

When I was offered the position to be an intern with the National Training Curriculum at American Ballet Theatre, I had absolutely no idea what I had accepted. I just knew that ABT wanted me and the answer was YES! How I stubbled upon what would become my future relationship with ABT was honestly right place, right time. I’ve always appreciated ballet and those who had a gift for it, but I consider myself to be more modern/contemporary based. My college sent an email to all students with an offer, Raymond Lukens would be coming to Adelphi University to offer us an audition to their Collegiate Summer Intensive for that year. I laughed at the idea of me doing ballet for the summer, especially on pointe, but when the day of the audition came, I decided to take the class because it would be auditioning experience. My classmates were shocked when they saw me with all the ballet dancers in the department taking Raymond’s audition class. I knew, even if I was to be accepted, I’d never go out of fear. The day did come when I got the acceptance email, and due to encouragement from my professors I accepted and prepared for a summer on pointe. Towards the end of the intensive, some collegiate students were asked to volunteer for a workshop called ABTKids that was run by Dennis Walters and Richard Toda. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the environment that ABT created, not to mention how kind they were with the compensation of tickets to see two upcoming performances! I emailed Dennis after the event and told him I’d be interested in continuing to work with ABT through an internship, in the education department and that was the start of it all.

When I arrived for orientation, I expected a briefing of our roles and duties as interns as well as a possible tour, but what I ended with was so much more. In around 2 hours I had already met some incredible interns as well as witness my favorite movie unfold before my very eyes. I certainly was not expecting to see Ethan Stiefel and Sascha Radetsky on a nearly weekly basis from my cubicle. Not to mention bumping into ABT principal dancer Stella Abrera in the bathroom on my first day! That was already pretty unbelievable, but the internship program has offered so many amazing opportunities and connection throughout this semester. I am so disappointed I had class on Fridays and wasn’t able to attend most meeting and workshops, but I am extremely grateful for the few that I did get to attend. I was able to stand humble on the Metropolitan Opera House stage that has been graced by the best of the best performers. I was go on an eye-opening backstage tour of the Met before Harlequinade,as well as enjoy the show with my very own guest. Recently, I was also able to attend the Spring Met Gala that ABT hosts and oh my word, if you are a fashion lover that was the place to be. I was able to witness some of the most incredible designs, fabrics, and materials on ABT’s very own, as well as guests that included celebrities like Alec Baldwin and Katie Holmes.

My most favorite experience thus far has definitely been the training session held at ABT for the National Training Curriculum. That was when I physically saw all the work the NTC department come to fruition. I met and spoke with the future certified teachers, and was able to listen in on some of their sessions as well as observe some of the JKO student classes. It was so wonderful to learn from Franco De Vita and Raymond Lukens on ABT’s training curriculum in their class and have the ability to relate it to some of the classes I’ve taken at ABT or with ABT certified teachers. I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity to completely be immersed in a world that revolved around dancing, but didn’t involve us actually dancing. I’m so grateful for the skills that I’ve acquired here (I am now a certified professional in Microsoft Excel and FileMaker Pro *most up-to-date version*), and for the time that I have spent learning about my mentor, Sonia Jones, and the NTC department on a personal and professional level. No matter what you came into this program looking for, you will leave with new knowledge that will be invaluable to you for the future. 10/10 would recommend.

Pamyla Cummings

NTC Intern

Spring 2019

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