Connecting People Through Ballet

24 May

When most people think of ballet, they think of the glitz and glamour, tutus and pointe shoes. Although these are all certainly components, there is so much more than meets the eye, especially working on the administrative side of a ballet company. The beauty onstage is not possible without the behind-the-scenes work from every dancer, choreographer and staff member in every department here. From my brief time interning in the Major Gifts office, I’ve gathered that ballet is much more than about just selling tickets to a performance. It is about relationship building and connecting many different types of people together with a stunning art form that transcends the ordinary and sparks joy.

Day in and out of the office I witnessed the enormous generosity that the donors have in ensuring the preservation and future of America’s national ballet company. Without people like them who care immensely about the company and art form, classical ballet wouldn’t be able to continue. I was fortunate enough to interact with a few of the donors at some of the special events I was staffed at and found kind people that were just as passionate and excited to talk about ballet as I was. A lot of my daily office work involved helping fulfill donor benefit requests such as ticketing services for the summer season at the Metropolitan Opera House or tracking RSVPS to special events.

The main events I got to work at were studio visits, an opportunity for donors and prospects to get an insider view of the company rehearsals for the Met season. It is a unique opportunity to witness just exactly how much hard work goes into a performance, especially since the final product looks effortless and pristine. Being so close to dancers running through difficult pieces and trying to perfect it is a fascinating and raw experience. It gives you an immense appreciation for the hours on end that dancers and the ballet masters put in to create beautiful performances; the dancers make mistakes, they get out of breath, they execute a perfect turn just to fall right out of one. They are imperfect just like the rest of us, so to see the journey these dancers take to get to that final product certainly reminds you of our shared humanity.

There were many noteworthy moments and events throughout the internship that I got to be a part of. Some of the highlights include the ABT/Hamilton cast party, being in the room while Twyla Tharp rehearsed In the Upper Room with dancers, seeing Blake Lively and her two daughters at an ABT Kids event, getting to dress up for the 2019 Spring Gala, and much more. I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience at ABT and value what I’ve learned and the people I’ve gotten to connect with through my time here-there is no better place to gain experience working for a world-class performing arts organization!

Alex Holmblad

Major Gifts Intern

Spring 2019

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