Law Meets Ballet

29 Jul

I’ve thought about what to write all summer for this post, and I simply cannot find a way to accurately distill this summer into a single blog post. But, here’s my attempt.

I am a ballet dancer and a third year law student at UCLA Law, and as such I took this internship to learn how to fuse my two major interests together.  I thought this opportunity would allow me to better understand how a major ballet company operates.  What I couldn’t anticipate was exactly how much exposure I would get to the different departments.  I was able to meet with and learn from several department heads in part because I took the initiative to approach these people and volunteer to help, but also because ABT has structured the internship to expose its interns to the various arms of ABT.  In addition to working and attending shows, we had weekly intern meetings on Fridays with guest speakers including the Senior Director of Finance, Company Management, and the Executive Director.

As wonderful as working and watching all the different shows (Tharp Trio, Jane Eyre, Le Corsaire, Manon, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty) was, the highlights of my summer come from the projects I got to work on. In Development I was responsible for a lot of prospect research.  I was trained to use Raiser’s Edge.  I wrote both an obituary and a new baby announcement (though not strictly Development, I suppose these fell under “other tasks as assigned by management?”).  I consolidated department calendars into a single mega-calendar for executive staff.  I cultivated relationships with prospective donors and Holiday Benefit attendees based in California.  I sat in on and actively participated in Development’s Met Season Debrief meeting, which really added to the sense that ABT really cares about its interns and values their insight.

From the interview process through the end of my internship I also made sure everyone knew exactly what I wanted to do with my career, and everyone at ABT understood, supported, and helped me craft a summer experience to get me closer to that goal.  My boss, ABT’s Chief Philanthropy Officer, gave me interesting projects to work on, but she also gave me the freedom to explore my professional interests; the result is that I got to work together with ABT’s Associate Director of Institutional Support and ABT’s Chief Administrative Officer to create a curriculum for a workshop that is exactly in line with what I aspire to teach someday at a BFA program or law school.  Working with the Chief Administrative Officer (who doubles as ABT’s in house lawyer) also opened my mind to the legal issues a dance company faces.  Additionally, I scheduled a meeting with ABT’s General Manager to discuss how he negotiates contracts between the company and it’s choreographers, employees, and the employees’ unions.

Exploring these departments showed me there is a market for fusing law and dance, and I am so glad I came to New York to work for ABT. While I only have one week left at ABT, I know this isn’t really goodbye; I will always be a part of this wild, whacky, fun family whether that’s as a California contact, employee, donor, or simply a ticket buyer supporting America’s National Ballet Company®. The internship is what you make it, and I made it pretty great!

PS: While writing this I also found out ABT lists their interns’ names on their staff page at abt.org and wow! This is exactly I’m talking about; the interns are celebrated here and as an intern you will never be overlooked or dismissed. You’re family.

 

Conor Gómez

Development Intern/Project Plié Scholarship Recipient

Summer 2019

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