Working with Superhumans

5 Aug

Before this summer, all I really knew about ballet was that the ballerinas danced on pointe, they wore tutus, and that Natalie Portman played a one in a movie that left me quite a bit spooked.

So, if you had told me two months ago that I’d spend my summer backstage at the Met with ABT, I would have looked at you like you were from a different planet.

I came to ABT with an arts background, from participating in summer camp theater to currently singing in a collegiate a cappella group. Despite my experience with the performing arts, ballet had always seemed to exist on another plane of existence; free of the imperfections (and voice cracks) that define a singer’s experience, the dancers were always perfectly poised, always using their bodies to convey the passion which they emoted with every single fiber of their being. Every performance was a masterpiece, a journey to a different world.

And frankly, this world terrified me. How could I, an anxious singer who could barely walk down the sidewalk without tripping, exist in the same place as these graceful, powerful, superhumans? I quickly realized that what I had seen on stage is only really one part of the village that it takes to produce a performance at The American Ballet Theatre. There were the folks in artistic department, development, education, membership, and so much more. And there was me, speed-walking around the Met in order to make sure everything was taken care of.

Working for the executive office as the Spring Season Intern, I learned to develop a schedule, a rhythm for which I would operate in this foreign world. I learned to spot a guest in Orchestra Row N from the back of the house. I learned every inch of the Metropolitan Opera House. I learned the best way to guide guests from the Parterre level to the Belmont Room. And most importantly, I learned every single usher’s name (well…almost).

Before I knew it, I’m backstage, watching every dancer spin faster and faster in their different interpretations of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake; I’m noticing the nuance that each one brings to the role, the slight artistic liberties that each individual took to make it their own. I’m seeing the dancers catch their breath backstage, popping jolly ranchers for a quick sugar boost and resin for some more pointe shoe resistance. And I realize – this distant, perfect world, this world of ballet, is no less foreign or imperfect than the world of singing with which I am familiar. At the end of the day, it takes a village to produce a work of art, to put on something as massive and beautiful as what ABT puts on stage.

To have worked in such an amazing place, with such fantastic people, has been an absolute pleasure. This incredible company has welcomed me into the world of ballet, and I could not be more thrilled and appreciative. I’ve learned so incredibly much during my few short months here, and you can be absolutely certain that you’ll see me at the next ABT performance, for the dancers and the company that makes it happen, cheering them on with all of my heart.

Danny Fier

Executive Office Intern

Summer 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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