If You’re Well, I’m Well

23 Nov

Spending time with the JKO School Children’s Division has taught me the value of engagement, wellness, and community in the world of dance. Although I revered the company and school prior to my internship, I’m leaving with more admiration than before.

I was the administrator for several Zoom classes every week, so I got to experience the classes firsthand. The faculty and staff work extremely hard at keeping students engaged and well. Many faculty begin their classes with saying hello, asking kids about good things that happened that week, and making sure their dance space is set up and safe. Throughout the class, faculty “spotlight” kids in Zoom to encourage them and complement their dancing. Every student has a chance to demonstrate as well. This keeps students engaged and excited about their dancing- they want to be spotlighted! Structure and curriculum are also very important, for the faculty want them to be ready for whenever they return to in-person classes.

Wellness is also a priority. JKO cares about each individual student, and they are quick to meet with students, encourage them, and help them through struggles and circumstances that are a consequence of the pandemic. One of my favorite experiences was moderating lectures in conjunction with Harkness Center for Dance Injuries. Throughout the semester one-hour seminars would be held from Harkness, and these workshops were aimed at promoting physical and mental wellness in the community. They had a positive and healthy quality and addressed crucial topics: the dangers of going on pointe too early, specific health issues for female athletes and how to avoid them, and (actually) healthy mindsets when it comes to eating. It is so important to teach these things to ballet students at a young age, so I was happy to be a part of these workshops.

Finally, as an intern with the JKO School, I got to help create community in a time when it is more difficult than usual. The other JKO intern and I would edit pre-filmed ABTots classes for Instagram so young children could take a free class every week- complete with a story and a craft. We also made a student directory so families could connect remotely. Every week, the JKO Children’s Division staff, interns, and some faculty would meet to discuss logistics and how we could make the semester better for individual students and the division as a whole. In these meetings, I learned how ABT had promoted wellness for dancers in the past and how they strive to do it now in the pandemic.

My internship was a very enjoyable and educational experience. ABT is a positive place and I loved interning with them!

Morgan McIntosh

JKO School Education Intern

Fall 2020

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