It’s the Small Stuff: A Semester with ABT

21 Jun

We’re always told not to sweat the small stuff, and while I agree with this when it comes to feeling bad about not holding the door open for someone or the typo in the email you sent to your professor, sometimes I think it’s important to sweat the small stuff. 

This semester interning with American Ballet Theatre has given me an insider’s look into America’s National Ballet Company® in a way I never could’ve expected a year ago. Pre-pandemic, as a student at Syracuse University, if I wanted to intern with a company based out of New York City, I had to be in New York City. But with the world of remote work being what it is now, I got the fantastic opportunity to work with ABT right from my apartment on Euclid Ave in Syracuse, NY. 

Yes, being a remote worker has its challenges, but for me, I’ve chosen to relish in all the small things – having Diva, the piccolo player, recognize your face on Zoom, seeing the edit you made make it into the press release or being invited to that extra meeting on a Monday afternoon.

The grammatical nerd in me also loves that American Ballet Theatre does not use “the” before its name. It is not theAmerican Ballet Theatre, just American Ballet Theatre. This level of detail is the kind of small stuff I love sweating because it shows that a word as small as “the” can make such a difference when it comes to company identity and brand consistency. 

When it comes to my intern responsibilities, I had a healthy balance between the small stuff and the big stuff – “stuff” being the nontechnical term, of course. This “small stuff” included press clippings and sending out a weekly newsletter with that week’s press mentions. And while I may have enjoyed the more substantial and comprehensive projects a little more, I recognize that even with the small stuff it is important to put my best foot forward. Being able to complete the small stuff effectively and efficiently takes something off my supervisor’s plate and establishes me as a valuable asset to the team. As a student, just under a year out from graduating, this lesson is one I will take with me from here on out. 

And having put the work into the small stuff, when rewarded for the big stuff, it is all worth it, everything seems to fall into place. For instance, after writing a blog post about International Women’s Day for ABT’s Sidebarre, I received a shoutout in the company-wide Friday email. This email landed in my inbox directly next to the press mentions newsletter that I had just sent out myself. It all just fit together. 

To end, I would argue ABT also sweats the small stuff. Being an intern for the span of four short months – I was small stuff. Even so, my mentors (shoutout Delia!!), team and cohort provided me with a fantastic semester where I learned lots and was given the chance to work in an area I am passionate about. Here’s to sweating the small stuff and turning it into big opportunities!

Samantha Aaronson

Press Intern

Spring 2021

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