Following ABT Across America as a Press Intern

24 Jul

While 20 American Ballet Theatre dancers and 28 staff crew drove across the country for ABT Across America, I had an opportunity to follow the journey by piecing together the press of the tour. Each week I compiled a variety of press clips to send off to the ABT community, a small but fulfilling task knowing the newsletter would soon be delivered to dancers, staff, and board members. During the three weeks of ABT Across America, most of the circulating press focused on the tour. With an acceleration of blogs, magazines, news channels, and podcasts highlighting the tour, I began to see how to process of press brought the whole thing together.

While the first stop in Lincoln, Nebraska began on July 1st, the Press team had begun planning much earlier. Even before I was welcomed in this summer, the team was reaching out to outlets both national and local to cover stories on the tour. The unique performances could be pitched in different ways, from a style story to a travel blog. No matter the angle, the concept of a cross-country ballet tour on a stage converted from an 18-wheeler truck made for a great story. I had the opportunity to pitch multiple travel blogs about the tour, and ultimately learned the satisfaction of receiving one response among many attempted pitches. Persistence is key.  I watched the press unfold from the calendar announcements to broadcasters highlighting the growing crowds, and finally to the glowing reviews that applauded ABT’s successful performance. From start to finish, ABT Across America’s opening night was highly anticipated and victoriously carried out, with many comparing the show’s energy to that of a rock concert. With seven more stops, I was intrigued to discover how new cities presented the tour.

Of all tour stops, I was most excited for Millennium Park in Chicago. I may be biased living in the area, but I was thrilled to see how the press could capture a performance set before 10,000 people, and one that welcomed live performances back in Chicago. The news was rolling out, with media from Time Out and Chicago Sun-Times sharing the event with my community. I started to see the power of digital media in bringing the crowd together. As the word spread and social media captured the attention of Chicago natives, all 10,000 seats would quickly be claimed.

ABT Across America was unlike any ballet performance I had heard about. The shows, mostly free, were brought to many cities that rarely attract ballet performances. As a summer intern, not only did I learn more about the ballet industry from a marketing and press perspective, but I also saw firsthand the efforts of ABT to produce a tour that actively shares ballet with the community through accessible and engaging performances.

I did not expect going into the internship that I would have the opportunity to help gather and share the press of a national tour, especially one so unique and ambitious. I am thankful for the Press team and to my mentor Delia, who gave me thoughtful opportunities and shared with me the world of ballet as it can be presented and admired through the power of the press.

Grace Robinson

Press Intern

Summer 2021

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