ABT Live!

4 Aug

Working for a company like American Ballet Theatre in New York City has always been a dream but one that did not seem achievable as I completed my master’s degree five hours away in Washington, DC. However, the transition of the internship program to a virtual format has allowed me to participate in the program from wherever I might be. This pandemic necessity has provided valuable access to interns from all over the country to have the experience of working at one of the top dance companies in the country. 

A typical day in my remote internship in Institutional Support involves writing acknowledgement letters to thank funders, piecing together the narrative portions of future grant applications, or researching perspective foundations, all from the comfort of my bedroom office. In addition to these “normal” days, I have had the opportunity to see some of the dance in person this summer that I have been raving about to funders in my writing. In June, I took the train up to NYC for a night to participate in the Development and Marketing departments visit to Wave Hill Gardens to see ABT company dancers film the balcony pas de deux from Romeo and Juliet. This spectacular venue paired with exquisite dancing and the opportunity to meet so many of ABT’s staff and interns made for an amazing evening. I felt so welcomed by the staff and feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to see behind the scenes of how ABT has been putting together its top-quality digital presentations over the last year and a half. 

I also think fondly of seeing the final version of the balcony pas de deux during ABT’s virtual Summer Celebration. The artistry and beautiful locations of all the work premiered during the event was incredibly impressive, as was hearing such high-profile names such as First Lady Jill Biden talk about the good work that ABT does. 

My final encounter getting up and close with the art from was during the ABT Across America Tour. The second to last stop of the tour was in Middleburg, VA, just an hour away from DC. A couple of friends and I made the drive through the wine country of northern Virginia to the performance location. As we entered the intimate space we were upgraded from general admission to the reserved section in the front and given free glasses of prosecco by enthusiastic volunteers. Watching ballet live and in person again for the first time in almost two years only a couple of rows back from the stage was an experience I will never forget and reminded me why I love dance so much. After the show, I met ABT’s Executive Director, Kara Medoff Barnettwho was so gracious, kind, and genuinely thankful for the work I was doing as an intern. 

As I come to the end of my time with ABT, I will look back fondly on the kind and welcoming team, the meaningful contribution I was able to make with my writing, and the memories of some amazing dancing. The chance to encounter ABT’s art in person this summer confirmed to me why I want to work in arts administration: to make the spectacular arts events that I enjoy so much a reality. 

Erin Wynne

Institutional Support Intern 

Summer 2021

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