Not Just an Office Job

15 Jan

I had an amazing time interning at the American Ballet Theatre this semester. As an intern with the National Training Curriculum, I really didn’t know what to expect on my first day in the office. Little did I know that I would learn so much in such unexpected ways as an intern.  

The day-to-day taught me a lot about the operations of nonprofits and of a ballet education department. I am grateful I was able to come into the office given our current global circumstance, and I walked away feeling assured in skills that I know will come in handy in the future. I can confidently say I am a master at mail merging now along with Microsoft Office. The best thing about going to the office, though, was seeing the other workers in my department. Sonia, Saya, and Molly have all been such great supervisors and I felt so welcomed from day one. In the small but mighty National Training Curriculum department, I knew that my work meant something.  

One of the biggest events that happened during my time at ABT was the Raising the Barre workshop in October. It was a two-day event providing teachers and students with world-class training both online and in person. That weekend, I found out what really kept the backend of ABT going – teamwork. The National Training Curriculum team, along with the Education Media intern Emma Zordon, faced every issue that came up with collaboration and vigilance. The hard work we put in that weekend felt worth it though, especially the last day of the program when I was able to watch Amanda McKerrow and Cory Stearns teach. It was particularly special because we interns had watched ABT’s performance of Giselle just a week prior, their first performance back since the pandemic.  

During my time at ABT, I couldn’t help but think back to my own time as a dancer. When I would see the students at the JKO school, I wondered if I could have been at that level had I had the opportunity to train as they have. It made me passionate about finding ways for ballet and dancing, in general, to be more accessible. This is something that I am taking away from this internship and hopefully something I can implement in my own hometown in the future. I learned so much about what makes a good ballet teacher most directly from Saya, the National Training Curirculum Assistant, the exams I graded for the ABT NYU program, and even from Misty Copeland herself.  

One of the highlights of the internship for me was the opportunity to speak to so many different people at the company. Most notably: Misty Copeland and Kevin McKenzie. When Misty came and spoke to us, I was able to ask her how we can make ballet more accessible to low-income communities. One of the suggestions she gave was to go directly to the students in the Boys and Girls clubs. I hope to one day help students find ballet as she has.  

These are just some of the things I have learned this semester. I loved my time at ABT and I am so thankful for the skills, experience, and perspective it’s given me. Thank you ABT! 

Micayla Renfro 

National Training Curriculum Intern  

Fall 2021 

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