An Invigorating Semester with ABT Institutional Support

15 Feb

I happened upon the posting for internships on ABT’s website on a whim, while searching up dance companies in an effort to find more arts administration internships that were aligned with my specific personal interests. As an undergraduate English major, so many of the suggestions for places to intern tended to fall toward visual or literary arts, so no one I had talked to had really thought of ABT as a potential place to get experience. Thankfully, last spring, I happened to find ABT’s internship information page, and the opportunity quickly climbed to the top of my list of potential places to intern. 

As the institutional support intern, the day-to-day work involved bouncing between corporate, government, and foundation fundraising initiatives and projects, allowing me to get a fuller picture of the different aspects of this work. I really enjoyed getting to be a part of the Development department during the beginning of ABT’s transition back to offering live performances and more in-person events.  

On a small scale, getting to familiarize myself more with Raiser’s Edge was an exciting experience! A lot of the work as an intern involved organizing lots of information for various institutional support tracking systems as well as putting together proposals and acknowledgements. Getting to really dive into the various systems for grants and corporate sponsorships allowed me to feel like my work was truly helpful. I enjoyed learning more about how to communicate back and forth with the different people involved in the process of submitting a proposal when working at a larger organization such as ABT.  

While most of my work was related specifically to institutional support, the weekly Development team meetings offered a great opportunity to learn more about how the different sectors of Development work together. Especially during the Fall Season and then again toward the end of the year, it was exciting to hear about the big events or initiatives that other people in Development were working toward. I also just appreciated the opportunity to hear from so many different voices and learn about the ways each communication style interacted with a work meeting environment—particularly over Zoom. 

Of course, the picture of my Fall 2021 internship with ABT would not be complete without a more in-depth mention of the Fall Season. I was lucky enough to get to help out with the Fall Gala, an event I’d been hearing updates about in Development meetings or conversations about corporate partnerships since the start of my internship. The night of the gala felt like such a celebration and surreal experience. The energy within the theater and on the red carpet was electric, and it was clear how excited everyone was to return to the realm of live performance and large-scale events at last! Just getting to witness how such a professional and fancy event was put together and observe it was incredible! I loved getting to be able to watch the performance that night and throughout the rest of the season. I remember leaving the Koch theater after each performance so excited about the whole experience and with a renewed sense of energy about the purpose of the work I was doing as an intern.  

The energy of the Fall Season stayed with me for the rest of the semester. I loved getting to meet the other interns and mingle a bit. The celebratory atmosphere made the whole experience click into place and suddenly the mission of ABT feel incredibly real and palpable. I returned to my investigations of government grant portals and research on corporate funding opportunities with more joy and intensity than before. All in all, this internship flew by, and I loved getting to be a part of ABT’s Development department at this pivotal and transitional moment in time.  

Shan Rao

Institutional Support Intern

Fall 2021

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