A Full Circle Moment

7 Jun

My first time at 890, I was a wide-eyed and bushy tailed 14 year old auditioning for the ABT summer intensive. I remember walking up the creaky stairs to the fourth floor, filled to the brim with talented dancers and their anxious moms, to which I would return nearly eight years later as an intern for the JKO School. Interning at ABT truly feels like a full circle moment in my life.

This year, I had the honor of being a teaching assistant in several of the Children’s Division classes including Primary C, Primary A, and 1A. I was lucky enough to teach with Carmela Gallace in the fall, who was one of my teachers at the ABT summer intensive back in 2015. Being in the studio as an assistant was definitely the highlight of my internship. In a child’s life, their dance training is a really precious and special time. I feel so privileged to be involved with these often seemingly small moments that add up to be a significant part of who they will become. I look at how sweet they are in their purple leotards lining up in the hallways peeking their heads into the Pre-Professional Division classes–a tangible vision of what is to come in the future. Many of them will continue on this journey as dancers and I’m so excited for them to progress. I know how much I looked up to my teachers and admired their technique and dedication to the artform. Getting to demonstrate and be an example for them was such a rewarding experience. I can also see the innate passion many of these children have for movement and I have watched many of them begin to fall in love with it. I was able to watch their growth as dancers and as humans while I gathered invaluable lessons from top notch teachers. The training curriculum for ABT is a perfect guiding tool for teachers to structure their classes and it has given me so many ideas for my youth ballet classes.

Interning at ABT is truly unlike anything else. One of my favorite little things is the fact that there is always beautiful classical music humming through the space. Where else can you sit in an office and hear Don Quixote playing from the hallway? The familiarity and comfort of working within the context of a ballet company has felt like the perfect cap to the end of my academic career. As a dancer, my advice to other artists who feel like they may have something more to offer the industry than just performing, is to explore the many facets of working in the arts. Arts administration is a great way to surround yourself with a community of other like minded, passionate individuals without leaving your love for dance behind. In order to have ballet remain relevant and running,
it takes people who see the immense value and importance of the art to support and make it possible. In the Education Department at ABT, I was able to see firsthand the level of dedication and fervor everyone has to make ballet accessible through the numerous avenues of programming that ABT offers. It is definitely a bittersweet ending as my year at ABT comes to a close, but I am leaving with a strong sense of gratitude for this experience and I know that the connections and lessons I’ve learned throughout this year will carry me into a new chapter of my life.

Elena Sundick

JKO School Intern

Fall 2021 – Spring 2022

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