Education at 890 Broadway

15 Feb

For a ballet nerd or a fan of ABT, the Education offices at 890 Broadway are probably your ideal work environment: there’s classical music drifting down the halls, people sewing costumes and telling stories, and seeing Stella Abrera is a daily occurrence. This fall, I interned in Engagement, which is the department responsible for outreach geared towards schoolchildren and their families. As a product of the artistically barren New York City public school system, I would have been thrilled to participate in the excellent, generous programs that ABT has to offer.

Working in Engagement is uniquely rewarding in the sense that the fruits of our labor are visible and tangible. During an outreach event held at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, hundreds of NYC elementary school children gathered to watch ABT Studio Company perform. It was incredibly moving to watch most of them experience ballet for the first time. The energy in the theater felt less like Lincoln Center, and more like the Super Bowl; the kids gasped, cheered, and shouted out in awe. I personally think that Engagement does some of the most noble and vital work in all of ABT by expanding its horizons, and reaching new and untapped generations of audience members.

During my time at ABT, no two days in the office were the same. I updated school databases, stuffed swag bags, made IDs for company members and staff (you’re welcome, Susan Jaffe!), and created programs, study guides and other educational materials. My department’s biggest and most long-term project was the Ticket Distribution program, which offers free tickets to the ABT fall and spring seasons for NYC schools. Ticket Distribution was multifaceted and required a mix of technical and people skills, and a high degree of organizational precision.

I am so proud to have been a small part of the Engagement team. If you have the opportunity to work for Amanda Tomera, do so. She was easygoing, welcoming and went above and beyond providing me with memorable experiences and peeks into the larger ABT world. I am also grateful to have worked with Dennis Walters, who gives great career advice, and Richard Toda, a ballet history buff and incredibly kindhearted person. I especially enjoyed watching them work directly with the school children. One of my favorite aspects of the internship was the professional development series, which brought in a different speaker every week. A highlight was speaking with CEO and Executive Director Janet Rollé, who generously shared her wisdom, experience, and advice from Beyoncé with us. A huge thank you to Naomi Gewanter and Julie Solomon, who supported all the interns through this series, and everything in between. Working for ABT has been both as wonderful as I expected and completely surprising. My only regret regarding my internship is that it had to end!

Isabella Spagnuolo

Engagement Intern (Education)

Fall 2022


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