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My Time at ABT

29 Aug

It is hard to believe that my time interning at ABT has come to an end. It has been an incredible experience seeing how this non-profit organization runs, from the dazzling performances on the Met stage, to the private auctions with donors and board members. If you are someone who is thinking of applying for an internship, please do so! Here is what I took away from my summer internship at ABT in Manhattan:

The incredible staff! I had the privilege of working in the development suite with an incredibly welcoming and hardworking group of people. From day one they were eager to meet the interns and were so accommodating to all our busy schedules. Each day when I came to work, Roseanne at the front desk greeted me with a friendly ‘good morning’ and everyone smiled. ABT works very hard ‘behind the scenes’ to put on such fabulous performances, and I appreciated that. It was eye-opening seeing how much time, effort, and most of all, money, goes into making this organization what it is. However, just like every ballet performance, all the hard work happens in studios and behind the curtain, and in this case, downtown at the office as well.

My specific internship! I worked in patron ticketing, which allowed me to process tickets from many major donors and learn the importance of staying organized. It is crucial that the exact amount of tickets with the proper seats for each specific ABT donor is precise and correct. I learned about ABT’s process for communicating with the Metropolitan Opera House and David H. Koch Theater, the preparation that occurs during off and performance seasons, and the database that holds the precious information. Most of my work consisted of data entry into ABT’s system, but there were also times when I interned at the Met Opera House. These days were my favorite days, not only because I gracefully walked upon the scarlet carpet, but because I saw my hard work come alive. The opera house events were where I met the donors for which I had been processing and packaging tickets and watched the ballerinas perform.

Dina Resnick

Patron Ticketing Intern

Summer 2017

 

A little about me:

I am entering my senior year of college studying finance and marketing with a minor in theatre. My passion for theatre and dance inspired me to seek career opportunities in these industries, and it has been an absolute pleasure interning for ABT. I always loved ballet (I took lessons for 12 years) but knew I didn’t want to perform for a living. You don’t have to give up the things you love just because you become an adult. This industry is where I belong, and it is inspiring because the arts are filled with great people who have passion.

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Third Time’s the Charm

29 Aug

One story that I am always hesitant to tell at first is the one about how exactly I landed at ABT during the summer of 2017. But, I feel that there is no better way for me to express how honored and grateful I am to be one of the interns selected for this semester:

I had first applied to be an intern the summer after my freshman year of college (2015) and had received an email months later about how my application had been rejected. “No matter,” I told myself. After all, I still had so many years of school left to go and I could “always apply again.” Well, I definitely did keep to my word and applied for a second time two years later. As you may have guessed, I was rejected- yet again. Finally, I decided to apply for a third time and told myself that if I didn’t get it this time around, I would give up and move on to other interests. However, to my surprise, I was checking my email one day when I noticed a message from the Special Events Manager saying that she was having trouble contacting me. Long story short, I had gotten the internship!

I’m proud to say that after my time here at ABT, it was worth the wait! I have been so lucky to have wonderful mentors (Claire and Gwen!) who always made sure that I knew exactly why I was doing something, what it would be used for, and how I could accomplish my task. I can honestly say that everyone at ABT has been more than willing to help interns learn about the organization or a specific department. From my time at ABT, I had the chance to experience first hand things like how to staff a dress rehearsal and consider each step of the event planning process.

Lastly, I would like to say that the weekly intern meetings are an important aspect of ABT’s internship program that really make it stand out from the rest. These meetings allowed us to meet people in other departments and talk about not just job duties, but also their career trajectory and the steps along the way to their current position. They were also really important because it showed me that ABT was investing in our education/learning. They weren’t just looking for an extra set of hands to help out- they were genuinely committed to our professional development so that we can work in all spheres of performing arts administration and the non-profit sector even after our time at 890. 

Jennifer Ly

Special Events Intern

Summer 2017

The First Day

24 Aug
For me, June 1st marked the beginning of my two month long internship in the Membership Department at American Ballet Theatre. For my mentors, it was the second week of ABT’s season at the Metropolitan Opera House–in other words, it was show time. I had anticipated my first day would include a tour of our offices at 890 Broadway, a sprinkling of “get to know you” games with my fellow interns, and perhaps some NY pizza (and I happily experienced all three). What I did not expect was my mentor’s first question: “Are you ready to go uptown?”
It was not until we stopped at 66th Street that I realized not only were we going to the Met, but that we were using the Stage Door entrance. I’d been to the Met a few times before, but on those rare and special occasions I played the role of a young audience member, not a staff member. However, my sentiments of excitement and awe were the same in both roles.
Twenty minutes later, I was assisting our Director of Membership with setting up our Patron Table inside the elegant, red velvet interior of the Met. I was instructed to stand behind the table and was given the run down: the various levels of Membership, the mission of ABT, the layout of the building, and frequently asked questions (including “where is the bathroom?”). When the house opened on June 1st, and patrons began to ascend the grand staircase towards me and my table, I was beyond anxious. But this anxiety soon dissipated because of my mentors. They were gracious and supportive, but above all they were patient. They were willing to provide instruction beyond simple explanations, carefully taking the time to tell me why my tasks were important and how they fit into the overall picture of ABT. Because of them, I not only became comfortable in the position, but found great enjoyment in it. Over the remaining six weeks of the season, I met many dedicated volunteers, loyal patrons, and aspiring ballerinas while standing behind my little table. I will miss it.
Helena LaPorte-Burns
Membership Intern
Summer 20179F26A9E9-3094-4163-8344-D38247613BF2

Beauty and Chaos- ABT’s Met Season

22 Aug

“Why ABT?”  This was the first question I was asked when I interviewed for my position at ABT. Bouncing from art galleries to museums to magazines, I admit applying for ABT was an anomaly among anomalies. But after a summer of working in the Major Gifts department, I can definitely say that I’m beyond grateful they took a chance on me. My first day was at the end of May and everybody was already deep into the hectic Met Season, a string of eight weeks where ABT puts on eight different ballets at the Metropolitan Opera House. If you get the chance to take a summer internship with ABT and experience the wonderful chaos that is the Met Season, do not hesitate to accept it. I dove in head first, working shows, luncheons, auctions, board meetings, backstage tours, you name it. I got to meet a few major donors and talk with them, tour the Opera House with my all-knowledgeable mentor who told me fun facts about the founding of the opera, the famous Met Opera chandeliers, and the inner workings of the immense building, and I got to step out onto the stage and see what the dancers saw every night. I got to walk backstage while Hee Seo was warming up, and see Devon Teuscher dance the Black Swan in Swan Lake from backstage and see her run off laughing, care free. Almost more exciting, I got to hear the news firsthand when she was promoted to principal dancer. I got to see Misty Copeland dance an excerpt from Swan Lake and see her perform in The Golden Cockerel. I went from having little to no exposure, to seeing six different shows and having daily interaction with dancers and dance fanatics. Admittedly when the Met season ended things slowed down. But my time was spent conducting research and walking through the studios amidst all of the summer programs while the halls filled with music and the sound of pointe shoes hitting the floor. How can work ever be boring when your office is half-office space half-rehearsal space?

ABT has taught me invaluable knowledge about ballet but they have also nurtured and grown indispensable skills. Research, writing, communication, Excel and Word efficiency, attention to detail, even learning how to use Raiser’s Edge, are all skills that I have had to use in the past and will need to use in the future. They are skills that one never truly masters but is constantly improving, and my experience with ABT has sharpened them immensely. Not only did I learn how Major Gifts operates, and for a company as big and renowned as ABT, but through the internship program and our weekly meetings I learned about the other departments as well and even got to experience some of the inner workings of the Roundabout Theatre Company and Pointe Magazine. An internship with ABT is all about growth, about learning new things, trying new things, and enjoying what you do. Dance is about passion from every angle, even those who work in dance share a passion for it and that is what makes working for ABT so great. Everyone loves what they do and they do it because they love it. Even those who don’t dance themselves (like me) can enjoy and treasure a position at ABT. There is so much more to the company and so much to learn and experience, you will not regret an internship here.

 

Baylee McKeel

Major Gifts Intern

Summer 2017

Developing Valuable Skills in the Development Department

31 Jul

This past spring, I got to spend time interning in the Development Department at ABT. I worked in Institutional Giving and I got to learn a lot of valuable things about arts administration as a whole and how to develop relationships within the field.

I feel extremely lucky to have had this experience, especially as it was during my last semester in college. The internship program at ABT is unique because they really strive to give you an overview of arts administration as a whole. The intern meetings were fantastic because we got to speak with people who were working in a variety of different  departments and hear about their day to day tasks, the rewards and challenges of their jobs, and what made them so passionate about their work. It was fantastic to see how the departments worked together and the intern meetings gave me a great overview of the field and all of the different ways that people can contribute.

Additionally, I felt very lucky to have a mentor who was incredibly supportive. She was patient and took the time to check in throughout the semester to make sure that I was getting the most out of my experience. She walked me through the process of applying for grants and I got to learn a lot about building and maintaining relationships with different foundations and companies. She also invited me to sit in on important calls and walked me through the complete process of grant applications, from finding grants to writing applications and even the steps that you have to take to follow up and cultivate that professional relationship. All the while, she patiently addressed my questions and concerns and even set up meetings with people in other departments to make sure that I had a comprehensive understanding of ABT and the work that they do.

I feel extremely lucky to have worked with such a talented and passionate groups of people. The environment at ABT was always welcoming and everyone there is really focused on working together. I think that one of the most important things I learned was how people bring different skills and resources to a project and how to be a valuable member of a team. As an intern, I was given tasks that really contributed to the company and its mission. I was also invited to sit in on many discussions and meetings and, as a result, I can truly say that I walked away with much more knowledge about arts administration and the feeling that I got to make a small contribution to something truly incredible.

Niara Walden

Institutional Giving Intern

Spring 2017

ABT: A Major Gift

23 Jun
As a Master’s student in Performing Arts Administration, I have found myself in a unique position interning with ABT. I have already made the commitment to the field by choosing this graduate degree, and from that degree, I have learned the industry in broad strokes. ABT has helped me to home in, however, on what a dance company does on a daily basis. In working in the Major Gifts department, I have been exposed to important and sensitive work that is making a real difference to ABT. While that comes with a fair amount of pressure, it also comes with a great amount of satisfaction because I have learned and accomplished some of the most necessary skills to keep a large and prestigious company running.

In doing this work, I have also had the opportunity to work with professionals who execute these vital functions as their livelihood. I wanted to pursue a degree and career in performing arts administration because I feel passionately about ballet, dance, and the arts in general. I grew up dancing and, while I did not want to perform, I did still want to ensure that ballet would be firmly integrated into my life. That passion is absolutely necessary in order to do this job. Working directly with Fallon, Jon, and Diane, and indirectly with the entire ABT Family, has confirmed for me that we are all here for the art. That is what inspired me to begin this career path in the first place and seeing the same drive and dedication in others adds fuel to my fire.

Internships at ABT are not simply about learning the functions of a position, but about fostering the interns to become capable people who will devote their lives to the arts. Once you add in kind and patient mentors, passionate staff members, enthusiastic fellow-interns, and the open culture of the organization, the outcome of the program is young individuals who have been readied to become young professionals in the field. Over the course of this semester, ABT has not only affirmed my preexisting desire to work in performing arts administration, but it has also expanded that desire to become a need. This internship, combined with the experience with which I came into ABT, have solidified my knowing that this field is not only where I want to be, but where I need to be. And for that, I am the one left majorly gifted.

Leora Graber
Major Gifts Intern
Spring 2017

A Return to 890 Broadway

19 Jun

Hi everyone!

My name is Alex Gallagher, and I am currently working as ABT’s Spring 2017 Patron Ticketing Intern. I am an undergraduate student at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business and I plan to major in Global Business with a double concentration in Marketing/Consumer Insights and Healthcare Management. So how did I get to ABT, you might ask? Well, I grew up dancing ballet for thirteen years, four of which were actually spent here at ABT’s JKO School, so in some ways, 890 Broadway feels like home to me. This semester I was looking to gain some professional experience and explore a potential career in arts administration, and I thought what better place to do that than here at ABT.

I thought I’d share a bit about what my typical day looks like in the Development Office as well as some of the extra events I have gotten to take part in. As a Patron Ticketing Intern, the vast majority of the work I do, deals with preparing and recording ticket orders for ABT members that belong in the Golden Circle category and above (A Patron, the first level of giving in the Golden Circle, entails an annual donation of $1200). When a ticket request has been placed, it is my job to prepare an order form if it hasn’t been done already, record the details of the order on a tracking sheet, and prepare copies of the order to send to the Metropolitan Opera House Box Office for processing. When the tickets are returned to ABT, I then have to enter the final data into Raiser’s Edge, ABT’s database, and prepare envelopes to send tickets back to the members. In all stages of the ticketing process, attention to detail is crucial. Whether it is making sure the right performance and number of tickets are entered on an order form, checking that the Met printed the correct tickets, or reviewing my database entries, it is important that everything is double checked not only for the sake of the patrons receiving the tickets but also for the ABT staff that will use the data for future donor interactions. While data entry may not sound like the most glamorous work, it is actually quite important in facilitating a high level of customer service for ABT members. After having only previously been exposed to the dancer side of a ballet company, it has been immensely interesting to me to learn about the administrative side of the organization both in the work I do every day and in meeting and listening to staff members in other departments.

In addition to all of the office work I do each week, I have also been able to participate in a number of events held for ABT donors. Whether it was weekend studio visits, a rehearsal preview of Alexei Ratmansky’s new ballet Whipped Cream, or the Young Patron’s Evening post-performance party, it has been wonderful to see the administrative and artistic sides of the company come together and interact with ABT donors.

My experience at ABT has been nothing but positive, and I attribute that to the wonderful people I have been fortunate enough to interact with. The ABT staff has been incredibly friendly and helpful to me, and this has made all of the work I have done quite enjoyable. Of course it has also been lovely to interact with a number of ABT patrons and to share in the joy they experience at ABT!

I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to work for this incredible organization, and as my internship comes to a close I am making sure to soak up each moment I have at ABT!

 

Alex Gallagher

Patron Ticketing Intern

Spring 2017