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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

WORK HARD, DANCE HARD

19 Jun
I have to say that interning at ABT is probably one of the best internship opportunities you might ever get. I studied Dance in College and am still active artistically in the dance scene. ABT gave me the opportunity to get a closer look behind the scenes and I am very thankful to have gotten the opportunity to learn from a successful arts organization what it means to keep the arts alive.

The ABT staff is incredibly inspiring. I could sense that they are very passionate about their work, which makes it fun to learn. As a Membership Intern in the Development Department I was lucky enough to have the opportunity of fulfilling a wide range of tasks. Getting to know and learning from the Membership staff has been an absolute pleasure. Everyone is super friendly and very open-minded.
In addition to that, my favorite part of the internship was helping out at Events. One of my first events I helped out with was a Ballet Class for Donors. For that class, staff members of the Membership Department joined in and also invited me to take the ballet class, which was taught by one of ABT’s current dancers. We, as well as the donors, had the best time dancing together in one of ABT’s studios, where I always saw the Company rehearse while passing by during the day.

Another one of my favorite moments was when I was invited to one of Project Plié’s meetings. ProjectPlié encourages people of color to work within the area of Classical Ballet. For that meeting Calvin Royal III came in to tell us about his experience and we ended up having great conversations involving interns, staff members and a dancer.

I have to say again that everyone at ABT is very humble and welcoming and I truly enjoyed my time working there as an Intern; an experience I will never forget.

Reshma Anwar
Membership Intern
Spring 2017

A Learning Opportunity

22 Jan

“Why don’t you pull up your chair. This is a good teaching moment.” Many times this semester my mentor would ask me to do just that, and so time and time again I would pull up my chair next to her desk. These are the moments that truly make ABT a unique place to intern. Interns at ABT are part of the Educational program. Not a distraction but a valued investment.

Coming from a liberal arts background, finance or budgets were not really my strong suite. But perhaps the opportunity to intern in ABT’s Institutional Support Department excited me precisely because of the challenge it presented. I knew I could learn, because I knew I’d be taught.

I always had a lot of questions. But my mentor was extremely patient and more than willing to answer them. She spent time explaining the details of raising institutional support: what the application process for the different foundations looks like and how diverse the requirements can be, what the best ways to organize and document files are, what the nuances of interactions with representatives of foundations or corporations are, how project budgets are created, how to write reports, and so much more. But not only did I have the opportunity to learn about Institutional Support, I also got a glimpse into the Development, Artistic, Production Departments, and the Company as a whole. I knew that after graduating I want to be working in arts administration, but more and more I’m coming to understand how broad of a term it really is. ABT gave me the opportunity to explore and learn about the field not limiting me only to one aspect.

Looking back at my four months as an intern in the Institutional Support Department, I am blown away by how much I have had the chance to learn: what is a W990 form, how to make project budgets, how to write grants, and do prospect research. Things that only a couple of month ago existed vaguely in my imagination have now become concrete concepts I am ready to talk about and work on. The hands on experience and actively being able to apply the knowledge to a real life situation right after sitting by my mentor’s desk and learning about it make the ABT Internship Program truly unique.

Alisa Goz

Institutional Support

Fall 2016

Are you clueless about ballet? You should intern at ABT!

5 Jan

 

I am a business student who loves sports, so naturally I began this internship knowing next to nothing about dance. I knew the company name and the basics of what a ballet consisted of: ballet dancers. So walking in on my first day was pretty nerve-wrecking. Not only was I the new intern, but I was also way out of my comfort zone.  Turns out that that is something I am now grateful for. I got to meet my coworkers Jackie, Gwen, Arielle, and Grey who I often worked and interacted with. They made the experience an opportunity to meet great people and learn and not just a job. I learned bits and pieces of what role the development department plays in a non-profit organization. I learned how to interact with members and was able to put faces to the names on the acknowledgement letters I did weekly. I made new friends, my fellow interns, who didn’t make fun of me for not knowing who Misty Copeland or Jeffrey Cirio were. Instead they taught me the basic essentials of the ballet world. For that I am thankful to them, for guiding me and helping me learn to fit in. Overall, I’m grateful for the experience. People always ask me why I selected American Ballet Theatre to be my first internship when I was clueless about dance and never danced before, and I’ll always tell them, “Whenever I’m given the opportunity to learn about something that I am clueless about, I will never say no, because all knowledge is precious and no one knows what you’ll learn, or who you will meet, that could impact your life.” I’m glad to have been able to see the behind the scenes aspects that make the ballet performance as breathtaking as the dancer’s view on stage.

Carina Escobar

Membership Intern

Fall 2016

Company Class

1 Aug

My favorite day during my internship was not your typical workday.  Members of ABT are entitled to several events throughout the year, one of which is attending an on stage company class.  This summer the class fell on a Saturday, which also happened to be the day Misty Copeland was taking her turn as Odette in Swan Lake.  Of course Misty was stunning and breathtaking, but I’m here to talk about company class.

I was handed a calendar my first day in the office that had a bunch of member events I could help out with.  My eye was immediately drawn to company class.  I loved the idea of getting to watch ABT’s company members in their natural habitat; taking class, just like every other aspiring dancer in the world.  To top it all off class was held on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House.  My excitement could not be contained.

The day of the event I was tasked with helping people find their way into the theatre and handing out membership brochures, a typical task for interns in the Development department during the performance season at member events.  Once my tasks were complete I got to watch class.

I sat in my own little section of the Met and it felt like there was no one else in the theatre.  I was literally on the edge of my seat grinning from ear to ear.  There is something so special about getting to watch ABT’s dancers take part in this ritual that connects every ballet dancer in the world together. One of the greatest takeaways from the day was realizing that ABT’s dancers are just like us.  They have technique they’re working on in class, they still get corrections in class, and they like to goof around with each other.  Just like us.  Yes, they are unbelievably talented and have unrivaled abilities, but they’re humans too.

I am also incredibly grateful to the Development department for welcoming me this summer.  Getting to work with such a fun group of people made this summer so special for me.  I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity to be a part of an institution I’ve admired for so long.  ABT was the perfect place to begin my career.

 

Brendan Rosell

Membership Intern

Summer 2016

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Brendan Rosell with fellow interns Ranisha Shelton and Yasmeen Enahora