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Ballet and Beanie Baby Basketball

31 Jul

“How do you feel about going on a field trip on Thursday?” Dennis Walters, the Associate Director of Education and Training, asked one afternoon in March. I was here to learn so whatever it was, I knew that it would be valuable for me to observe. Dennis soon explained that he would be going to the City Hall with Ebonie Pittman, the Manager of Institutional Support. She is in charge of corporate sponsorships and grants at American Ballet Theatre and they scheduled a meeting with one of New York City’s Council Members. The meeting would hopefully convince the councilmember to support ABT’s outreach programs with his flexible funds to enrich arts in the schools in his district. I was taking a class on fundraising and grants so this was the perfect opportunity for me to get a glimpse of what a meeting would look like. Then Dennis added a cherry on top to an already exciting day when he asked “I’m going to the Metropolitan Opera that afternoon for a meeting after that. Do you want to come to the meeting?” My answer, of course, was a yes!

 

Thursday came around and Dennis, Ebonie and I got on the train to head to the City Hall. As they reviewed the folder full of data and information on the subway, I was excited to be able to connect what I learned in class to a real funding meeting. The meeting itself was brief but Ebonie and Dennis articulated the importance of arts programs and the results of ABT’s outreach programs through its 20 years’ history. As we left the office, I asked Dennis and Ebonie when the funding would be secured and learned that we may not know until August or September. While it may seem like a last minute decision before the school year, knowing that the students would ultimately benefit from the program would surpass the inconvenience of uncertainty.

 

We then headed to the Metropolitan Opera House. I was in awe of the beautiful chandeliers and it was even more special to see it when the house was empty. Representatives from the Metropolitan Opera, ABT’s Special Events, Company Management and Education Departments gathered to align all the events that were scheduled for the Met Season. They went through each event and confirmed that everyone was on the same page with room arrangements, catering, and even smallest procedures. While it may seem tedious, it was important to prevent any confusion on the day of the event when there are patrons and audiences in the house.

 

Of course this was one of many exciting days. To name a few others, I helped out at donor events, assisted final performances at Make a Ballet schools, helped teach a Make a Ballet Administration class at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, witnessed kids’ excitement as they were about to step onto the stage for Young People’s Ballet Workshop at the Met, sat in on a company wide meeting, and delivered pre-performance workshop materials to the Met. Even a monotonous day at the office was made interesting by flying cupcake beanie babies. (Long story short, they were bought for a pre-performance workshop for Whipped Cream and they are the perfect size to be catapulted across the office without hurting anyone. Don’t be alarmed when you’re in the office and there’s a cupcake beanie baby or an angry bird plushy in the air! Dennis will launch one into the air when you least expect it and an impromptu basketball game might ensue. As Dennis says, all ABT interns learn how to catch because you don’t want your face to end up being a backboard.) From exciting field trips to working in the office, I am so grateful to say that my time as an intern at ABT was full of opportunities to learn and fulfilling.

 

Sarah Cho

Education and Training Intern

Spring 2017

A wonderful experience in the Public Schools

30 Jun

This past Spring I was given the unique opportunity to intern with ABT’s Artistic Coordinator of Educational Outreach, Richard Toda.  It was a privilege to get to be Richard’s first intern and spend a large portion of my internship assisting him in his educational outreach programs.  Primarily I spent my time in the classroom at either Fort Hamilton High School (FHHS) or at PS 1, getting a hands-on experience with ABT’s outreach programming. This experience provided many useful insights, such as helping me to better understand how to customize outreach programming to meet the unique needs of each public school and allowing me to observe the collaboration process between ABT and the public school teachers.

 

However, the most enjoyable part of my internship was getting to interact with the public school students and see how the ABT outreach programs were allowing these students to develop in their execution and appreciation of ballet. Seeing first hand the benefits of educational outreach reinforced my desire to work in educational outreach, and further ignited my passion for arts education. Thus, I greatly appreciated the opportunity to intern with American Ballet Theatre!

 

Wendy Clark

Educational Outreach Intern

Spring 2017

Arabesque Lines; Intelligent Minds

27 Jun
As the semester winds down, school comes to a close, and graduation is in sight, I can hardly believe my 20-week internship with American Ballet Theater is coming to an end. It feels like yesterday that I first walked through the door for my first day. Now I am leaving with more experience and insight than I could have asked for. When you think about dance you imagine the bodies of the dancers. There is a significant amount of energy, training, and sacrifice that each dancer makes to be in the ABT Company and train at the JKO School. However, my internship shined a light on the unsung heroes that are of the education department. The arts administrators in the education department support all of the artistic visions that the artistic staff curates. THEY MAKE THE MAGIC HAPPEN!  It is through their organization that programs are created, maintained, and developed. The education staff is a well oiled machine that works collaboratively and independently assigning different roles to produce the infamous Studio Company, JKO School, National Training Curriculum, Summer Intensive, and Outreach programming. The glamour that is of a premier ballet company is really esteemed because of the people who dedicate so much of themselves to make this company what it is today.

My internship has familiarized me with many insights into the nonprofit arts world. Every budget, email, and marketing flyer gets double and even triple checked. The staff surveys, fields, and handles any and all discrepancies in a situation all while curating the programs, pinning hair into buns, and getting ice for the dancers. These people tirelessly work to make the quote on quote magic happen. I guess what I am trying to say is that the remarkable “lines” and proscenium performance is curated through an efficient assembly “line” of arts administrators that love and honor the arts that is ABT.

I cannot thank the JKO School and the education department for their teaching. I never had a moment when I felt that I did not belong. The arts need us! From the data entry to the pancaking of ballet shoes, to the excel spreadsheets to the recitals. There was never a dull moment. I am so happy to have had this experience and professional insight into the administrative environment of arts management.  I especially cannot thank Rebecca, Katie F., and Katie C. for giving me this amazing opportunity to learn from people who have so much talent and expertise in what they do. I am so happy to end this internship with ABT’s season at the MET. It is a true testament that my 20 weeks of work has compiled to Lincoln Center. This has been an all-encompassing experience of seeing the work of the artistic and administrative worlds collide on America’s most notable arts campus.

Brittany Biolo
JKO School Intern
Spring 2017

An experience I will cherish for life..!

23 Jun
The National Training Curriculum internship at American Ballet Theatre has been such a rewarding and fulfilling experience. I learned so much the past three months at ABT. ABT is an amazing institution and I consider myself extremely lucky for being able to work so close with such talented people.

This internship was also a great opportunity for me as I could experience what I learned at my NYU masters program in Dance Education in practice. The staff had good work ethic that kept the company functioning at its peak. I learned how emphasis on quality, sense of teamwork and responsibility are important principles to create a strong work ethic.

Last but not least, working at ABT and assisting the NTC manager and the Affiliate Exam Coordinator made me realize how much work goes into running the NTC program. I have great respect for my mentors and the skills I gained through this program I will cherish them for life. I would like to thank them and the American Ballet Theatre for giving me this chance.

Ester Migioni
National Training Curriculum Intern
Spring 2017

A Fouetté Turn Into My New Internship

22 Jan

Backstory: Summer 2016 was one of my biggest transitioning periods yet. After, interning and working for Dancewave for the past two years, my time came to an end in May. Due to funding, I was sad to hear that I was not going to be returning to Dancewave in the Fall. Although, I was bummed about the news, I am thankful for the amazing staff who introduced me to the field of arts administration and provided me with an exceptional experience of a working non-profit company in New York City.

At this point, I knew I wanted to continue gaining experience in arts administration or in the dance world in general, so I considered potential internships or jobs that would provide me that opportunity. My opportunity came sooner than I thought, when I was hired as a Summer counselor for ABT’s Summer Intensive 6-week program in June. In those 6-weeks I enjoyed watching over my group of students, taking class, and working with ABT’s staff. It was at the end of the 6-weeks, in July, when I was informed that I was not going to return to Dancewave. By now, I knew most internship positions were unavailable for the Fall, so I looked for internship positions in Spring – one of them being ABT’s Education and Training internship with the JKO School. Just when I thought I would have to wait an entire semester to even apply for the position, I received an email by Rebecca Schwartz (Director, ABT JKO School) offering me a positon for the Trainings Programs Internship for the fall semester. Delighted and beyond excited, I said yes.

Before I knew it, it was already September and my internship began. Interning with the JKO school gave me the opportunity to acquire office literacy skills, hands on experience/interactions with students, parents, and working professionals. It has taught me how to handle and manage situations with the most efficient solutions possible. My colleagues, Rebecca, Katie F., Katie C., and Leann of the JKO School took the time to teach me the ins and outs of what it takes to run a school within a world-wide known company like ABT.

Attending events like ABT’s 2016 Fall Gala at Lincoln Center or Sacks Fifth Avenue-Land of 1000 Delights, while working behind the scenes is an experience of a life-time. Knowing I was part of a team that was working towards making a high-volume event come together for the company, the students, their parents, and guest audiences to enjoy, brought me self-satisfaction and honor. I got to see working professional artists like Misty Copeland or Gillian Murphy outside of the stage in their morning company class or backstage at Lincoln Center, securing their ribbons just before going on stage; I felt like a little kid in a candy store. Inside the ABT studios, I was surrounded with warm-smiling children, older students, and teaching artists every day. Both the students and teachers were dedicated to each other in providing exquisite training and commitment to their progression in their training.

Four months later, walking away from my internship, I realized it was a dream come true. I could never fully put into words how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to intern for ABT or how much more I have learned about myself and professionally. The skills that I have acquired will stick with me for a life-time and I will be applying them throughout my career within the performing arts.

Elizabeth Juarez

Education and Training Intern

Fall 2016

When Two Worlds Collide

22 Aug
As artists, we may have different backgrounds and different skill sets but we all have one common goal; expressing our passion.  I come from a musical background and though I wasn’t so familiar with the dance world, I was eager to learn more and fully immerse myself in it during the course of the summer at ABT.
The most rewarding part of any job is not only working hard to make a project come to life but also to see the final result unfold.  Throughout the summer, I would sit in the office processing files for the upcoming JKO School year and occasionally I would hear faint excerpts of Brahms Symphony No.3, Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet playing throughout the day.   I would leave 890 Broadway humming the tunes all the way to the subway after hearing these classical works on repeat the whole day.  It was really awesome to hear melodies I’ve performed in orchestras and see them put to dance.  I would be fortunate enough to even see some of the rehearsals from time to time in passing when I was organizing JKO School uniforms in the green room and was blown away by the hard work these young dancers were doing.  Though I am not a dancer,  I trained equally as hard when I was in a preparatory program for music and could easily relate to their vigorous days of rehearsals.
Days before the end of my internship, I was asked to help work the boutique for the Summer Intensive final performances held at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts.  As I walked in my checkered rain boots to the water-speckled glass building,  I was secretly  hoping that I would be able to watch some of the final performance in addition to helping run the boutique. After the first round of boutique sales, I snuck into the dark theater just in time for the second dance.

The performance was like putting pieces of a puzzle together to make one final, beautiful image. I was able to hear the familiar classical pieces that I had been whistling for weeks played from start to finish, I saw the completed choreography instead of bits and pieces of a rehearsal in passing to the green room, the costumes added the visual elegance and the young dancers who performed completed the picture.  As a soloist would nail their routine, I could see them go back into the wings of the stage as their fellow dancers would high five their colleagues for a routine well done.  I was so impressed with the young talent I had just witnessed, but I was also reminded that the art that I create through music is exactly the same.  As a violist, I have to take pieces to the puzzle and put them together to create the final image I am trying to convey to my audience.

In order to perfect an art form, whether it be music or dance, the hard work, sacrifice, dedication and a sense of community are the necessary ingredients to convey passion in art.  That day forward, my appreciation for dance and dance education grew enormously and I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to witness such amazing talent this summer.
Aline Vartanian
Training Programs Intern
Summer 2016

A (Not So Typical) Day in the Life

16 Aug

On June 22, I was a month into the ABT internship program and had just finished working my first National Training Curriculum Teacher Training session. I spent the day finalizing exams and certificates, preparing for the next training sessions in July, and chatting with the rest of the NTC staff about the previous night’s performance of Romeo and Juliet in anticipation of what was to come later that night. I was out the door of 890 by late afternoon and rushed over to the Met to begin what I knew would be a night to remember.

 

After meeting the rest of the ABT and Roundabout Theatre interns at the Met fountain, we went inside for a conversation with ABT General Manager, David Lansky. I spent the hour-long talk at the edge of my seat, absorbing every bit of company life that I could. As a longtime ballet dancer and enthusiast, I could not help but be enthralled by the stories that epitomized the old truism, “the show must go on.” Listening to the challenges that arise due to the nature of live performances and how the ABT dancers and staff overcome them gave me an even greater respect and love for this art form.

 

After the talk, we strolled between sets and stagehands and Alexandre Hammoudi’s pirouettes to get a view of what the company sees every day during the Met season. As I stood on the Met stage, I could only think of the history that stage has seen. From Mikhail Baryshnikov to Misty Copeland, the thought of sharing that space with so many who changed the ballet world left me speechless and floating among the clouds. That feeling and the view of the empty audience seats with the lavish chandelier hanging above are two of the most vivid memories I will carry on from this internship experience.

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As I ran to catch a train at the end of the night, I could not help but feel tremendously grateful for the magical day I just had. In addition to another great day in the education department, the talk with David Lansky, and the backstage tour, I also got to see my childhood ballet idol, Gillian Murphy, have a stunning and heartbreaking performance as Juliet. I felt like the luckiest intern in the world.

Although not every day at ABT was as glamorous as this one, it left me in a dream-like state for the rest of the summer, ready to take on more teacher training sessions and share my love of ballet with coworkers and soon-to-be certified teachers. I truly could not be more thankful for the experience and open doors ABT- and specifically NTC- has provided me this summer, and I know that I will forever look back fondly on my summer at America’s National Ballet Company.

Brittany Hurley

National Training Curriculum Intern

Summer 2016

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