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Seeing the MET through the lens of Finance 

22 Aug

I vividly remember attending ballet practice after school when I was seven. As I grew older, I slowly fell in love with the art. While I ultimately didn’t have the opportunity to pursue ballet as a professional dancer, I’ve retained an interest that has manifested in a thoroughly unexpected way. Through its Finance Internship opportunity, American Ballet Theatre offered me the rare chance to apply my field of study to something I have always loved.  

At American Ballet Theatre, I had the chance to work on meaningful projects that mattered and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of responsibility entrusted to interns. Over the summer, I worked on various projects under the guidance of Godwin and Leeann, who were, respectively, the Senior Director of Finance and Bookkeeper. Regardless of the task, whether it was filing Form 990 or analyzing financial statements and preparing bank reconciliations, Godwin and Leeann were always friendly and helpful, encouraging me to ask questions.  

While I worked in the finance department throughout the entirety of the summer, I had plenty of opportunities to engage with other members of the organization. Naomi and Julie hosted weekly meetings with the heads of different departments, providing interns with the chance to explore different paths and diverse perspectives within the dance company. It was a priceless experience to hear stories and advice from the Marketing department, Artistic Director, and CEO of one of the greatest dance companies in the world. Janet Rollé’s emphasis on the power of choice, service mentality, and embracing an authentic self particularly stood out to me.  

Interning at ABT also meant experiencing dazzling weekend nights at the Metropolitan Opera House and enjoying every performance of the summer season. As I was previously primarily familiar with classical ballets, seeing a contemporary choreography of Of Love and Rage was a breath of fresh air; the juxtaposition of jealous Chaereas and innocent Callirhoe gave a different kind of excitement from the destruction of hope conveyed by Odette and the prince in Swan Lake

As I reflect on my summer, I would like to thank Godwin and Leeann for their guidance and feedback, all the speakers at the weekly meetings, and Naomi and Julie, who made all of this possible. Working at ABT this summer allowed me to learn many new skills, meet amazing people, and immerse myself in the incredible world of ballet. 

Kyuree Shin  

Finance Department Intern

Summer 2022 

Ballet Figures

7 Jun

I have always been in awe of ballet. Since I was a little girl, I absolutely loved watching ballet performances, listening to the music, and mimicking the dance positions in my room with my own frilly tutu. I was captivated by how all the various elements of ballet came together to create a masterpiece. During my internship experience, I was similarly captivated by just how many different departments and teams of enthusiastic people come together to keep this beautiful art form available to the public.

Interning in the finance department, I learned so much about nonprofits and arts management. I learned the nuances of how to manage executive finances, stay within regulations and mandates, and organize funds to work towards the company mission statement. On the first day of the semester, I had a detailed conversation with my mentor, Godwin, about his role, how I could contribute to the department, and how the department contributes to the larger whole that is the ABT community. This first day pep talk got me inspired to learn and ready to take on my projects with gusto.

My tasks ranged from preparing 1042-S tax forms to navigating Financial Edge journal entries to conducting bank reconciliations, and all gave me the opportunity to hone my analytical skills as well as soft skills. Communicating with my mentor allowed me to learn most effectively and complete my projects more efficiently. It also made me practice my time management skills as I had to balance deadlines and manage expectations throughout the semester.

While the difficulties around COVID made it difficult to meet the ABT team in person, I felt like I got to know my fellow interns and mentors across different departments through our weekly intern meetings. Every week, I got a distinct perspective on how passionate employees contribute to the ballet world and make it possible to share this art with others. Sometimes, I saw how projects I worked on tied into another department, like the budget allocations and credit card charges for the artistic director and production teams. These experiences truly made me feel part of the ABT family.

I am so happy I had the opportunity to work in the ABT Finance Department under Godwin’s guidance this semester. I learned many new skills and sharpened some old ones that I know will be useful for my career down the road.

Michelle Rozelman

Finance Intern

Spring 2022

Excited for My Second Act with ABT

15 Jan

At the time of my application to ABT, I had never taken a dance class or seen a ballet. I was living in an Airbnb in Washington DC for the summer and interning with a nonprofit organization. My summer internship was coming to a close and I was looking for an internship opportunity for the fall, preferably one that involved a nonprofit opportunity relevant to my business major. I honestly don’t remember how I stumbled upon the internship program at ABT, but I’m beyond glad that I did. 

Although my internship with ABT was virtual for the first couple of months, I learned so much. I audited vendor information on Financial Edge; completed state tax forms for 7 of the states ABT files taxes in; updated employee statuses, addresses, and contact information on ADP; completed the 500-row DanceUSA form; and consolidated corporate credit card charges for the Board of Trustees. These projects were so educational, and even though I was working remotely, Godwin, Talisa, and Sandra were easily accessible whenever I had questions. 

About halfway through my internship, I found out that the bursar was leaving ABT and I would be taking over their duties for the next few months. For two weeks, I was trained for my new role. I learned how to process manual credit card payments, extract transaction data from Net Community and BBMS, create weekly deposit sheets on Excel, and record journal entries and deposit statements on Financial Edge. The finance team were so helpful and patient in training me to take on this new role, and I felt very prepared to work as the bursar. 

Around the same time that I started taking over the duties of the bursar, I began going into the offices at 890 Broadway every Tuesday. It was great to finally meet Godwin, Sandra, and Talisa in person. I was also excited to meet other members of the Finance Department (like Marianne and Leeann) and members of other departments like Education and Marketing. Once I began working in person, I began new projects like organizing pay documents for the musicians, auditing payroll for Sandra, and recording JKO school scholarships on Financial Edge.  

Besides my work in the Finance Department, I’ve loved getting to know the other ABT interns and ABT staff members through the internship program. The weekly intern meetings were great ways to interact with other interns and learn more about the different departments at ABT. Attending question-and-answer sessions with world-famous ballet personalities like Kevin McKenzie and Misty Copeland was so surreal.  

As someone who had never seen a professional ballet performance before, I was hesitant when I received tickets to see Giselle with the ABT and the Roundabout Theatre Company apprentices. However, I ended up loving the performance and also attended performances of Touché, La Follia Variations, Pillar of Fire, and ZigZag (twice). I also saw my first Broadway show, Caroline or Change, through ABT’s relationship with Roundabout Theatre Company. My favorite performance event was the Fall Gala. It was so fun to dress up in black-tie attire and see the performance at Lincoln Center. 

I am so grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to intern with ABT’s Finance Department. The financial statement analysis skills I’ve learned from my internship have inspired me to register for Managerial Accounting and Financial Statement Analysis classes my next semester at NYU Stern. My work filling in for the bursar also provided me with the skills to become elected as Director of Funds for my sorority, Delta Gamma. I am so excited to continue working with ABT and the Finance Department as the bursar after my internship ends! 

Grace Traina

Finance Intern

Fall 2021

My ‘Season’ at ABT

17 Aug

Do I dance? Sadly, I don’t have the coordination for that. Did I know a thing about ballet? I know as much as the next person- that it’s a beautiful artform that has helped shape American culture throughout the years. I thought I knew finance well enough to help with any projects the team had for me right off the bat. Little did I know, I had so much more to learn- both about finance and ballet. By all means, this internship should have been the most nerve-wracking experience of my summer, yet I found it to be one of the most enjoyable opportunities of the year. Before coming to ABT, I was only certain about one thing- I wanted to work in the financial sector of a non-profit to see how non-profits balanced the seemingly precarious budget, year after year in hopes of starting my own one day. After reaching out to a previous intern about her summer as a part of the finance team at ABT, I knew it was how I wanted to spend my summer. 

Although I was disappointed that I couldn’t meet the team in person, greet everyone at the office everyday and experience the live performances myself, the virtual setting actually proved to be one of the best features about this internship. Because this internship was no longer tied to a specific location, I was able to work on other remote projects that I would have otherwise not been able to start. It was also extremely flexible, which is something that I greatly value. Personally, I work best when I can create my own schedule and work at weird (but productive), nocturnal hours of the night. 

Through my supervisor, Godwin, I learned how the Form 990 worked. It never occured to me how incredibly complex this tax form for non-profits could be. It made me value even more the hard work that the finance team put in. With every successful company and non-profit, there is a dedicated finance team that closely supports its endeavors with an abundance of budgeting and expense-tracking excel sheets. Without Godwin’s guidance and constant patience, I would have never been able to learn as much as I did. With Talisa, I helped input the payroll for dance instructors for the summer intensive classes. Although I didn’t get to work closely with the other members of the team, I hope I get to meet them all one day in the office!

Despite the online setting, Dennis and the internship staff still managed to make sure that we were able to learn about ABT and the different fields. I remember when Kara took time out of her busy schedule to tell us her story, and was happy to answer any questions that we had about her work and her journey to ABT. I recall the unique stories that each staff member from different departments had about their journey to ABT and their favorite (and least favorite) parts about working in ABT. The strong sense of community and family-like bonds that everyone in ABT forged was one of the most unforgettable aspects of my experience. Thank you ABT!

Cora Wen

Finance Intern

Summer 2021

ABT’s Role in Guiding my Career Path

9 Dec

As a recent graduate who struggled to decide what to do next, The American Ballet Theatre had a wonderful impact on deciding what I wanted to do with my career. I have interned with other for-profit companies, and I wanted to see what the nonprofit world was like. I wanted to experience what it was like working with people who were passionate about what they were doing and who they were working for. The thing I love about ABT’s mission is that they are looking to provide arts and culture to the largest community they can. Working for a company that works for their audience was rewarding.

I learned all about how nonprofit annual taxes work in various states in the US. I helped analyze financial processes on ABT’s accounting software and learned where and how this company allocates its finances. I helped out with some credit card expense reports and learned about DanceUSA – a community designed to help other arts companies around the nation. 

Godwin, Talisa, and Belzin were a lovely team of people who were willing to guide and teach me. I had a great Zoom call with Talisa one day discussing why getting a CPA was not for everyone. As someone who is pursuing my CPA, it was nice to hear from a woman in finance who told me why it was not always the best option for everyone. It was not a very long conversation, but it was an impactful one for me. I appreciate Godwin always checking in with me and making sure I understood what I was doing. He tried to make the best of this unique situation, and I am so grateful to him for that. I can tell Godwin knows how to be a good leader to his team and to me. He always provided clear direction and guidance, which is honestly a luxury as far as internships go. 

Dennis’ weekly meetings were also extremely helpful for me when I was deciding if the nonprofit sector was for me. He taught us what the company did, its different functions, and set up meetings with various people in ABT to learn a little about their role. Some of my favorite Zoom meetings were with Kara Barnett, the executive director, and Rachel Richardson, a company dancer. I loved learning about ballet and the inner workings of a huge and widely known ballet company. I am hoping that one day I will be able to visit 890 Broadway in person and experience an environment surrounded by talent and passion. 

Madison Ryan

Finance Intern

Fall 2020

Staying Connected in a Virtual Internship

6 Aug

I am not well-versed in the dance world, let alone the ballet world. When I was searching for a Summer 2020 internship, the opportunity to be the Finance Intern at the American Ballet Theatre intrigued me, as it would be a way for me to dive into an artform I admire from afar while also learning more about a field I am interested in.

At first, I dreamt about commuting to 890 Broadway and working in an ever-changing office space. Shortly thereafter, the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the world. The Summer 2020 interns became ABT’s first intern class to work virtually throughout the entire summer. My visions of working only a few blocks from Union Square Park now seemed trivial as I wondered what a virtual internship would entail.

My initial hesitations about this new type of internship experience dissolved immediately. During the first few days of my virtual internship at ABT, I realized that being a virtual intern would not make me any less involved. My supervisor, Godwin, introduced me to the accounting software I would use for the remainder of the internship while Belzin and Talisa walked me through how to record the ever-increasing influx of student refunds and donations to be processed as the Summer Intensives went virtual. By the end of the first week, I began working on a project that would later be used as part of ABT’s application to the SBA Paycheck Protection Program. I was only a few days in but already learning about and given opportunities to help coordinate ABT’s response to the pandemic.

When I look back at the past ten weeks, I see the strong community at ABT. Godwin, Belzin, and Talisa called me over the phone or on Zoom and were always open to having conversations to stay updated on my progress and answer any questions I had. Furthermore, when looking back, I see the lessons I learned at ABT. The international reach and scale at which ABT operates contrasts the smaller local nonprofits I have prior experience with. The trust the Finance team placed in me gave me the room to grow and learn about internal accounting and financial statements. I completed independent projects using Excel relating to expense reports, the Form 990, and other finance-related tasks. While I learned with each task, I also knew that my work meaningfully contributed to ABT.

I sincerely thank Godwin, Belzin, and Talisa for being supportive mentors throughout the internship program even though we have not yet met in person. I would also like to thank Dennis for his efforts to create a community among the intern class with our weekly Zoom meetings. I am looking forward to the day I can visit 890 Broadway and meet the individuals who made this internship an unforgettable and invaluable experience in person.


Simrit Grewal

Finance Intern

Summer 2020

A Family of Finance Stars

21 May

The doors open and I exit the train at Union Square getting swept up into the flow of people rushing, or dawdling, to get to their offices as a new day begins. Two blocks to the doors of 890 Broadway. People begin to disperse as I cross 17th street at the top of the park passing the familiar, yet ever changing, store display. Another street closer to the office and soon I fall in line with those I recognize as dancers, people I’ve admired as stars since I was four years old, and office staff. Together, we enter beneath the waving marker of our home and pile into the elevator that carries us to our destinations and give our thanks to the elevator operator and to Roseanne’s warm smile before we part ways within the building. Down the hall and into the room that holds the lively finance team. 


Even on my first day I felt that I was part of the family. Beginning day one Godwin gave me my first assignment, which was to pull financial information for the 2018 Cultural Data project (CDP), and was very helpful and happy to answer any questions I had. As my days in the office with the team went on, I was able to help with projects, such as competing tax Form 1042-S’s, helping prepare for the annual audit, and other projects for Talisa and Shawn. Birthdays were celebrated within the small group with cakes added to the sweets table and I quickly grew accustomed to my morning commute, saying “hi” to Belzin as I entered the finance space, Sandra’s laugh, Darrell’s friendly smile, Talisa’s “good morning” and yoga mat near her desk, Shawn and Godwin’s frequent hockey chat, and Marianne’s voice always keeping things entertaining. But then hand sanitizer hit our desks and soon after I wasn’t seeing the team three times a week as normal. 


After 890 Broadway closed its doors in response to the pandemic, I found myself away from the office, communicating through email instead of my usual 45 degree turn to Godwin. Despite the distance between us, however, I still feel that I am part of the family. I have been able to work on projects remotely, such as working with Belzin on Summer Intensive 2020 refunds for students and know that I am just an email away.


Even though my experience as an intern didn’t turn out as I had expected I am very fortunate to say that I was able to gain new experience and knowledge and meet many wonderful people. I believe that every experience brings us new knowledge and I will be closing my internship experience and moving forward with nothing less than positive and abundant knowledge that I did not expect. When you become an intern at ABT and, more specifically a finance intern, you are not just an intern, but part of the family. As a finance intern, you will be relied upon to complete projects correctly, but always under the aid of incredibly knowledgeable people like Godwin, who are there to help you succeed and teach you everything you don’t know and more. 


I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work and learn with the finance team at ABT. My younger self aspired to be the dancers I recognize on the street and rode the elevator with, but now, with no disappointment, my dream has moved down the hall to the finance department whose members I now aspire to be. And the amazing part about being the finance intern at 890 Broadway, is that you are allowed to see how it feels to be one of them. A star. 


Leeann Minard

Finance Intern

Spring 2020

Lots of First’s

18 Jul

American Ballet Theatre has a special place in my heart. Seven years ago, I walked up the infamous steps to my first summer intensive. I remember waiting in line for my placement class number and eyeing all of the other dancers like any other audition setting. I wanted to prove myself as a little twelve year old in a sea of older, professional dancers. That summer was one of the best experiences of my life. I learned to be independent and challenge myself. I met incredible people that I am still friends with today.

This summer, I walked up those same steps again, but this time, to my first internship. I sat in the dancer’s lounge waiting for my ID and eyeing the other interns as they trickled in for our first meeting. The intern program coordinators, Dennis and Brendan, eventually started the meeting and introduced what the next two months would be like. It seemed like a whirlwind of assignments, time sheets, and performances. I wanted to prove myself in the group and the office. I would be working in the finance department, which was made up of six or seven people, under Godwin Farrugia, the Senior Director of Finance. So the following week, I got to work.

As an intern, I have been surprised by how much work I have been given by the team. I assumed I would be given exclusively intern-y things to do, like scanning and filing papers. Don’t get me wrong – I definitely have those jobs, but I also have bigger responsibilities. I work with Godwin on journal entries for the Met season. He was extremely patient while teaching me how to do jobs dealing with bank reconciliations and V9J reports. He helped teach me the importance of speaking up and taking ownership of mistakes. Sandra, the Payroll and Benefits Manager, gave me assignments to help with payroll. Marianne, the bookkeeper, always kept the office loud and lively so you are sure to never get tired. Darrell, though I never helped him with any assignments, always brought positivity and laughs to the team. And Talisa! As the finance associate, she does everything in the finance department. Whenever anyone took a week off, Talisa would step right in to fill that void. And she was incredibly approachable and helpful – if you ever get scared, ask her for help! Not only did I learn about office life in general, but I also got to learn about it from a great team.

I was the only intern in finance, but fortunately, I made friends with a few others in development and education thanks to intern program. To celebrate the summer, a couple interns and I took trips to the beach. A little later in the program, the interns were given the opportunity to go backstage at the Met. We saw everything from the sets to the rosin box. It was my first time standing on the beautiful stage. I can’t tell you how legendary that stage is for me! I dreamed to dance on that stage one day, and I finally got to stand on it. As an ex-ballet dancer, I was sort of hyperventilating. No worries. I’m fine. Totally chill.

After only a few weeks, American Ballet Theatre has given me so many new great memories I can add to the books. I felt challenged and met great people along the way. I learned more about finance in eight weeks than in my first year at college. In addition, the finance department was so welcoming as to offer me a full time job after the internship program was completed. I am incredibly honored and excited to work with them for a couple more weeks! I could not speak more highly of the finance department and my experiences there!

Angela Sheehan

Finance Intern

Summer 2019

Finding Finance

7 Dec

I’m not going to lie, trying to come up with a post about my experience has been hard. I know most people write in regards to a specific event, and I guess I could. I could write about waking up ridiculously early to decorate sailor hats with little kids and how it warmed my heart seeing them learn ballet. Or how eye-opening and fantastic my first ballet was, or even better the second when I got to stand on stage. I could write about the panel I attended on Fancy Free and the appreciation I gained for the history of that show. And although these experiences seemed once in a lifetime for me, it does not help summarize my day to day life in the Finance department.

Let me start by saying I learned an incredible amount of stuff, about non-profits, about accounting, about people. Every day I would walk into the office wave hello to good ol’ Marianne, and sit at my little desk positioned in between my boss Godwin and Talisa, who worked in student billing. Now my desk was small, but I don’t think I would have wanted another. It was great being right in the middle of everything, where I could turn and talk to anyone to ask for help, or just to see how their day was going. Then you can’t forget about Sandy and Shawn. Sandy works in Payroll and Shawn is the CFO. These people shaped my experience and really welcomed me into the office with open arms. Now, we do a lot in Finance, we process the bank statements and payroll entries, we form the budget and execute the absurdly long tax form for non-profits, we process checks, and make sure that every student pays for the classes that they take.

Somehow, among all of that there are always these breaks in the day where everyone’s crazy kind of comes out a bit. Now my boss always jokes that everyone there is crazy but it is hard to believe until you look up and see him playing with a light saber (of which he forgot what it was called) at his desk. Or anytime Marianne talked about Estonia, or well anything. She also keeps a hammer on her desk to hammer down the staples on really thick packets of paper. Or when you hear Sandy shout about something or sing out to her 90’s tunes. Talisa, I would say is pretty normal but I am waiting for it to come out. They kept me on my toes, and helped the time go quick while learning a lot. Because, under all of this “crazy”, they are some of the most genuine people and were so patient and helpful in teaching me. It’s unfortunate that my semester is coming to an end, it’s probably the quickest one I have experienced. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to work with such crazy yet incredible people.

Alissa Santolo

Finance Intern

Fall 2018

Deciphering the Form 990

11 May

When one thinks of ABT, finance is not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. It is a world away from the stage, the perfectly poised dancers, and the glitz and glamour of galas frequented by those talked about in The New York Times. And yet, it is a crucial part of operating America’s National Ballet Company®, indeed any organization. Like the support beams that beautiful Venetian houses sit on alongside the canals, if forgotten, it could be eroded away leaving the organization sinking!

One of the best things about an internship at ABT is the opportunity to get an insight into the different departments into the organization, through various workshops and talks that occur each Friday. On one recent Friday, Godwin Farrugia, ABT’s Financial Controller, spoke to us about finance and helped us to decipher the various elements of the Form 990. The Form 990 is the annual report that a nonprofit organization, as determined under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, must submit to the IRS. It provides financial information of the organization’s activities over the preceding year, including its revenue, expenses, assets, details about its endowment (if any), and details of its personnel. These reports are disclosed to the public and are made available on helpful sites like Guidestar. However, like all things published by the IRS, it almost requires a degree to decipher each question, and what it reveals about the organization.

Godwin stepped us through the report, highlighting important questions asked by the IRS, what each section means, and basically why things are the way they are. For example, what’s the rationale of following a calendar year over a June-July fiscal year, the differences between “temporarily restricted” and “permanently restricted” endowment (Hint: one is akin to deferred revenue), and what may sound alarm bells! Reading Form 990s is a crucial skill when working with nonprofits as it gives you important information about a nonprofit organization’s programs, how much revenue is generated from its programs (and how much they cost!), and generally the financial health of an organization. The juicier part is finding out who are the highest paid employees as well.

While Form 990s and finance are about as sexy as a ballerina’s feet after a performance of Giselle, it is nothing to dismiss. Like firm feet can support a dancer en pointe seemingly forever, a ballet company with strong financial health helps to ensure it will continue to operate well into the distant future!

Jeremy Leung

Spring 2015

Institutional Support Intern