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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

Part of the ABT Team

7 Jun

Growing up dancing in my local classical ballet company, ABT had always been a name that was on my radar. Unlike some of my fellow dancers, I did not aspire to join a professional company, but as I made my way through college, I found it hard to truly let go of ballet, an activity that had felt far less like an after-school hobby and more like a professional preoccupation. I sporadically took drop-in classes at studios in Boston where I attended college, including at Boston Ballet. Even as my flexibility waned and I struggled to dance in a mask when the pandemic happened, I never lost the desire to keep doing ballet in some capacity. So last fall, when I began looking at jobs and internships in New York, it did not take long for me to remember ABT and search their website for opportunities.

I had had very limited development experience when I applied, but I knew my BFA in creative writing would be useful, and was confident that my pure zeal for ballet would shine through. While my four person initial interview was a little intimidating, it showed that ABT takes their internship program seriously, and value those that are interested in the position by conducting such a thorough and professional interview.

The skills I have acquired through this internship have been so useful to me in starting my journey in arts administration and development. Not only have I learned how to write acknowledgement letters, fill out donation forms, conduct donor/prospect research, and utilize the software, Raiser’s Edge, I have also been able to soak up an incredible amount of knowledge and people skills along the way. At ABT, interns are welcome to join staff meetings and encouraged to take an active part in the professional atmosphere with which ABT conducts itself. Our weekly intern meetings featured staff members from all departments and gave me useful insight into the inner workings of the organization and the various positions to which I could aspire.

I have truly felt appreciated by ABT as a whole, and specifically the Development Department, where my work has been praised and achievements acknowledged. Especially as ABT continues to work through the pandemic, I know that my contributions were all the more valuable for the staff that have been pushing through this challenging time. I am confident that the full time position I will be assuming at another New York arts non-profit was offered to me in large part because of the experience of the ABT internship and the skills I have gained there.

I look forward to attending an ABT performance one day and staying in touch with all of the incredible people I have met!

Lydia Albonesi

Development Assistant Intern

Spring 2022

A Year with the JKO School

7 Jun

Walking down the hall of 890 Broadway on a hot September day, I did not know what to expect. As an ABT JKO School Intern, I was one of the first people to re-enter the 890 offices amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The JKO School was preparing for the return of students after a year and a half of virtual instruction. It was an honor to be a part of this successful, safe, and rewarding return. As an intern, I assisted classes, updated records, and contributed to community building activities. I interacted with students, faculty, and families daily, answering questions and helping establish a warm, inviting atmosphere. ABT’s return to in-person instruction was an all-hands-on-deck situation. I helped in areas I had felt prepared for as well as taking on new responsibilities like technology troubleshooting and COVID-19 mitigation. The ABT community came together to find creative solutions to extraordinary challenges and exhibited responsibility and resilience in returning to in-person classes.

What I did not know on that first day was that I was walking into much more than an education internship. I was entering a year of exploration within the arts administration field. The magnitude of the company allows for a wholistic internship program that reaches far beyond one area of interest. The breadth of the program pushed me to explore beyond my assigned specialty. As a recent graduate with a wide range of interests and a passion for learning, this proved to be the perfect environment. Weekly Intern meetings provided me with the opportunity to speak with the company’s most prominent leaders. From Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie to Executive Director Janet Rollé and Principal Dancer Misty Copeland, each individual spoke about their own, unique perspective on their position with ABT. These conversations were particularly pertinent as the company transitions leadership and navigates a pivotal time of change and progress. They spoke openly about their paths, revelations, and moments of growth. These individuals were very generous in taking the time to speak with us, answer questions, and offer their future connection. These discussions opened my eyes to and sparked interest in areas that I had no previous knowledge of. For that, I am grateful.

After expressing an interest in marketing and digital media, my mentor quickly invited me to attend bi-weekly digital media marketing meetings and create content for the @ABTSchool Instagram. I learned about strategies and planning for effective social media campaigns. I was given the freedom to create my own posts highlighting the Spring 2022 intern cohort and friends of ABT. It was exciting and slightly daunting to produce posts for over 64k followers. Attending departmental and other meetings helped me confidently contribute to the company and learn about the extensive work that goes on behind the scenes in a major ballet company.

I am thankful for the skills, experience, and perspective I gained over the course of my year with ABT. My experience playing a small part in a renowned, cultural institution will stay with me forever.

Kathleen Oakley

JKO School Intern

Fall 2021-Spring 2022

Building a New Community

7 Jun

Despite working 1,743 miles away in my apartment in Austin, Texas, my remote experience at American Ballet Theatre immensely impacted my growth as a dance professional and artist citizen. As someone who began this journey with no arts administration experience – only knowing the dance world as a performer and choreographer – I was nervous about how well I would perform as an intern. The most helpful piece of advice that specifically applied to my experience but can also be said about anything you try in life is this: you will make mistakes, but the most essential part is how you choose to learn from them. I was so grateful to have the development department as my support system as I navigated the ins and outs of ABT membership work.

I was immediately able to grasp ABT’s prioritization on building an inclusive work community. Every week, we attended multiple Zoom meetings to check in on the interns and discuss department projects in the works. These check-ins were great moments to see the many faces who create the backbone of ABT. I immediately felt immersed into the company. We also were gifted the opportunity to listen to guest speakers, professionals in several aspects of the dance field, within and outside of the company. Their inspirational stories provided me more dedication to lean into this work and into the arts.

I noticed tremendous growth in my communication skills and decision making. I was able to utilize these skills in managing the membership inbox, in which I was tasked to answer questions and respond to emails regarding ABT members. I also learned how to navigate Raiser’s Edge, a database I was once unfamiliar with. Work on RE consisted of sorting through membership information and updating their profile when needed. I also became more proficient in Excel by completing projects that required meticulous organization and assortment of data.

I am most thankful for my co-intern, who was able to learn and grow with me along the way. She and I were tasked with multiple projects — big and small — throughout our time with the company. It was always comforting to know that I had someone there for me every step of the way. Although our time spent together was shared on a Zoom screen, I can confidently say that this internship has given me a new friend. The department as a whole is very encouraging and truly wishes to maintain the relationships they build with their interns. Walking away from this experience, I feel grateful to have a community of people willing to support me in my future endeavors.

Jenna Weatherbie

Membership Intern

Spring 2022

Fall 2021 with ABT

2 Mar

Interning with American Ballet Theatre this semester was an amazing opportunity, and I am grateful for this experience. Although my internship was remote, I was able to see many incredible performances in-person including the Fall Gala, Giselle, and Pride Nights. It was very special watching live ballet again after the pandemic. I come from a ballet background, and back in high school when I would attend ballet summer intensive, my friends and I would always go to see ABT.  

Interning with ABT allowed me to see all the work that went on behind the scenes. I had not known about arts administration as a career until my junior year of college. At ABT, I worked as a development intern for this semester and learned how to use various software applications like Raiser’s Edge. In addition, I worked on filling out donation and expense forms, along with writing acknowledgment letters. Other projects included donor research and preparing materials for the Fall Gala. I learned a lot through listening in on weekly special events, major gifts, and development meetings, and how different departments interact with each other.  

The internship was overall very educational and has helped greatly with my career development.  Weekly guest speakers helped me understand different roles within arts management. I was able to meet the other interns in person during the performance of Giselle, and everyone was so kind and welcoming. I would recommend this internship to anyone interested in arts administration. 

Anna Zheng 

Development Assistant Intern 

Fall 2021 

My Time with ABT

15 Jan

As a professional dancer, I’ve spent years working on different productions and traveling the world performing. While performing though, I was working on a degree in Business Administration and Management in hopes that one day I could switch to the business side of the industry. When the Covid-19 pandemic put an abrupt halt on the performing arts industry, I had the opportunity to solely focus on my education and finally finish my degree. When it came time to figure out what I was going to do next, I thought this would be a great time to get some hands-on experience doing administrative work for an arts organization. I was so excited when I came across ABT’s internship program; it was exactly what I was hoping to do next. Plus, I’ve always admired and respected the company’s history, mission, and overall presence in the community. I applied to several of the open intern positions and was so excited to be offered an internship in the Education and Training department.  

I didn’t know exactly what I was going to be doing when I started, especially because the situation regarding Covid-19 was still very uncertain, but I was open to anything and everything. Throughout my internship I ended up doing some work in-person and some work remotely. I helped with various projects and tasks: printing lots of student ID cards, helping move ballet bars, updating databases, and helping recruit students for ABT’s RISE Weekend workshop. Every day was different, and I very much enjoyed the versatility of the internship. 

Since my first day at the office, it was obvious that ABT is one big family, and I felt accepted as part of the family from day one. At ABT, everyone works so hard to help each other out and ensure things run smoothly. It doesn’t matter what department you work in or what project you are currently working on, you could ask anyone for help, and they would help you without pause. This feeling of family is one of my favorite parts of the internship experience.  

Another great part of the internship was the weekly intern meetings. Each week there would be a different guest speaker from a different department, or a different topic would be discussed. I really enjoyed listening to the stories of different staff members, the lessons they have learned, and the advice they offered us. There were also workshops and discussions held about resumes, cover letters, and interviews. I found these workshops and discussions to be extremely helpful. In fact, they have already helped me in my next job pursuit! 

In the grand scheme of things, my time at ABT seems quite short. However, the lessons I learned and the impact from my experience here will last a lifetime. I am so grateful to have played a small part in the ABT community and for the connections I have made here. I cannot recommend this internship enough and I hope to see my ABT family again soon!

Hayley Alexander

Education and Training Intern

Fall 2021

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

Worth the Wait

15 Jan

May 2020? No good. August 2020? No good. January 2021? Still no good. August 2021? Finally. After a year and a half of back and forth, yes’s and no’s, I finally set foot in the hallways of 890 Broadway to undergo the craziest, yet rewarding, 3.5 months of my life.  

My internship story is a unique one. My title? Education Media Intern. My job? Everything and more. Since first applying and being accepted into the program in May of 2020, I have been offered interviews and internships in many of the departments around ABT. Over the course of my application process,  I interviewed with the JKO School, the National Training Curriculum, the Press Department and the Executive Office. But in the long term, I got the best of all worlds. An internship that puts me right at the center of it all. It was definitely worth the 1.5 year wait to set foot in person amongst the chaos that would ensue as ABT works to comeback from their 2 year hiatus out of office.  

ABT is run on a tight ship, with a small but mighty crew that knows how to get it done. Within my months at ABT, I watched 8 months of hard work come to fruition as we finally brought students back to the studios. I got the opportunity to run a seminar with the National Training Curriculum staff, photograph principal dancers and students in the school, work on marketing analytics projects, and create tons of content for ABT’s social media platforms. With a foot in every door, I was able to create a unique, but equally fulfilling internship experience here at ABT.  

What I didn’t expect to get out of this internship were the opportunities to participate in professional development seminars, and really learn the ins and outs of this company from firsthand sources. The opportunity to talk to people in different facets of ABT gave me a lot of insight about the operations that go on behind the scenes to make ballet happen. Learning about all the hard work that goes unnoticed gives me a deeper appreciation for the nonprofit industry, and particularly for this company that I have admired for so long. To my surprise, we even got to talk with Misty Copeland, which was such an honor.  

I’m not sure what I expected to get out of this internship going into it, but what I ended up with was much more than I could have hoped for. From professional development to photographing classes, I feel so fulfilled as I come to the end of my internship. This program not only strives to give their interns the best opportunities, but gives them the tools they need to succeed in whatever capacity their future holds. I am excited to enter the offices at 890 again, whenever that day might come, but until then, I will miss the hustle and bustle of the Education Department and saying hi to so many familiar faces. 

Emma Zordan 

Education & Media Intern 

Fall 2021 

Reminiscing on My ABT Experience

15 Jan

As I finish up my internship with the marketing department, I am reminiscing on the various projects that I did. I came into the internship wondering how I would fit into such a large organization and curious as to how I would be impactful to the organization. I would be lying if I said that I was worried about being swallowed by its structure. However, I can confidently say that not only was I not swallowed by it, but I could see the direct impact of my projects withing the organization.  

Each project I worked on were tailored to my interests and skills, so my projects did not necessarily mirror the other intern in my department. One of my projects involved improving a heat map of sold seats in past season that is filterable by both year and performance in excel. This not only improved my skills in excel but the sheet is now used to easily compare sales from different seasons by the Marketing Manager. My other projects involved anything from creating a comp ticket reservation system, to analyzing ABT social media content to find the best forms of content. These projects were equally impactful in the organization and were both educational and engaging. 

Each Friday all the interns gathered for a meeting which featured incredible guests. Some speakers included the dancers and directors from each department who gave a presentation, and we were offered the opportunity to ask questions. There were also master classes on resumes, cover letter writing, and interview strategies. 

After working with the marketing department for several months I can say that everyone in the company is very kind, welcoming, and knowledgeable about what they do. Interacting with other interns was equally special, we all came from unique backgrounds which offered great opportunities to meet and converse with peers that will be lifelong connections. 

Luckily, I was an intern during the fall season. Not only did I work many performances, but I attended several shows every week. When I was working it was wonderful interacting with patrons and other staff. It was an instance where I would be able to talk with staff members from the development, education, press, and other departments. When the lights dimmed, and the performance started it was a privilege to know that I was involved in creating this performance at Lincoln Center. 

Austin Rannestad 

Marketing Intern 

Fall 2021 

Pleasant Surprises from an Unexpected Detour: Broadening the Horizons of a Career in the Arts

5 Sep
My first experience with American Ballet Theatre was going to see Maria Kochetkova perform Swan Lake at the Metropolitan Opera House with my mother. I remember barely being able to keep still in my chair, wanting to pounce up and join in the choreography. I remember leaving Lincoln Center on the 1 Tain with the largest smile on my face, not only feeling more inspired than ever to keep dancing, but also that I could do anything if I put my mind to it.
My next experience with American Ballet Theatre was dancing in their three-week Collegiate Summer Intensive in the June of 2016. I soaked in every last moment of being in the studios; I was beginning my Freshman year of college in the Fall and I was getting too old for most Summer Intensives. A classmate had applied to be a counselor for the five-week intensive, and I thought that was something I would definitely be interested in.
The next Spring I composed an email to the Summer Intensive staff inquiring about the Summer Counselor position and was asked to come in for an interview. There, they asked if I would be interested in an internship for the summer with the JKO Pre-Professional Division.
It was incredibly unexpected: I was still only 18 and had only finished my first year of college. But through out my experience this summer, I drew from and continued to refine my knowledge of ballet education and organizational, administrative, and editing skills. I worked closely with the JKO staff preparing for the school year with the students’ registration, refining the student and faculty handbook policies, collecting inventory of the uniforms, and mailing out the teacher and accompanist contracts.
As the school is not in session during the summer I also had the opportunity to assist in other areas of ABT Education Offices, such as Project Plié and the multiple Summer Intensives happening both in NYC and across the United States.
With the internship program we also had other opportunities, such as an exchange program with Roundabout Theatre, a visit to DanceMedia’s Pointe Magazine, tickets to experience some of ABT’s Metropolitan Opera season, and even a backstage tour of the Met. On top of this, every week we would have intern meetings to hear from different departments of the organization and what comprises a career in arts administration: all the way from how ABT functions as a non-profit to grant writing. These lectures were incredibly eye opening for me, as previous to this summer I had only experience as a dancer; I learned of so many more ways the arts can be turned into a career.
Overall, I was immensely moved by the amount of effort ABT placed into the outreach of dance for the youth and in the local schools. In a time where the arts are struggling to remain relevant, ABT is at the forefront of the mission. At the Young People’s Ballet Workshop students from public schools from the NYC area poured into the Metropolitan Opera House to watch some of their peers perform alongside company dancers, and it thrilled me to see the amount of unconfined excitement buzzing in a room full of young students.
I saw them sitting in the seats where I watched ABT perform for the first time, and just looking at the gleam in their eyes and the uncontained smile of their faces that they also were not just inspired to move, but that they could accomplish anything they put their minds to as well.
It was an honor this summer to intern with American Ballet Theatre and to know, that in my small ways, I am helping young dancers to be inspired just as I was and I would recommend this opportunity to anyone interested in any form of arts administration.
Kasey Boekema
JKO School Intern
Summer 2017
Kasey Broekema is 19 years old entering her sophomore year at Columbia University studying dance and English.