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New Perspectives

22 Aug

Growing up as a violinist, the closest interaction I had with ballet was playing in the orchestra pit, barely seeing the dancers above me. As an arts administration student, I had only just scratched the surface of what it means to be in a development department through class and one other previous internship. My time at ABT gave me new perspectives on both the ballet world and development work. 

One of the best perks of being an ABT intern is obviously the chance to see each performance. Though I have very little understanding of dance still, I was fascinated by the beautiful dancers and the precision with which they moved. It was also fun to see how the music I was so familiar with was interpreted on stage. My favorite performance was of Swan Lake with Gillian Murphy. Moreover, I gained a fuller picture on why people loved the ballet so much and why they wanted to donate to this cause.  

I learned even more about how and why people give through my work in Patron Services. Because Patron Services works with every department of Development, I was able to learn from so many people, especially those in Major Gifts and Membership. Seeing my colleagues speak to and about donors and having a wealth of knowledge about their preferences was so interesting; they knew which program might excite which donor and who loved which dancer as if they were friends. The experience really reinforced the idea of development being relationship building. 

Though I was often learning on the spot, my supervisor Lauren did an excellent job guiding me through tasks that were time-sensitive and demanded accuracy. She was kind, encouraging, and showed me not only what good teamwork looks like, but also how I want to treat others should I have people working under me in the future. I hope every ABT intern has a supervisor as amazing as her! 

I am so grateful for my time at ABT. I learned so much, got to see amazing performances and meet equally amazing people. Thank you so much Lauren, Devo team, and ABT for an awesome summer! 

Monet Takeda  

Patron Services Intern (Development)

Summer 2022 

Improvising with ABT

8 Aug

My department, Patron Services, was entirely in flux due to the pandemic, so I spent a summer improvising with ABT. Without the ability to bring people beautiful productions in person, my boss told me, we would be pivoting to something of a media company, bringing the ballet home through videos, audio, and personal correspondence with patrons. Thus, I spent my summer editing dancer videos, designing letters to send to donors, sorting through recordings of ABT online interviews and other events to ensure that they would be accessible for everyone.

It was hard to escape the feeling of witnessing some kind of history, sitting in on development meetings at a storied American institution during such a pivotal moment in our time. ABT did an incredible job of including interns in most discussions and events within our departments, making us feel like part of the team and allowing us to listen in on discussions about all the various challenges for ABT during our time. I heard conversations about social movements, Black Lives Matter, the impending recession, ways to retain engagement during the time of social distancing—all through the lens of a sprawling cultural nonprofit.

As such, ABT did an incredible job showing us what it takes behind the scenes to make those incredible performances possible. The nonprofit world was demystified by the end of the summer, and I became aware of jobs within a nonprofit that I didn’t even know existed. This, supplemented with the zoom calls we had with notable people within the company and across the dance world, provided me with the tools to make an informed career choice when I graduate next year. It is an incredible feeling to discover that one can work in various, fascinating roles in the arts, even if one does not exactly have the balance and grace to dance.


Sarisha Kurup

Patron Services Intern

Summer 2020