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The Next Step at ABT

15 Feb

In June of 2022 I walked out of the Metropolitan Opera House basically speechless after seeing ABT’s Of Love and Rage. My mother and I couldn’t stop talking about the beauty and intensity we saw on stage that day. Shortly after, I saw that internship applications were open at ABT, and my heart skipped a beat. I could never imagine working where some of my favorite ballets were performed, and it became possible just then.

Cut to September, and I am having my first of many intern meetings. These meetings are designed to give you professional development opportunities, and also connect you with many leaders in the company. Hearing the stories of others in the arts field was inspirational. I was able to see how they used their business or communication backgrounds to succeed in a performing arts space, how they were able to channel these skills to further the message of ABT.

Each day I worked closely with my mentor and the rest of the Press Department. From the beginning, each member of the department was so welcoming, and I was able to dive right into projects and tasks. I worked on collecting article mentions of ABT in the press, finding press contacts, and my favorite part: writing. I have always found writing to be an interest of mine, and I was really able to exercise this skill during my internship. Whether it was pitches, press releases, or media alerts, the team gave me so many opportunities to write and edit. Through reading, writing, and researching I was able to get so much information and history about ABT, which was so rewarding for me as someone who used to dance.

What was most exciting for me during these past few months was being a part of ABT’s Fall season. As an intern, we got tickets to see many of the shows, but as part of the press department I was able to see so much more of what goes on behind the scenes. Throughout the season I saw rehearsals, photoshoots, and worked with the press and photographers for the Fall Gala. Being able to witness these performances and rehearsals was so special to me, but was also a moment of professional growth. I saw how the press department and the press interact, and the process by which an article or review about the company gets published.

Overall, this internship was so incredible for my personal and professional growth. I got so much hands-on experience with Public Relations and communications, but I also found how special it is to work for a nonprofit, and to work for an organization with a clear mission. As someone in business school, working somewhere like ABT wasn’t something originally on my radar, but through this internship I was able to see the impact of performing arts organizations, and I am truly grateful for this experience and everything that it taught me.

Mia Brown

Press Intern

Fall 2022

A Summer of Learning, Joy, and Kindness 

22 Aug

As a lifelong dancer, New Yorker, and writer, with developing passions for journalism and communications, the ABT Press Internship was the ideal opportunity. The tasks I took on were familiar enough to confirm and fuel my passions, while also challenging enough to prompt questions and learn a lot about the inner workings of the Press Department. There is so much to share about my summer with ABT, so I will focus this post on three main pillars of my work: being at the Met, writing On Point articles, and working in Cision. Day-to-day, I also completed lots of smaller projects to support my mentor and the rest of the team that included organization, research, and polishing/updating many different types of documents, in addition to Zoom meetings and the occasional photoshoot. Every day, my mentor and the rest of the Press team were always accessible and more than happy to answer all my questions (do ask questions!!!) They worked their hardest to offer me every opportunity available and responded to my feedback about the types of projects I was interested in. From day one, they not only trusted me with their work, but also confidential information. I truly felt like another member of the team—very far from a coffee fetcher.  

At least once a week during the Summer Met season, I was able to join a member of the Press team at the theater to hand out press tickets and/or escort photographers and videographers. Handing out press tickets was very much a game of coordination with company management and reviewers, and then also a great way to learn names and faces as the same reporters showed up show after show. When photographers or videographers came to capture content for archival or media purposes, they frequently had questions about the production or specific dancers that the Press team answers. This was a learning curve at first, because as an intern, I was in the same information desert the reporter was in, but I quickly learned how to think on my feet and get them the information they needed. A huge plus of helping at the Met was getting the chance to watch performances and rehearsals of each ballet!  

After talking to my mentor about wanting to work on more writing intensive projects, one of my supervisors tasked me with working on two different articles for the Fall On Point newsletter! One article was entirely prose on two Fall season ballets, which I researched and wrote, and the other was an interview between a choreographer and dancer, which I transcribed and condensed. Getting to work on both was a great exercise in writing for both information and commercial purposes (we want people to come to the ballets!) and in editing based on feedback from my supervisors, all while writing about stuff I love! I expect it to be super rewarding to see my work in print, knowing it has gone out to ABT members everywhere, and will motivate people to get excited about the Fall season.  

Working in Cision may have been a less glamourous duty than the Met or On Point articles, but equally rewarding, informative, and a great learning experience. Cision is the website the Press department uses to monitor and organize mentions of ABT in the press. Each day I worked (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) I went through articles from the past days and tagged them according to their content. A few times throughout the summer, I worked with my mentor to organize them into a newsletter, complete with images, blurbs, and a high level of organization, to be sent out to ABT staff, dancers, and administration. This task was something I never considered the Press team was responsible for but is a critical aspect of the department. I learned that the role of the department is not just to facilitate ABT obtaining and making the most out of press opportunities, but also to keep everyone in the company informed of how they are being portrayed in external media.  

Before closing, I’ll add that in addition to how fabulous each individual department is, the intern program itself was awesome. Naomi and Julie are great resources and knew how to bring in other great resources to talk to the interns during our weekly meetings about all things arts administration. They communicate just enough to preserve our independence but let us know we are still supported and appreciated. Spending the summer with ABT was an incredible opportunity for so many reasons. If you are thinking about applying, do it! 

Sarah Weiner  

Press Intern

Summer 2022 

My ABT Journey

7 Jun

After applying for ABT I was pleasantly surprised to receive an interview for the press department since I did not have any previous experience working in press. I was a little hesitant and nervous before starting the internship because of my lack of experience. However, I am astounded by how much I enjoyed working within press and how much I learned along the way. I had so many wonderful opportunities that provided me with an amazing and educational journey.

I believe I accomplished so much at ABT in just a few months. In addition to creating the weekly newsletters I was responsible for collecting press clippings, updating the media email list, pulling quotes, monitoring press, transcribing interviews, editing a dance reel for Single Eye and pitching press ideas. I also had the chance to strengthen my writing abilities by working on press releases, articles for On Pointe and media alerts. One of the best experiences I had was attending and assisting with an in person Photoshoot with Departures Magazine. It was so exciting and cool to watch the dancers pose for this shoot and being able to help assist.

I am so thankful for Delia, Susie, Laura, Lourdes and Kelly for being so welcoming, helpful and caring. My contributions and suggestions were always valued and appreciated. Anytime I expressed interest in working in a certain area my team went out of their way to assign me with projects that matched my interests. I always felt excited and intrigued about my projects and everyday brought something new and unique that I got to work on. I am so happy I was able to help out within the press department and feel like I was making an impact on ABT. I am grateful for this experience and I am going to miss being a part of ABT’s team!

Nicole Quinn

Press Intern

Spring 2022

An Amazing Journey with the Press Team at ABT

2 Mar

It has been a wonderful journey. ABT makes me feel like I’m living in a dream. I still remember the first interview I had with the press team as if everything happened yesterday. 

There are too many impressive moments that I have experienced during these three short months. Along with weekly press clips, I wrote pitches, blog posts, media email lists, interview questions, fall season pull quotes, creative team bios, and proofread press releases and the Impact Report. Thanks to my mentor Delia’s unconditional help, I have honed a comprehensive knowledge of how press and PR contribute to the performing arts field. The Fall season was incredible. The shows warmed my heart indeed. The great elements presented what America’s biggest and most famous ballet theater should look like. I am super proud to become a member of the ABT community. 

The press team is small, but full of love and warmness. My mentor Delia has been teaching me so much and patiently answering my thousands of questions every week; Kelly is very considerate about us and always makes clear, quick, and smart decisions, she’s definitely my career icon! Laura is super nice and sweet as always; Lourdes is the great leader, always so generous and helpful; Susie is very independent and cooperative. Everyone has been taking good care of me and we always successfully make the best scenario happen. 

However, every journey has an ending. We must close the door to open a new one. I am already lucky enough and super grateful to have the chance to work with and have learned so much from my team. I am and will always be cherishing this journey with ABT, carrying all these wonderful and unforgettable experiences to my future endeavors. The pleasure is all mine. 

Isabella Sun

Press Intern

Fall 2021

Following ABT Across America as a Press Intern

24 Jul

While 20 American Ballet Theatre dancers and 28 staff crew drove across the country for ABT Across America, I had an opportunity to follow the journey by piecing together the press of the tour. Each week I compiled a variety of press clips to send off to the ABT community, a small but fulfilling task knowing the newsletter would soon be delivered to dancers, staff, and board members. During the three weeks of ABT Across America, most of the circulating press focused on the tour. With an acceleration of blogs, magazines, news channels, and podcasts highlighting the tour, I began to see how to process of press brought the whole thing together.

While the first stop in Lincoln, Nebraska began on July 1st, the Press team had begun planning much earlier. Even before I was welcomed in this summer, the team was reaching out to outlets both national and local to cover stories on the tour. The unique performances could be pitched in different ways, from a style story to a travel blog. No matter the angle, the concept of a cross-country ballet tour on a stage converted from an 18-wheeler truck made for a great story. I had the opportunity to pitch multiple travel blogs about the tour, and ultimately learned the satisfaction of receiving one response among many attempted pitches. Persistence is key.  I watched the press unfold from the calendar announcements to broadcasters highlighting the growing crowds, and finally to the glowing reviews that applauded ABT’s successful performance. From start to finish, ABT Across America’s opening night was highly anticipated and victoriously carried out, with many comparing the show’s energy to that of a rock concert. With seven more stops, I was intrigued to discover how new cities presented the tour.

Of all tour stops, I was most excited for Millennium Park in Chicago. I may be biased living in the area, but I was thrilled to see how the press could capture a performance set before 10,000 people, and one that welcomed live performances back in Chicago. The news was rolling out, with media from Time Out and Chicago Sun-Times sharing the event with my community. I started to see the power of digital media in bringing the crowd together. As the word spread and social media captured the attention of Chicago natives, all 10,000 seats would quickly be claimed.

ABT Across America was unlike any ballet performance I had heard about. The shows, mostly free, were brought to many cities that rarely attract ballet performances. As a summer intern, not only did I learn more about the ballet industry from a marketing and press perspective, but I also saw firsthand the efforts of ABT to produce a tour that actively shares ballet with the community through accessible and engaging performances.

I did not expect going into the internship that I would have the opportunity to help gather and share the press of a national tour, especially one so unique and ambitious. I am thankful for the Press team and to my mentor Delia, who gave me thoughtful opportunities and shared with me the world of ballet as it can be presented and admired through the power of the press.

Grace Robinson

Press Intern

Summer 2021

It’s the Small Stuff: A Semester with ABT

21 Jun

We’re always told not to sweat the small stuff, and while I agree with this when it comes to feeling bad about not holding the door open for someone or the typo in the email you sent to your professor, sometimes I think it’s important to sweat the small stuff. 

This semester interning with American Ballet Theatre has given me an insider’s look into America’s National Ballet Company® in a way I never could’ve expected a year ago. Pre-pandemic, as a student at Syracuse University, if I wanted to intern with a company based out of New York City, I had to be in New York City. But with the world of remote work being what it is now, I got the fantastic opportunity to work with ABT right from my apartment on Euclid Ave in Syracuse, NY. 

Yes, being a remote worker has its challenges, but for me, I’ve chosen to relish in all the small things – having Diva, the piccolo player, recognize your face on Zoom, seeing the edit you made make it into the press release or being invited to that extra meeting on a Monday afternoon.

The grammatical nerd in me also loves that American Ballet Theatre does not use “the” before its name. It is not theAmerican Ballet Theatre, just American Ballet Theatre. This level of detail is the kind of small stuff I love sweating because it shows that a word as small as “the” can make such a difference when it comes to company identity and brand consistency. 

When it comes to my intern responsibilities, I had a healthy balance between the small stuff and the big stuff – “stuff” being the nontechnical term, of course. This “small stuff” included press clippings and sending out a weekly newsletter with that week’s press mentions. And while I may have enjoyed the more substantial and comprehensive projects a little more, I recognize that even with the small stuff it is important to put my best foot forward. Being able to complete the small stuff effectively and efficiently takes something off my supervisor’s plate and establishes me as a valuable asset to the team. As a student, just under a year out from graduating, this lesson is one I will take with me from here on out. 

And having put the work into the small stuff, when rewarded for the big stuff, it is all worth it, everything seems to fall into place. For instance, after writing a blog post about International Women’s Day for ABT’s Sidebarre, I received a shoutout in the company-wide Friday email. This email landed in my inbox directly next to the press mentions newsletter that I had just sent out myself. It all just fit together. 

To end, I would argue ABT also sweats the small stuff. Being an intern for the span of four short months – I was small stuff. Even so, my mentors (shoutout Delia!!), team and cohort provided me with a fantastic semester where I learned lots and was given the chance to work in an area I am passionate about. Here’s to sweating the small stuff and turning it into big opportunities!

Samantha Aaronson

Press Intern

Spring 2021

A Semester as an ABT Virtual Intern

12 Dec

In January, I nervously walked up the steps of 890 Broadway to interview to be a summer intern with the American Ballet Theatre. The energy there was incredibly bright and moving. It was amazing to see the artists and the arts administrators, side by side, simultaneously working together to bring new creations into the world!

However, by February, the whole world had begun to shut down. At this time, ABT had canceled the Spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House and I had no idea what my internship would look like!

Thankfully, as the world transitioned to all online, I was still able to complete my internship as a virtual intern for the Fall 2020 season. Although I was nervous to see what kind of work I would be doing as a virtual intern, I knew that being a part of one of the greatest ballet companies in the world during this unprecedented time would give me the opportunity to learn about how to continue to create art in this new virtual landscape.

This fall season had such unique and interesting challenges and successes! ABT has some of the greatest minds within its administration and it was a privilege to learn from those within my team, Delia Brengel, Kelly Ryan, and Laura Miller, as the company navigated the loss of theaters and live performances. I quickly learned there are no bad questions, or suggestions as they welcomed me to share my ideas and thoughts about how to push an important story further, and in front of more eyes than had ever seen ABT before.

Each day I would wake up excited to get my hands on new projects such as the Moving Stories: ABT Film Festival, the new ABT: Kitchen cookbook, children’s books Boy’s Dance and B is for Ballet and ABT Today: The Future Starts Now virtual celebration. As a virtual press and public relations intern I was able to hone my communications and writing skills, by writing pitches, and brainstorming about the best way to share these new creations with its eagerly awaiting audience.

As a press intern this season I have felt truly connected to ABT’s mission to bring ballet to the widest possible audience, and cannot wait to continue to utilize all the skills I have learned here.

Kendall Butler

Press Intern

Fall 2020