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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


19 Jan

Working at ABT for the past three months has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I began with little office experience and a moderate dance background – I’m leaving with a much greater knowledge about the administrative side of a dance company and with a greater knowledge of the dance world.

I have to thank my mentor, Meghan Love, for making my time at ABT so wonderful. She walked me through the various jobs I would be given over the course of my internships and knew that I would get the job done. I’m a very fast worker and have since earned the nickname “Speedy,” now a running joke between Meghan and I. I learned something new almost every single day of my internship, ranging from where to file incomes and expenses to creating certificates for the newly certified NYU students. I have become very familiar with the database of teachers, having gone through most teachers to update their information.

During this internship, I have also had amazing opportunities to meet and get to know the interns from Roundabout Theatre Company. As a theatre major, learning about this major company from people who work there was amazing. It was also great to be around other interns and learn about their future plans and we each got to show a bit of our world to each other. We were also able to have a backstage tour of the Metropolitan Opera House with ABT’s General Manager, David Lansky. It was incredible to stand on that stage and think about all of the famous singers, dancers, and actors who have stood there.

Working at ABT this fall has truly been a dream come true. This internship has taught me a lot and has given me experiences that I will never forget. I’m proud to be an intern at this amazing company. My time here has reminded me of my love for dance and I have fallen in love with it all over again. ABT, thank you so much for this extraordinary opportunity.

Abbie Levison

National Training Curriculum Intern

Fall 2016

Opportunities Galore!

19 Jul

One would think being an intern at American Ballet Theatre, America’s National Ballet Company, would be opportunity enough. However, that is just the beginning! This summer during the 75th Anniversary season I am lucky enough to be a marketing intern for ABT. This includes working in the company’s offices and selling merchandise at The Metropolitan Opera House.

One of the first great parts of being intern at ABT is the intern exchange program. As part of an intern exchange program with the Roundabout Theatre Company we took a backstage tour of the Met with ABT’s general manager David Lansky, learned what it takes to tour a major ballet company around the world, and got to see the new restaging of The Sleeping Beauty by Alexei Ratmansky. But that’s not all.

Every week, all of the ABT interns gather for morning meetings and we are lucky enough to have guest speakers. We had the chance to meet former ABT Principal Dancer Ethan Stiefel, every dancer’s dream. He gave great insight into the transitions dancers make after their performance career. We also the pleasure to meet with Valentino Carlotti, who is on the Board of Trustees for ABT and Misty Copeland’s sponsor. Specifically he is the Co-Chair of the Finance Committee and is extremely involved with the company. He spoke about his background – where he went to school and his current career. However, his love for the arts and view on life was truly inspiring. Among his great advice he said, “You do have thoughts, ideas, and perspectives! Don’t be afraid to speak. Form your narrative”. Like I said, inspirational.

Lastly, the best thing about this internship is that I get to combine both of my majors and passions: arts administration and dance. Experts in both fields surround me and I’ve learned so much in such a short time. It’s a great time for time for dance and it’s a great time for summer internships.

Ashley Alvarez

Marketing Intern

Summer 2015

Ashley on the stage of the Met

Ashley on the stage of the Met

Roundabout Theatre Exchange: June 11, 2015

12 Jul

As part of ABT’s Summer Internship Program, ABT’s Interns and Roundabout Theatre Company’s Summer Interns joined each other for a night at the Metropolitan Opera House. This night, we saw American Ballet Theatre perform Alexei Ratmansky’s new production of The Sleeping Beauty with Sarah Lane as Princess Aurora and the dazzling Herman Cornejo as Prince Désiré.

We first met the other interns outside of the opera house at the fountain where we proceeded to take a group picture and continued on to meet ABT’s General Manager, David G. Lansky. He spoke with us about his responsibilities as the General Manager of company, and what his career at ABT and working in arts administration has been like for him. For me, it was incredible to hear about the amount of different tasks that David has, from figuring out the tours of the company, (ABT is a touring company after all) and what it takes to run ABT’s spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House. Along with this, it was great fun to hear about ABT’s experiences on tours in places such as Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Oman along with their upcoming tours.

After speaking with David for a short while, he proceeded to give us a tour of the backstage of the Metropolitan Opera House and he even took us on the stage. What a sight! It was incredible to be on the stage and taking in the view that many great dancers and opera singers have always had. It was also great to be on stage while ABT principal dancers were warming up behind us.

I can say that it was certainly a night to remember that finished with wonderful dancing and glorious music. It was only the beginning of ABT’s summer internship program and I look forward to what’s up ahead.

Iosu Bascaran

2015 Summer Membership Intern

ABT and Roundabout Theatre Interns before The Sleeping Beauty

ABT and Roundabout Theatre Interns before the June 11th performance of The Sleeping Beauty

A Night at the Theater!

11 May

ABT and Roundabout Theatre Company participate in an exchange in which the ABT interns meet Roundabout’s apprentices. One Wednesday after work, a group of us headed from ABT’s offices downtown to go about thirty blocks north to Roundabout’s offices. We walked into their administrative offices and sat in a large conference room with the apprentices to listen to Roundabout’s General Manager at the American Airlines Theatre speak to us about her career path and her job responsibilities at Roundabout. It was fascinating to hear a different perspective of the nonprofit arts management world and mentally compare the differences between theater and ballet.

For me personally, I was really interested in the gargantuan nature of Roundabout’s operations (they operate four venues – three of which are Broadway houses!) and to consider aspects of theater I hadn’t thought about, coming from a dance background. She spoke about the differences between working for nonprofit theaters like Roundabout and commercial theaters, and told us the back story behind Machinal’s opening night, when the motorized set broke down and stagehands had to manually push the set around for the rest of the show.

To cap off our exchange and our theater education for the day, all of us from ABT and Roundabout went to watch the current production at American Airlines Theatre, On the 20th Century starring Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher. After hearing from the General Manager about all the responsibilities of her job, negotiating contracts, creating budgets, and ensuring the production runs smoothly, it was a joy to see

her work come to life that night!

As ABT prepares for the pinnacle of its season, the eight-week residency at the Metropolitan Opera House, it’s nice to take a step back from the bustle of the office and take a trip to the theater.

Catherine Hsieh

Major Gifts Intern

Spring 2015

photo 2

Spring Interns Jeremy Leung, Chelsea Moskal and Catherine Hsieh outside the American Airlines Theater

Spring Interns Jeremy Leung, Chelsea Moskal and Catherine Hsieh outside the American Airlines Theater

A Week in the Life of an ABT Education and Training Intern

3 Dec


The energy of the JKO students fills the air as they arrive at the Koch Theater for the Fall Gala. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the JKO School and the 75th Anniversary of ABT, the JKO students are opening the gala with a piece choreographed for them by Alexei Ratmansky, Pièce d’Occasion. With other current and former interns, I lead the students and their parents up the stairs to watch the dress rehearsal of the company’s pieces for the gala. Once everyone is in their seats, I sit down to watch the rehearsal of a brand new piece by Liam Scarlett, With a Chance of Rain. I’m captivated by the dancers and enjoy the opportunity to see the dance come together with the orchestra’s music. After the rehearsal is finished, I lead a group of anxious students to a hallway where they await their turn on the stage. The 140 students jump up and down, both to warm up their feet and try to rid themselves of their nerves. They have no reason to be nervous, however; their piece is beautiful and highlights their strong technique while evoking the speed with which childhood passes. Once they finish their rehearsal, we take the students through the maze-like hallways backstage to a studio downstairs until the performance begins. At 6:30, nerves abound as we lead the students back up to the wings of the stage, where they receive last-minute words of encouragement from Kevin McKenzie. After the piece has finished to enthusiastic applause, we make sure the students are checked out of the theater, before emerging from the stage door ourselves back into the reality of the outside world.


I’m back at Lincoln Center, this time as an audience member at a performance of Raymonda Divertissements, Jardin aux Lilas, and Fancy Free. Before the performance, the ABT interns met apprentices from the Roundabout Theatre Company for dinner and networking, discussing the similarities and differences between working at non-profit theatre and dance organizations. Now, sitting in the audience chatting with Roundabout apprentices before the curtain goes up, I find it hard to believe that last night I was backstage in the wings at this time; the two worlds seem so different. The performance is delightful, and I especially enjoy the chance to see Fancy Free, which I had been reading about a few weeks ago at the office as I helped make worksheets about Fancy Free for ABT’s Make a Ballet outreach program.


Today finds me at the office, and I have time to respond to a few emails before heading to the weekly intern meeting. Today we’re working on interview skills, and after discussing how to prepare for an interview and common questions asked, we launch into a game of “Interview Jeopardy.” Interns take turns selecting “Good,” “Bad,” or “Ugly” cards and responding to the questions they contain, which range from “Tell me about yourself” to “Why were you fired?” I’m unlucky enough to get two of the “ugliest” questions, but we all get a good laugh over them and learn how not to respond in awkward situations. After our meeting, I work on finishing up research sheets on influential people from the 1940s that students in the Make a Ballet program will study and use as inspiration for their own ballets. Once this is done, I create a flyer describing the internship program to be used at a career fair at NYU later in the day and work on updating the Intern Alumni Database that I recently created. Overall, it’s been an exciting week at ABT as the fall season began. I have learned so much already about arts administration and education and look forward to seeing what the rest of the semester holds.

Isabel McGrory-Klyza

Educational Outreach Intern

Fall 2014

Injury Prevention and Cabaret!

4 Aug

My summer as an intern at ABT has been a unique one because I am hoping to pursue a career in Performing Arts Medicine, which is not an aspiration that many ABT interns have. Having the opportunity to intern for the National Training Curriculum has been one of the best experiences that I could have imagined. As an NTC intern, I worked with Meghan Love, Tiffany Williams, and Molly Schnyder on preparing and executing the Summer 2014 teacher training sessions all around the world. The National Training Curriculum is a program that allows dance teachers to become ABT certified and learn how to make their students healthy dancers. To me, this means that they are learning a way to help prevent injury while still making sure that their students are keeping up technically, so I couldn’t have asked for a better fit for my interests!

One of the things that I enjoyed the most about my time as an ABT intern was the intern swap that we had with the Roundabout Theatre company interns. An “intern swap” means that there was one night where all of the ABT interns and all of the Roundabout interns met for dinner and went to see “The Dream” at the Met. Two weeks later, we all met up for dinner again and they took us to see “Cabaret.” It was great to meet other interns and hear about their future plans and aspirations, and have the opportunity to show them a bit of what it’s like being an ABT intern, and then they got to give us a glimpse of what they do.

Thank you to the American Ballet Theatre for giving me a wonderful internship experience!

Lisa Brachfeld

National Training Curriculum Intern

Summer 2014

ABT and the Roundabout Theatre Company

3 Jun

Being a part of American Ballet Theatre’s Internship program is truly a learning experience, an inclusive one of camaraderie and support rather than an isolated one of “fetch me my morning coffee” or “stuff these envelopes.” Interns here are not simply plotted within their specialty to perform one-track tasks, but are invited to experience ABT as a whole, through company-wide intern meetings, seminars, and events. Through this, interns are able to experience extra opportunities than one would first imagine.

One of the opportunities for us interns this semester is the collaboration that ABT’s Internship program has established with Roundabout Theatre Company’s Apprentice program. After a couple of different interactions between ABT’s interns and Roundabout’s apprentices, we have been exposed to opportunities that we never would have known of if we had remained only within ABT. Through a talk-back with both ABT’s and Roundabout’s Company Managers, as well as a group outing to one of Roundabout’s hit musical revivals, Violet, we have been able to cross-reference and learn about how running a ballet organization differs (and aligns) with running other arts organizations, such as a musical theatre company. For someone like me who comes from a musical theatre background, I have been fortunate enough to be able to learn about running an organization whose product isn’t music theatre, but I have also been grateful for the partnership with Roundabout, which has only further enhanced my experience in ABT’s Internship program.

Roundabout Theatre Company very recently opened a revival of Jeanine Tesori’s Violet, starring Broadway princess, Sutton Foster. As the entire company readied the American Airlines Theater for its opening, Roundabout was kind enough to invite ABT’s interns to a preview of the show, preceded by a meeting and dinner with the Roundabout apprentices. As we entered the American Airlines Theater, we were shown to the VIP lounge, located above the house. Here, we were able to have conversations and learn more about how Roundabout runs their apprentice program. Being able to talk with other Performing Arts Administration professionals and also with young professionals who are just starting their careers–like many of us interns at ABT–was an eye-opening experience. Being able to cultivate relationships within and beyond ABT is a huge advantage to those who want to make Arts Administration their career. Through networking programs, in addition to all ABT has to offer within their offices, I believe ABT wants us to see that “knowledge is power.” ABT’s reputation and connections only enhance the intern experience and truly pushes the interns to absorb as much as possible, in order to jumpstart an intricate and multi-faceted career. For these experiences, I am grateful.

Violet on Broadway at the Roundabout Theatre Company

Violet on Broadway at the Roundabout Theatre Company

Jenna Jacobs

Majors Gifts Intern

Spring 2014