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My Time at ABT

29 Aug

It is hard to believe that my time interning at ABT has come to an end. It has been an incredible experience seeing how this non-profit organization runs, from the dazzling performances on the Met stage, to the private auctions with donors and board members. If you are someone who is thinking of applying for an internship, please do so! Here is what I took away from my summer internship at ABT in Manhattan:

The incredible staff! I had the privilege of working in the development suite with an incredibly welcoming and hardworking group of people. From day one they were eager to meet the interns and were so accommodating to all our busy schedules. Each day when I came to work, Roseanne at the front desk greeted me with a friendly ‘good morning’ and everyone smiled. ABT works very hard ‘behind the scenes’ to put on such fabulous performances, and I appreciated that. It was eye-opening seeing how much time, effort, and most of all, money, goes into making this organization what it is. However, just like every ballet performance, all the hard work happens in studios and behind the curtain, and in this case, downtown at the office as well.

My specific internship! I worked in patron ticketing, which allowed me to process tickets from many major donors and learn the importance of staying organized. It is crucial that the exact amount of tickets with the proper seats for each specific ABT donor is precise and correct. I learned about ABT’s process for communicating with the Metropolitan Opera House and David H. Koch Theater, the preparation that occurs during off and performance seasons, and the database that holds the precious information. Most of my work consisted of data entry into ABT’s system, but there were also times when I interned at the Met Opera House. These days were my favorite days, not only because I gracefully walked upon the scarlet carpet, but because I saw my hard work come alive. The opera house events were where I met the donors for which I had been processing and packaging tickets and watched the ballerinas perform.

Dina Resnick

Patron Ticketing Intern

Summer 2017

 

A little about me:

I am entering my senior year of college studying finance and marketing with a minor in theatre. My passion for theatre and dance inspired me to seek career opportunities in these industries, and it has been an absolute pleasure interning for ABT. I always loved ballet (I took lessons for 12 years) but knew I didn’t want to perform for a living. You don’t have to give up the things you love just because you become an adult. This industry is where I belong, and it is inspiring because the arts are filled with great people who have passion.

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Third Time’s the Charm

29 Aug

One story that I am always hesitant to tell at first is the one about how exactly I landed at ABT during the summer of 2017. But, I feel that there is no better way for me to express how honored and grateful I am to be one of the interns selected for this semester:

I had first applied to be an intern the summer after my freshman year of college (2015) and had received an email months later about how my application had been rejected. “No matter,” I told myself. After all, I still had so many years of school left to go and I could “always apply again.” Well, I definitely did keep to my word and applied for a second time two years later. As you may have guessed, I was rejected- yet again. Finally, I decided to apply for a third time and told myself that if I didn’t get it this time around, I would give up and move on to other interests. However, to my surprise, I was checking my email one day when I noticed a message from the Special Events Manager saying that she was having trouble contacting me. Long story short, I had gotten the internship!

I’m proud to say that after my time here at ABT, it was worth the wait! I have been so lucky to have wonderful mentors (Claire and Gwen!) who always made sure that I knew exactly why I was doing something, what it would be used for, and how I could accomplish my task. I can honestly say that everyone at ABT has been more than willing to help interns learn about the organization or a specific department. From my time at ABT, I had the chance to experience first hand things like how to staff a dress rehearsal and consider each step of the event planning process.

Lastly, I would like to say that the weekly intern meetings are an important aspect of ABT’s internship program that really make it stand out from the rest. These meetings allowed us to meet people in other departments and talk about not just job duties, but also their career trajectory and the steps along the way to their current position. They were also really important because it showed me that ABT was investing in our education/learning. They weren’t just looking for an extra set of hands to help out- they were genuinely committed to our professional development so that we can work in all spheres of performing arts administration and the non-profit sector even after our time at 890. 

Jennifer Ly

Special Events Intern

Summer 2017

A Plethora of Extraordinary Experiences

27 Aug
When thinking about my time at ABT as the Special Events intern, a plethora of extraordinary experiences come to mind, such as staffing the variety of special events held at the Met throughout the season, working the membership table for performances, or the exchange events with The Roundabout Theatre Company and Dance Magazine.
One thing I particularly loved about ABT is the internship program itself. As there were so many of us, 14 in total, I had the ability to bond with wonderful people from across the country, many of whom I now consider good friends. The program itself gave me a sneak peek into the different departments of ABT, such as Institutional Support, Finance, Company Management, and many more. Therefore, even though we spent a majority of time within our respective departments, the program gave us exposure to areas of the company we knew little about and might consequently be interested in. Ultimately, although we might have interned in one department, a presentation may have peaked our interest in another department, which we could pursue later in life.
As mentioned above, the Special Events intern gets unprecedented access to the Met unlike any of the other interns. That being said, I got to know the Met on a deeper level, becoming friends with the ushers and security guards (shout out to Carmela and Miguel!), serving patrons, and watching some events, such as dress rehearsals and seminars with the dancers and artistic staff. Being a theater lover all around, I am convinced I was in heaven! Aside from working at the Met and projects related to the Met events, I worked on various projects for the Fall Gala, a large research project on the Junior Council, and many tasks for the Junior Turnout event in the Fall. These projects gave insight into the timeline of preparing for large scale events, how the little things I do drastically improve events or documents, and gave me an overall appreciation for everything that goes into this successful company.
To wrap up, I had the most incredible summer experience. The relaxed, yet professional, and genuinely kind company culture made me love walking through the door. I was always greeted with a smile from Roseanne, the office receptionist. I was given an in-depth glimpse into what it takes to run a successful arts organization, understood the Met and the process of stage work on a much deeper level, learned a lot about myself and ABT as a whole. I cannot wait to see the Fall season at the Koch Theatre with all of my new found knowledge and experiences!’
Louise Brownell
Special Events Intern
Summer 2017

It’s More than Just an Office Job – My Experience as an ABT Intern

22 Aug

Working for the National Training Curriculum at American Ballet Theatre this summer has been amazing. Unlike some of my past internships, ABT has provided me with experiences that go beyond the development of basic professional skills. Weekly intern meetings allowed opportunities to learn more about non-profits and how to create the perfect resume. Outings to Pointe Magazine Headquarters and the Roundabout Theatre Company expanded my knowledge regarding potential careers in the arts. In addition, speaking with numerous ABT employees helped me network and working alongside the other interns provided me with lifelong friendships. Frequent trips to the Metropolitan Opera House were awe inspiring and validated the hard work that happens at 890 Broadway. Besides the computer, communication and organizational skills that I developed in the office, I also got to meet ballet teachers from all over the world during the training sessions.

After almost three months of amazing experiences however, there is one that stands out from the rest. It was the end of the day during one of our training sessions and I was the only person in the office. The teachers were preparing for their last class of the day in which they would be observing a group of young dancers. As I was printing programs for the Young People’s Ballet Workshop, I happened to look up and see a mother and her young daughter. The mother came over to me with pleading eyes and asked if I knew anyone that could do her daughters hair for class. Luckily, I have danced for years and have conjured countless ballet buns. I told the mother I could do it and watched her face flood with relief. Sitting the little girl in my office chair, I twirled and pinned and twirled and pinned until she was adorned with a perfect ballet bun. They both thanked me profusely and headed off to class.

This moment is so memorable to me because I think it really shows what ABT is all about. It does not matter if you have been a part of the dance world for your entire life or are brand new; ABT brings people together and facilitates a love and appreciation for the arts. Whether it is the Education or Finance Department, student or member of the company, they all work together seamlessly towards a common mission. Doing the little girls hair for class made me feel like I was part of something bigger, and that is what it is like working for American Ballet Theatre.

Lindsey Jacquier

National Training Curriculum Intern

Summer 2017

Beauty and Chaos- ABT’s Met Season

22 Aug

“Why ABT?”  This was the first question I was asked when I interviewed for my position at ABT. Bouncing from art galleries to museums to magazines, I admit applying for ABT was an anomaly among anomalies. But after a summer of working in the Major Gifts department, I can definitely say that I’m beyond grateful they took a chance on me. My first day was at the end of May and everybody was already deep into the hectic Met Season, a string of eight weeks where ABT puts on eight different ballets at the Metropolitan Opera House. If you get the chance to take a summer internship with ABT and experience the wonderful chaos that is the Met Season, do not hesitate to accept it. I dove in head first, working shows, luncheons, auctions, board meetings, backstage tours, you name it. I got to meet a few major donors and talk with them, tour the Opera House with my all-knowledgeable mentor who told me fun facts about the founding of the opera, the famous Met Opera chandeliers, and the inner workings of the immense building, and I got to step out onto the stage and see what the dancers saw every night. I got to walk backstage while Hee Seo was warming up, and see Devon Teuscher dance the Black Swan in Swan Lake from backstage and see her run off laughing, care free. Almost more exciting, I got to hear the news firsthand when she was promoted to principal dancer. I got to see Misty Copeland dance an excerpt from Swan Lake and see her perform in The Golden Cockerel. I went from having little to no exposure, to seeing six different shows and having daily interaction with dancers and dance fanatics. Admittedly when the Met season ended things slowed down. But my time was spent conducting research and walking through the studios amidst all of the summer programs while the halls filled with music and the sound of pointe shoes hitting the floor. How can work ever be boring when your office is half-office space half-rehearsal space?

ABT has taught me invaluable knowledge about ballet but they have also nurtured and grown indispensable skills. Research, writing, communication, Excel and Word efficiency, attention to detail, even learning how to use Raiser’s Edge, are all skills that I have had to use in the past and will need to use in the future. They are skills that one never truly masters but is constantly improving, and my experience with ABT has sharpened them immensely. Not only did I learn how Major Gifts operates, and for a company as big and renowned as ABT, but through the internship program and our weekly meetings I learned about the other departments as well and even got to experience some of the inner workings of the Roundabout Theatre Company and Pointe Magazine. An internship with ABT is all about growth, about learning new things, trying new things, and enjoying what you do. Dance is about passion from every angle, even those who work in dance share a passion for it and that is what makes working for ABT so great. Everyone loves what they do and they do it because they love it. Even those who don’t dance themselves (like me) can enjoy and treasure a position at ABT. There is so much more to the company and so much to learn and experience, you will not regret an internship here.

 

Baylee McKeel

Major Gifts Intern

Summer 2017

Ballet and Beanie Baby Basketball

31 Jul

“How do you feel about going on a field trip on Thursday?” Dennis Walters, the Associate Director of Education and Training, asked one afternoon in March. I was here to learn so whatever it was, I knew that it would be valuable for me to observe. Dennis soon explained that he would be going to the City Hall with Ebonie Pittman, the Manager of Institutional Support. She is in charge of corporate sponsorships and grants at American Ballet Theatre and they scheduled a meeting with one of New York City’s Council Members. The meeting would hopefully convince the councilmember to support ABT’s outreach programs with his flexible funds to enrich arts in the schools in his district. I was taking a class on fundraising and grants so this was the perfect opportunity for me to get a glimpse of what a meeting would look like. Then Dennis added a cherry on top to an already exciting day when he asked “I’m going to the Metropolitan Opera that afternoon for a meeting after that. Do you want to come to the meeting?” My answer, of course, was a yes!

 

Thursday came around and Dennis, Ebonie and I got on the train to head to the City Hall. As they reviewed the folder full of data and information on the subway, I was excited to be able to connect what I learned in class to a real funding meeting. The meeting itself was brief but Ebonie and Dennis articulated the importance of arts programs and the results of ABT’s outreach programs through its 20 years’ history. As we left the office, I asked Dennis and Ebonie when the funding would be secured and learned that we may not know until August or September. While it may seem like a last minute decision before the school year, knowing that the students would ultimately benefit from the program would surpass the inconvenience of uncertainty.

 

We then headed to the Metropolitan Opera House. I was in awe of the beautiful chandeliers and it was even more special to see it when the house was empty. Representatives from the Metropolitan Opera, ABT’s Special Events, Company Management and Education Departments gathered to align all the events that were scheduled for the Met Season. They went through each event and confirmed that everyone was on the same page with room arrangements, catering, and even smallest procedures. While it may seem tedious, it was important to prevent any confusion on the day of the event when there are patrons and audiences in the house.

 

Of course this was one of many exciting days. To name a few others, I helped out at donor events, assisted final performances at Make a Ballet schools, helped teach a Make a Ballet Administration class at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, witnessed kids’ excitement as they were about to step onto the stage for Young People’s Ballet Workshop at the Met, sat in on a company wide meeting, and delivered pre-performance workshop materials to the Met. Even a monotonous day at the office was made interesting by flying cupcake beanie babies. (Long story short, they were bought for a pre-performance workshop for Whipped Cream and they are the perfect size to be catapulted across the office without hurting anyone. Don’t be alarmed when you’re in the office and there’s a cupcake beanie baby or an angry bird plushy in the air! Dennis will launch one into the air when you least expect it and an impromptu basketball game might ensue. As Dennis says, all ABT interns learn how to catch because you don’t want your face to end up being a backboard.) From exciting field trips to working in the office, I am so grateful to say that my time as an intern at ABT was full of opportunities to learn and fulfilling.

 

Sarah Cho

Education and Training Intern

Spring 2017

Perks of Being an ABT Intern

27 Jun
Being ABT’s Special Events Intern for the past spring semester has been an absolute honor. As a former ballet student, American Ballet Theatre was a company that I have always admired, and to be given the opportunity to support the company as an intern is just a dream come true. Perhaps my favorite part of the entire experience was the opportunity to hear from guest speakers weekly, who gave insight into the different departments of ABT and the collaborative efforts that make ABT the top classical ballet company in the country.

This semester, we had the privilege of hearing from speakers from Institutional Support and the Financial department to Stage Management and Public Relations. My favorite speaker was Ashley Baer, one of ABT’s two company managers. I found a lot of my own journey in hers. Ashley was also a former dance student with an interest in combining her own dance experience with business studies. Her job at ABT is so fascinating as she gets to tour with the dancers as well as build valuable relationships with them. Hearing her journey to ABT as affirmed my desire to work as a company manager for a top-tier classical ballet company.

These meetings have been a wonderful way of learning more about the staff at ABT. Everybody here is so dedicated to making the company the success that it is and truly love the art of ballet. It has been an absolute joy to be a part of it.

Emily Newman
Special Events Intern
Spring 2017