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Just a Normal Day at the JKO School…

28 Dec

My time at ABT was a dream come true. Growing up in dance, I had a built-in appreciation for the arts, but never truly knew all that went on behind the scenes until I had the chance to work with the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. As the JKO School Intern, I assisted the directors of the JKO School, including both the Children’s Division and the Pre-Professional Division, while interacting and helping the children and parents of the school.

The Education Department is a close-knit family, and I was thrilled to be taken under their wing. Besides valuable training, I gained friendships that will last a lifetime. Whether it was helping with quick changes backstage, taking pictures, or making ID cards for the dancers, I learned so much throughout my internship. Most importantly, I soon learned one must always be on their toes at the JKO School, as there was always something exciting going on with over 300 students in the school.

While I improved in many skills this semester, I also added some new skills to my skill set. Who knew I would become an expert at painting ballet shoes? Yes, that’s right! Two days before the Young People’s Ballet Workshop, the Studio Company needed help preparing for their performance. My mentor graciously offered to let me pull costumes and props together for the show. However, someone needed to paint the ballet shoes. I had done it before, so I offered to help! It was a really fun experience, but also extremely helpful for the rest of the Education Department and dancers. A couple days later when I had the privilege of helping at the show, I had a feeling of pride seeing all the shoes I painted, onstage!

I also learned that I am a very good dragon. ABT partook in the Lincoln Center Halloween Party, and instead of passing out ABT bookmarks and candy, I was privileged to dress up as Jackie, the JKO School Mascot. At the time, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but it ended up being a blast! Jackie was a hit and kids were thrilled to meet a “real dragon.” One mom even handed me her baby! I can now add “dragon master” to my resume. Nevertheless, it was a great memory, and I joined an elite group of people who have worn that dragon costume including Ethan Stiefel and Gillian Murphy.

These are just a few of my many great memories while at ABT. I will forever be thankful to the JKO School and the Education Department for allowing me a place in their family. I have so much appreciation and respect for what they do to promote ABT and carry on traditions to the next generation of dance. This semester flew by, but the memories will last forever. Thanks, ABT!

Stevie Mack

JKO Intern

Fall 2017



A New Strategy

26 Dec

I am so grateful to have been a part of this internship program. I initially applied for the program after a former intern informed me that there were still spots open. After applying so late I wasn’t expecting to get accepted for the Fall,  but a spot miraculously opened up. I just so happened to be in New York for a dance audition when I found out. The next day I had both my interview and orientation on the same day. Everything happened so fast. I can’t believe I have now completed the program.

My experience at ABT has been nothing short of an eye opening and learning experience. Working as the Strategic Initiatives Intern, I had the opportunity to work on short term and long term projects designed to propel ABT into the future. While working on these projects, I worked in collaboration with the many departments within the organization. This was definitely the most rewarding part of my position. I wasn’t specifically working in one department, so that allowed me to get insight into what each department does at ABT. I had the opportunity to observe and participate in meetings with the Education, Marketing, Press /Media, Finance, Development, and Music Departments. Although I can’t say much about these projects, I can assure you that what is to come for ABT is very exciting!

Overall, my experience was one I would definitely recommend to others, especially those of color. Being a Project Plie Scholarship Recipient and understanding the core values of this initiative, it definitely allowed me understand the importance of diversity on stage and behind the scenes. ABT is in the heart of a very diverse city and it is great to see them acknowledge the need for inclusion within their organization.


Paris Jones

Strategic Initiatives Intern

Fall 2017

ABT-erning 101

21 Dec

My internship with ABT was nothing but great. I worked with the Major Gifts team in the Development Office and it was my first look into the administration side of dance. This internship was my first office internship and learning the ropes of a new place can always be hard. I spent a lot of time worrying about what office appropriate attire or when lunch break was.  I thought maybe there would be other people starting their internship with similar thoughts I had, and so below are just some answers to concerns you may have! I can only speak for the Major Gifts Intern position and this is all based on my experience. Every department is slightly different and experiences differ from person-to-person.

What you wear really depends on the department you’re working for. Working as the Major Gifts intern you interact with a lot with donors and so it’s always best to come dressed business casual.  That means no jeans or torn clothing; remember, you want to look professional and presentable.

The people in Development usually eat their lunch at their desk. I didn’t eat at all on my first day because I assumed there was a lunch break (like in The Office and Parks and Recreations), but people just eat at their desk when they’re hungry.

Everyone is very friendly and genuinely nice.  On my first day I introduced myself once, but by the time I was leaving they knew my name. When I heard “Bye Leiden!” I was very surprised and touched that they made the effort to remember who I was, even though they met me three hours ago. I asked so many questions and everyone was very willing to help and answer. My first few days I had to constantly ask the staff for directions to the bathroom or the mailroom and everyone was very understanding and helpful!

Through this experience I gained so much understanding and knowledge about dance and arts administration. Even beyond the work, I’ve had wonderful conversations with security, a company pianist, and donors. The whole place is brimming with talent, history, and remarkable people—it’s something I will truly miss.

Leiden Doma

Major Gifts Intern

Fall 2017


Late Start to a Great Week

19 Dec

At the beginning of the program I was excited to start the internship, learn about institutional support and more about ABT. My supervisor, Ebonie, described the projects I’d work on once I started which generated more excitement. But then she dropped a bomb. She told me she would have to go in for jury duty but hoped she wouldn’t get picked. However, the odds weren’t in my favor. This meant my start date would be pushed back another week. I was saddened by the news but I knew it was out of her control.

After the late start, I was ready to jump right in and that’s exactly what happened. On my first day I drafted proposals for foundations, attended a developmental staff meeting and met Misty Copeland. To say the least, my first day was pretty remarkable. During my first week, I began working on a major grant application for the Shubert Foundation. I couldn’t believe Ebonie trusted me to carry out this important task. Her confidence in me boosted my own confidence, because I was apprehensive to work on something important in a new field.

While working on the Shubert Foundation grant application, my assumptions of ABT being just a classical ballet company changed. I learned about their Project Plié initiative, educational outreach programs, touring and the Women’s Choreographers Initiative. Their efforts to stay true to their mission and provide dance to the widest possible audience is genuine. I also appreciated their efforts to not only provide opportunities to dancers but also to teachers and arts administrators. ABT is consistently trying to expand and adapt to the needs of their community.

My first week jumpstarted an inspiring internship and a passion for arts administration. While working at ABT I was able to assist with the Fall Gala, attend performances, sit in on rehearsals, meet donors and attend an in-studio performance. In just 4 months I was able to learn the ins and outs of ABT. Well some ins and outs, as I’m sure there is much more to learn.

Makeda Griffith

Institutional Support Intern

Fall 2017

The Iceberg

14 Dec

We’ve all seen pictures of icebergs. The beautiful, clean, vast floating sheets of ice. When you think of American Ballet Theatre, your mind immediately goes to the 90 plus beautiful dancers that make up the company. You think about the tutus, the glamour, and the elegance of going to the ballet. You think about the “out of this world” feelings you get watching the men and women before you onstage or onscreen, you think about “the tip of the iceberg.” And while all of that is real, it’s not the full story. Behind the glitz and glamour, is a family supporting the past, present and exciting future of America’s National Ballet Company.

From the first moment I walked into the offices, I knew this was not going to be any ordinary experience. I felt that this moment this moment in time was going to just be another fleeting moment. It would be one to shape my decisions going forward. That first day, I was so nervous, I honestly couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that this would be my home away from home for the next few months and I was terrified. Growing up, I’d huddled around small computer screens at my hometown studio watching videos of the ABT greats before ballet class. Always imagining what an environment like ABT is all about behind the scenes. And now, I was about to find out.

You always want to make a good impression your first day, so I was a little shy and quiet, very opposite of my normal demenior. I met one my mentors, Claire, in the front lobby and she was immediately welcoming. She gave me the tour of the company’s floors and introduced me to about 20 people who’s names, I feared, I would never remember. Everyone seemed so excited to meet the newest intern, so open and welcoming. My second day in the office I met the interns, and everyone was just as warm as the respective mentors I had met on my first day.

Through all of the events I worked, I’m one of two special events interns, the feeling of support was always prevalent. Between the staff from other departments that volunteered their after hours time to help the events run smoothly, to the interns working to pick up and switch off jobs as necessary, the feeling was alway, “the show must go on.” And it always did.


The work everyone puts into making this company run on and offstage is truly remarkable. And while I’ve loved working in Special Events, I’d be remiss if I didn’t make mention of the fact that I’ve learned so much from everyone from the executive and artistic directors, down to my fellow interns. The most important thing I’ve come to know is that there is mutual respect for the entire organization. When a decision is made, the whole company is taken into consideration. A decision made in development will affect artistic in one way or another, so everyone works together to make sure whatever the verdict, the outcome is beneficial to the growth all in the building. It truly takes a village to keep moving forward and I know I’ve now seen the full iceberg.

Libby Riddick

Special Events Intern

Fall 2017

Balancing College and ABT

12 Dec

Looking back on the past few months, it’s pretty clear that the time I’ve spent at ABT has taught me more than I ever could have imagined upon first sending in my application. I began my time here just as I was starting my first semester of college, so I was honestly pretty clueless coming into it. Luckily, the amazing people around me made it a great experience, so I’d like to share more about what it was like to have ABT as the home of my first internship.

Before I started, the idea of some random teenager like me working at such a well-known company was honestly pretty daunting. Constantly met with warnings from friends and family that balancing an internship and a college course load would be extremely difficult, I was pretty nervous about it all. I knew that I wanted to work hard and that it would be an amazing experience, but I was still scared that I would overwhelm myself.

Now I know that these moments of doubt were completely unnecessary! I found that accepting the internship was one of the best decisions I have ever made, because I learned so much about the work that the Development department does. Not only that, but I got to have a lot of fun while working on projects in the office and while helping out at ABT’s awesome events like the Fall Gala at the Koch Theatre!

Managing an internship at ABT and the transition into college at the same time never really felt like a challenge to me. It required slightly better time-management than just being a full-time student, but my mentor really scheduled me to work very reasonable hours. I never felt like I was overwhelmed at all. In general, everyone in the organization was a lot of fun to work with, so the environment always made going into work just feel like a nice break from the stress of my classes.

I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to begin my time in college while working at such a wonderful organization and I encourage all who are thinking of applying to go for it!

Kasey Gelsomino

Patron Services Intern

Fall 2017

Getting Social at ABT

8 Dec

I can’t believe that my internship is coming to a close at ABT! It was such a wonderful opportunity to be apart of such a great group as a marketing intern. I’ve​ ​been​ ​exposed to a lot of information such as ​the​ ​mechanics​ ​of​ ​a​ ​marketing​ ​department​ ​in​ ​a​ ​non-profit​ ​organization,​ ​the​ ​analytic​ ​side of​ ​social​ ​media​ ​and​ ​how​ ​a ballet company​ ​executes ​different​ ​marketing​ ​campaigns.

One of my projects was creating templates for our social media team. It was great to use the analytic skills that I learned in college and combine this knowledge with the creative freedom of designing these templates. It’s exciting to see that my projects can serve as a foundation for future strategies. Also, there​ ​were​ ​weekly​ ​social media​ ​team​ ​meetings​ ​where​ ​we​ ​would​ ​gather​ ​together​ ​and​ ​discuss​ ​what​ ​trends​ ​are important​ ​in​ ​the​ ​industry​ ​and​ ​brainstorm​ ​how​ ​we​ ​can​ ​utilize​ ​these​ ​trends​ ​in​ ​our upcoming​ ​campaigns.​ ​​ ​What​ ​I​ ​really​ ​appreciated​ ​about​ ​the​se meetings were​ ​that​ they weren’t composed of the​ ​marketing​ ​department,​ ​but​ ​also​ ​comprised​ ​of​ ​the​ ​education​ ​and​ ​development​ ​departments.​ ​This​ ​diverse​ ​group​ ​helped​ ​us​ ​bring​ ​out ideas​ ​for​ ​new​ ​posts​ ​about​ ​who​ ​American​ ​Ballet​ ​Theatre​ ​really​ ​was.​ ​I learned that this​ ​organization​ ​is much​ ​more​ ​than​ ​performances,​ ​but​ ​also​ ​an​ institution ​that​ ​fosters​ ​new talent​ ​into​ ​a​ ​lifetime​ ​passion.

The internship program was able to offer me some amazing opportunities. We had guest speakers and the education department reviewed my resume and gave me helpful interview tips. ​I​ ​was​ ​able​ ​to​ ​socialize with​ ​other​ ​interns​ ​in​ ​this​ ​program​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Roundabout​ ​internship​ ​program. I also got to see​ ​the​ ​dancers​ perform at the Koch Theater.​ ​ Overall,​ ​my​ ​experience​ ​with​ ​the​ ​marketing​ ​department​ ​at​ ​American​ ​Ballet Theatre​ ​has​ ​been​ ​great​ ​and​ ​eye​ ​opening!

Marianela Villao

Marketing Intern

Fall 2017