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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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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

ABT: A Major Gift

23 Jun
As a Master’s student in Performing Arts Administration, I have found myself in a unique position interning with ABT. I have already made the commitment to the field by choosing this graduate degree, and from that degree, I have learned the industry in broad strokes. ABT has helped me to home in, however, on what a dance company does on a daily basis. In working in the Major Gifts department, I have been exposed to important and sensitive work that is making a real difference to ABT. While that comes with a fair amount of pressure, it also comes with a great amount of satisfaction because I have learned and accomplished some of the most necessary skills to keep a large and prestigious company running.

In doing this work, I have also had the opportunity to work with professionals who execute these vital functions as their livelihood. I wanted to pursue a degree and career in performing arts administration because I feel passionately about ballet, dance, and the arts in general. I grew up dancing and, while I did not want to perform, I did still want to ensure that ballet would be firmly integrated into my life. That passion is absolutely necessary in order to do this job. Working directly with Fallon, Jon, and Diane, and indirectly with the entire ABT Family, has confirmed for me that we are all here for the art. That is what inspired me to begin this career path in the first place and seeing the same drive and dedication in others adds fuel to my fire.

Internships at ABT are not simply about learning the functions of a position, but about fostering the interns to become capable people who will devote their lives to the arts. Once you add in kind and patient mentors, passionate staff members, enthusiastic fellow-interns, and the open culture of the organization, the outcome of the program is young individuals who have been readied to become young professionals in the field. Over the course of this semester, ABT has not only affirmed my preexisting desire to work in performing arts administration, but it has also expanded that desire to become a need. This internship, combined with the experience with which I came into ABT, have solidified my knowing that this field is not only where I want to be, but where I need to be. And for that, I am the one left majorly gifted.

Leora Graber
Major Gifts Intern
Spring 2017

WORK HARD, DANCE HARD

19 Jun
I have to say that interning at ABT is probably one of the best internship opportunities you might ever get. I studied Dance in College and am still active artistically in the dance scene. ABT gave me the opportunity to get a closer look behind the scenes and I am very thankful to have gotten the opportunity to learn from a successful arts organization what it means to keep the arts alive.

The ABT staff is incredibly inspiring. I could sense that they are very passionate about their work, which makes it fun to learn. As a Membership Intern in the Development Department I was lucky enough to have the opportunity of fulfilling a wide range of tasks. Getting to know and learning from the Membership staff has been an absolute pleasure. Everyone is super friendly and very open-minded.
In addition to that, my favorite part of the internship was helping out at Events. One of my first events I helped out with was a Ballet Class for Donors. For that class, staff members of the Membership Department joined in and also invited me to take the ballet class, which was taught by one of ABT’s current dancers. We, as well as the donors, had the best time dancing together in one of ABT’s studios, where I always saw the Company rehearse while passing by during the day.

Another one of my favorite moments was when I was invited to one of Project Plié’s meetings. ProjectPlié encourages people of color to work within the area of Classical Ballet. For that meeting Calvin Royal III came in to tell us about his experience and we ended up having great conversations involving interns, staff members and a dancer.

I have to say again that everyone at ABT is very humble and welcoming and I truly enjoyed my time working there as an Intern; an experience I will never forget.

Reshma Anwar
Membership Intern
Spring 2017

A Learning Opportunity

22 Jan

“Why don’t you pull up your chair. This is a good teaching moment.” Many times this semester my mentor would ask me to do just that, and so time and time again I would pull up my chair next to her desk. These are the moments that truly make ABT a unique place to intern. Interns at ABT are part of the Educational program. Not a distraction but a valued investment.

Coming from a liberal arts background, finance or budgets were not really my strong suite. But perhaps the opportunity to intern in ABT’s Institutional Support Department excited me precisely because of the challenge it presented. I knew I could learn, because I knew I’d be taught.

I always had a lot of questions. But my mentor was extremely patient and more than willing to answer them. She spent time explaining the details of raising institutional support: what the application process for the different foundations looks like and how diverse the requirements can be, what the best ways to organize and document files are, what the nuances of interactions with representatives of foundations or corporations are, how project budgets are created, how to write reports, and so much more. But not only did I have the opportunity to learn about Institutional Support, I also got a glimpse into the Development, Artistic, Production Departments, and the Company as a whole. I knew that after graduating I want to be working in arts administration, but more and more I’m coming to understand how broad of a term it really is. ABT gave me the opportunity to explore and learn about the field not limiting me only to one aspect.

Looking back at my four months as an intern in the Institutional Support Department, I am blown away by how much I have had the chance to learn: what is a W990 form, how to make project budgets, how to write grants, and do prospect research. Things that only a couple of month ago existed vaguely in my imagination have now become concrete concepts I am ready to talk about and work on. The hands on experience and actively being able to apply the knowledge to a real life situation right after sitting by my mentor’s desk and learning about it make the ABT Internship Program truly unique.

Alisa Goz

Institutional Support

Fall 2016