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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


My ABT Experience

21 Nov

After attending American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive Program from 2010-2012, it has always been a dream of mine to return to 890 Broadway. I have felt a strong connection to ABT ever since then because I have kept up with the whereabouts of the dancers I met in the Intensive who are now company members. I became friendly and familiar with numerous dancers in the Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis School who had attended the Summer Intensive. Over the years, I continued to follow these dancers on social media and keep up with their whereabouts in the dance world. It is exciting to see dancers like Cassie Trenary advance through the company from a corp de ballet member to a soloist. I remember admiring her when we danced on the same stage in the Summer Intensive program.

My experience in the ABT internship program has been a unique experience. I am lucky enough to hold two positions. I am the Development Assistant intern and the Special Events intern.  I am incredibly grateful that I have the opportunity to work in two departments because it deepens my overall understanding of arts administration. The two teams are in the Development Department. Interning for both teams gives me the ability to see connections and overlaps within the department. For example, as the Development Assistant intern, I work with the Board of Trustees. Over the past couple months, I became familiar with their names. When I was given the task from the Special Events team to send an LA Benefit invite to a Board member, it was gratifying to be familiar with the name.

I thoroughly enjoy working with the ABT team. The ABT staff and interns are extremely supportive. During the first week of the program, I created a groupchat that allows us to write any questions or comments. Our weekly internship meeting often includes pizza! These meetings feature speakers from different departments giving us an idea of their positions. It has been a pleasure working alongside the staff members in the Development Department. They are helpful and passionate about what they are doing. I cannot express enough how this has been the best experience!

abtgalalalaMaddie Ricca

Development Assistant Intern and Special Events Intern

Fall 2017

Halloween at ABT

7 Nov

After dancing professionally for Ailey II, the sister company of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, I began to develop an interest for arts administration in the nonprofit sector. I began to think of ways to transition my career off the stage to one day running a dance nonprofit. In this way I would be able to pursue my two passions of dance and giving back to the community. This pursuit led me to Columbia University where I enrolled in the Fall of 2017 to pursue a degree in Nonprofit Management. In retrospect, I had attended the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive in 2006 during my earlier days in Ballet and somehow felt that it was not my last visit at 890 Broadway. So, after learning about ABT’s internship program and realizing that this would be a great asset in my education, I applied and was thrilled when I received a phone call from Dennis Walters, the Associate Director of Education and Training who offered an internship position for Fall 2017.

My first task was to assist Mr. Walters and ABT Teaching Artists at PS 261K with their Make a Ballet program. The experience gained by interacting with the public school students was truly rewarding and enjoyable, especially witnessing how ABT outreach programs were enabling students to develop their execution and appreciation for ballet. Seeing first-hand the benefits of educational outreach helped to solidify my desire to one-day work in education outreach, which further ignited my passion for arts education. My other tasks consisted of organizing the intern binders, updating programs, making IDs for the full staff, and attending educational program events. I really enjoyed participating in the meetings with my co-workers, Dennis, Amanda, and Richard because I learned first-hand the type of work that is required to successfully manage educational programs.

Intern meetings are held every Friday where we all convene and listen to an employee of ABT speaking about their responsibilities, challenges, and successes at ABT. I have learned to appreciate what it takes to be a company manager, how to write grants, enhance a resume, and how to write a proper cover letter. I particularly found the latter to be beneficial for me when I begin to seek employment after graduation. On October 20th, several interns and I attended ABT’s Koch Theater season. I was able to invite my aunt to see the company and we sat in the orchestra seats two seats away from the Artistic Director, Kevin McKenzie.

I also had the opportunity to work at the Lincoln Center Halloween Event on October 28th where I assisted in the setup of the ABT section and passed out candy to children while informing their parents of the upcoming ABTKids family-friendly performance. Seeing the joy on the children’s faces when I passed them a sticker saying “I am an ABT kid” was gratifying. The use of this simple sticker showcased ABT and served as a great marketing tool.

In conclusion, I enjoy working in the education department because everyone is welcoming and friendly. By the mere presence of Kate Lydon in the office, who was my repertory teacher in 2006, and chatting with Sascha Radetsky a former ABT Soloist who I watched growing up, and simply walking through the corridors of the building have come full circle for me. I admire the dedication and the hard work conducted by all departments that have contributed to make ABT the company that it is today. I am extremely thankful for what I have learned at ABT and I cannot wait to implement the knowledge gained into the nonprofit world!

Annellyse Munroe

Education and Training Intern

Fall 2017