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Arabesque Lines; Intelligent Minds

27 Jun
As the semester winds down, school comes to a close, and graduation is in sight, I can hardly believe my 20-week internship with American Ballet Theater is coming to an end. It feels like yesterday that I first walked through the door for my first day. Now I am leaving with more experience and insight than I could have asked for. When you think about dance you imagine the bodies of the dancers. There is a significant amount of energy, training, and sacrifice that each dancer makes to be in the ABT Company and train at the JKO School. However, my internship shined a light on the unsung heroes that are of the education department. The arts administrators in the education department support all of the artistic visions that the artistic staff curates. THEY MAKE THE MAGIC HAPPEN!  It is through their organization that programs are created, maintained, and developed. The education staff is a well oiled machine that works collaboratively and independently assigning different roles to produce the infamous Studio Company, JKO School, National Training Curriculum, Summer Intensive, and Outreach programming. The glamour that is of a premier ballet company is really esteemed because of the people who dedicate so much of themselves to make this company what it is today.

My internship has familiarized me with many insights into the nonprofit arts world. Every budget, email, and marketing flyer gets double and even triple checked. The staff surveys, fields, and handles any and all discrepancies in a situation all while curating the programs, pinning hair into buns, and getting ice for the dancers. These people tirelessly work to make the quote on quote magic happen. I guess what I am trying to say is that the remarkable “lines” and proscenium performance is curated through an efficient assembly “line” of arts administrators that love and honor the arts that is ABT.

I cannot thank the JKO School and the education department for their teaching. I never had a moment when I felt that I did not belong. The arts need us! From the data entry to the pancaking of ballet shoes, to the excel spreadsheets to the recitals. There was never a dull moment. I am so happy to have had this experience and professional insight into the administrative environment of arts management.  I especially cannot thank Rebecca, Katie F., and Katie C. for giving me this amazing opportunity to learn from people who have so much talent and expertise in what they do. I am so happy to end this internship with ABT’s season at the MET. It is a true testament that my 20 weeks of work has compiled to Lincoln Center. This has been an all-encompassing experience of seeing the work of the artistic and administrative worlds collide on America’s most notable arts campus.

Brittany Biolo
JKO School Intern
Spring 2017

A Fouetté Turn Into My New Internship

22 Jan

Backstory: Summer 2016 was one of my biggest transitioning periods yet. After, interning and working for Dancewave for the past two years, my time came to an end in May. Due to funding, I was sad to hear that I was not going to be returning to Dancewave in the Fall. Although, I was bummed about the news, I am thankful for the amazing staff who introduced me to the field of arts administration and provided me with an exceptional experience of a working non-profit company in New York City.

At this point, I knew I wanted to continue gaining experience in arts administration or in the dance world in general, so I considered potential internships or jobs that would provide me that opportunity. My opportunity came sooner than I thought, when I was hired as a Summer counselor for ABT’s Summer Intensive 6-week program in June. In those 6-weeks I enjoyed watching over my group of students, taking class, and working with ABT’s staff. It was at the end of the 6-weeks, in July, when I was informed that I was not going to return to Dancewave. By now, I knew most internship positions were unavailable for the Fall, so I looked for internship positions in Spring – one of them being ABT’s Education and Training internship with the JKO School. Just when I thought I would have to wait an entire semester to even apply for the position, I received an email by Rebecca Schwartz (Director, ABT JKO School) offering me a positon for the Trainings Programs Internship for the fall semester. Delighted and beyond excited, I said yes.

Before I knew it, it was already September and my internship began. Interning with the JKO school gave me the opportunity to acquire office literacy skills, hands on experience/interactions with students, parents, and working professionals. It has taught me how to handle and manage situations with the most efficient solutions possible. My colleagues, Rebecca, Katie F., Katie C., and Leann of the JKO School took the time to teach me the ins and outs of what it takes to run a school within a world-wide known company like ABT.

Attending events like ABT’s 2016 Fall Gala at Lincoln Center or Sacks Fifth Avenue-Land of 1000 Delights, while working behind the scenes is an experience of a life-time. Knowing I was part of a team that was working towards making a high-volume event come together for the company, the students, their parents, and guest audiences to enjoy, brought me self-satisfaction and honor. I got to see working professional artists like Misty Copeland or Gillian Murphy outside of the stage in their morning company class or backstage at Lincoln Center, securing their ribbons just before going on stage; I felt like a little kid in a candy store. Inside the ABT studios, I was surrounded with warm-smiling children, older students, and teaching artists every day. Both the students and teachers were dedicated to each other in providing exquisite training and commitment to their progression in their training.

Four months later, walking away from my internship, I realized it was a dream come true. I could never fully put into words how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to intern for ABT or how much more I have learned about myself and professionally. The skills that I have acquired will stick with me for a life-time and I will be applying them throughout my career within the performing arts.

Elizabeth Juarez

Education and Training Intern

Fall 2016

When Two Worlds Collide

22 Aug
As artists, we may have different backgrounds and different skill sets but we all have one common goal; expressing our passion.  I come from a musical background and though I wasn’t so familiar with the dance world, I was eager to learn more and fully immerse myself in it during the course of the summer at ABT.
The most rewarding part of any job is not only working hard to make a project come to life but also to see the final result unfold.  Throughout the summer, I would sit in the office processing files for the upcoming JKO School year and occasionally I would hear faint excerpts of Brahms Symphony No.3, Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet playing throughout the day.   I would leave 890 Broadway humming the tunes all the way to the subway after hearing these classical works on repeat the whole day.  It was really awesome to hear melodies I’ve performed in orchestras and see them put to dance.  I would be fortunate enough to even see some of the rehearsals from time to time in passing when I was organizing JKO School uniforms in the green room and was blown away by the hard work these young dancers were doing.  Though I am not a dancer,  I trained equally as hard when I was in a preparatory program for music and could easily relate to their vigorous days of rehearsals.
Days before the end of my internship, I was asked to help work the boutique for the Summer Intensive final performances held at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts.  As I walked in my checkered rain boots to the water-speckled glass building,  I was secretly  hoping that I would be able to watch some of the final performance in addition to helping run the boutique. After the first round of boutique sales, I snuck into the dark theater just in time for the second dance.

The performance was like putting pieces of a puzzle together to make one final, beautiful image. I was able to hear the familiar classical pieces that I had been whistling for weeks played from start to finish, I saw the completed choreography instead of bits and pieces of a rehearsal in passing to the green room, the costumes added the visual elegance and the young dancers who performed completed the picture.  As a soloist would nail their routine, I could see them go back into the wings of the stage as their fellow dancers would high five their colleagues for a routine well done.  I was so impressed with the young talent I had just witnessed, but I was also reminded that the art that I create through music is exactly the same.  As a violist, I have to take pieces to the puzzle and put them together to create the final image I am trying to convey to my audience.

In order to perfect an art form, whether it be music or dance, the hard work, sacrifice, dedication and a sense of community are the necessary ingredients to convey passion in art.  That day forward, my appreciation for dance and dance education grew enormously and I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to witness such amazing talent this summer.
Aline Vartanian
Training Programs Intern
Summer 2016

Project Plíe Bridge Class

21 Jun


As an intern with the Project Plié initiative I have had the opportunity to experience a lot of different aspects of the education department. One experience that I would like to talk more about is my interaction with the Bridge Class.

The JKO School Children’s Division Bridge Class is an important component of Project Plié. Around 20 boys and girls from all over NYC auditioned at the start of the school year to become part of the inaugural class. They come to ABT every Monday evening to take class, in addition to the classes they take at their existing studios or schools. I think the Bridge Class is a huge component of the Project Plié initiative because these children are the future of ballet in America.

Knowing that the work I was able to do was helpful and supportive was really rewarding because it is so clear how much these kids enjoy ballet. I was able to work on information handouts about the class and help with events for them a lot this semester and that was really a treat. I wish all the best to the children of the Bridge Class because I know they will go far!

Trecia Smith
Training Programs Intern
Spring 2016

I never thought I would have to work with Baby Dragons…

23 May

Having to write a blog post has to be the hardest thing on earth for me. It makes me wonder if I can fit all the amazing experiences I have had at ABT fit in one post. My internship with ABT has really showed me the ins and outs of the non-profit organization. I interned with the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School and helped my mentor Rebecca Schwartz and the rest of the JKO Staff with projects, spring performances, and anything else they needed help with.

Coming to 890 Broadway for the first time I was a nervous wreck. I did not know what to expect, how the office would look, how many people I would be working with, I came in blind-sided because I wasn’t from the area. I had just simply applied through my University back in Laredo, TX and had a phone interview with my mentor Rebecca. Next, I knew I was packing my bags and on my way to live in New York. I honestly did not think I would enjoy my internship as much as I did. I knew it was going to be a learning experience for me but I did not think it would be a career starter.

During my internship I really got the full experience working at ABT I was told. I helped out the JKO School Pre-Professional division and Children’s division. I helped with other educational outreach programs, including Make a Ballet, Ballet for the New Audience, and Young People’s Ballet Workshop. I helped sell Boutique items for the education department. I was also hired as the receptionist two days out of the week during the night. For my internship hours I would work during the day three days out of the week, work Monday nights for the school, and work on Saturday’s as well. Working Monday and Saturday were the best days out of the internship program because that was when I was able to talk to the students more and hear about their experiences at ABT. I would be able to walk to the 9 different studios ABT has and talk to the students about their rehearsals they were having for the performances.  Sometimes on my way back to the fourth floor I would even be able to peep my eye into the studios to watch the main company dancers rehearse right before the Met Season. I was also able to talk to the parents and assist them with information when needed. It was a great experience all together.

During the week I would work on many small projects for the spring semester but by far I would have to say it is the craziest time for the school. During my internship I worked on mid-year evaluations, end-year evaluation templates, two spring performances, daily student ballet buns, and Baby Dragons. You might think “Baby Dragons?” but it might not be exactly what you are thinking. There are many, many projects I can write about but I will just let you know about the Pre-Professional Division Spring Performance. I had the chance to work with former ABT Principal Dancer Ethan Stiefel as he was choreographing Knight Life for the JKO School Level 7. He had a vision of what he wanted his piece to look like and along side my mentor we were able to make it possible. He envisioned having a Dragon and two baby dragons for the piece and that was my job for about a month and a half. I researched online for hours a day on how to make his vision for the costumes come to life and it happened. It was crazy at the beginning but it all worked out. Now you might be thinking where do baby dragons take place? Well Mr. Stiefel for his piece wanted two of the JKO Children’s Division Students to come out as baby dragons. And as creative as Mr. Stiefel is, he wanted the costumes to be unique and not just a Halloween costume you can buy online. It took forever and a lifetime, as it may seem to get the perfect image in our hands. I sat in the office four days prior to the performance getting the small details of the costume correct, this meant that I sat in the office painting ballet shoes, socks, and even bobby pins, yes I said it bobby pins, green. All the stress I was under was all worth it in the end because the school had a successful performance at the Joyce Theatre and Mr. Stiefel’s piece had amazing reviews. And of course, the baby dragons looked adorable.


Interning at American Ballet Theatre has been the greatest experience of a lifetime. Not only because it is America’s National Ballet Company but also because all the workers are humble and kind. It makes you feel like you are wanted and the environment on the fourth floor is just incredible. If you truly enjoy the Arts and the administrative side you will enjoy working at ABT and who knows you may even become a new employee for them like I have. I am now the 19th intern to get hired and my new position is Summer Intensive Assistant.

Sheridan K. Clark
Training Programs Intern
Spring 2016

Working in the JKO School and a whole lot more!

1 Jan

Like many little girls, I started dance classes at three years old. It quickly became my passion and I continued dancing through high school. Though I’ve had less time to dance since I started at Fordham University as a Communications Major last year, living in New York City has allowed me to stay connected to the dance world.

Knowing my love for dance, my boyfriend emailed me a link to apply for an intern position at ABT for Fall 2015. I immediately seized the chance to work behind the scenes at one of the most influential institutions in the world of the arts. I was offered a position as an intern at the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School in mid-August and can’t believe my four months have already expired.

The Education Department has a congenial atmosphere, and I’ve felt warmly welcomed since the first day. I enjoy interacting with the students of the ABT JKO School and their parents. It’s especially heartwarming to see the three year old pre-primary students excitedly twirl around the office before class wearing tiny ballet slippers and hair pulled back in a bun. I especially love sneaking a peak into the studios as the students and Company dancers rehearse—their talent is astounding and I reminisce over my dancing days.

Much of my work is very hands-on: I’ll fix students’ hair just before class, sell uniforms and boutique merchandise, organize new inventory, and run up and down the stairs escorting young students to their class. My first day on the job involved helping JKO School manager Katie Ferris prep the studios the day before classes began. I marveled at ABT’s nine spacious studios where principal dancers and pre-primary students alike meet for class while we rearranged barres, mirrors, and chairs—by the end we had worked up a sweat!

In addition, I handle some of the school’s files. I review class observation forms, behavior charts, and attendance. Interning in the Education department has provided me with insight into how much legwork (pun intended) it takes to operate one of the most prestigious ballet schools in the country. Unpredictable situations often arise, and

I’ve been happy to complete the daily administrative tasks that save my mentor, JKO School Director Rebecca Schwartz, the time to focus on more pressing matters.

Finally, I was also given the chance to attend several exciting events through ABT, such as a premiere of Misty Copeland’s new documentary, a Studio Company performance at the Young People’s Ballet Workshop, the Broadway show Old Times, and performances of the ABT fall season at the Koch Theater. I’m thankful for the opportunity to work at an institution that fosters a passion for ballet in all participants, from audience members to dancers to employees and all the way down to its littlest students.

Delia Brengel

Training Programs Intern

Fall 2015


From Across the Pond to a Summer with ABT and Project Plié

22 Aug

Across the Pond, a few months ago while lying in bed, it hit me that study abroad was drawing to a close and it was time again to search for a summer internship. At Spelman, we have a career opportunities database that emails constant internship and part-time job opportunities that peak your interest or have to do with your major. One cold day in April, yes it was still cold in England, I received an email with dozens of links to different summer internships I would be interested in. Writing internships, PR internships, Law internships, Social media internships, Communications, the whole nine. Don’t worry, I’m an English major so all of these naturally apply. However, hidden within these many emails was something that had nothing to do with my major, but made me more excited than any of these other opportunities combined. American Ballet Theatre was on the lookout for summer interns! To me, this was a magical opportunity. Interning at ABT meant that I could learn how to combine my first love with a career. I could learn what it takes to manage a school, or to run one of the biggest most prestigious and recognized ballet companies in the world, not to mention rub elbows with dancers I have admired since childhood. I applied with haste and anxiously awaited a reply.

Once I received a confirmation for an interview from Dennis, I began to do some research. It has been my experience that interviewers like to ask what is the interviewee’s favorite initiative or outreach program of the company. While perusing the ABT website I came across an initiative by the name of Project Plié.  Launched in 2013, Project Plié is ABT’s initiative to diversify the classical ballet world through several avenues including the dancers, teachers, companies, and arts administrators. Equal representation of all ethnic groups in the performing arts is particularly important to me, so as I researched more about Project Plié I became more excited to answer a question that I usually dread. Surprisingly enough, Dennis didn’t ask me anything of the sort. As the interview was ending, he brought it up himself. In addition to offering me the internship at the JKO School, he offered me a Project Plié scholarship as well!

Working at ABT, experiencing New York for the very first time, and helping to further along a one of a kind diversity initiative was the most fulfilling thing I could have done this summer. Learning more about arts administration and non-profit organizations was just the icing on the cake. I am more than excited to take what I’ve learned at ABT into my future experiences and will never forget this once in a lifetime opportunity. Thank you to Dennis, Rebecca, Monica, and all of ABT!

Eva Cooke

Training Programs Intern

Summer 2015