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It Is All About People & Opportunities

31 May

In January I flew from Italy to New York to begin my internship at ABT. When I arrived in New York it was all new and my eyes were blinking at every little thing I was looking at. It was very special to enter 890 Broadway and work for one of the most prestigious dance companies in the world. I choose to work in the Education and Training department because I firmly believe in the importance of spreading the arts in a positive and meaningful way. But also, I wanted to witness with my eyes how ABT had raised and launched so many talented dancers.

I worked for the National Training Curriculum for four months. The ABT NTC program deals mostly with ABT dance teachers’ certifications, the organization of the Teacher Training sessions, ABT affiliated dance schools and students’ examinations. During my internship, I came to work in person every day, from 10 am to 5 pm, because I really wanted to get as much as I could from people working in this office. Many days at work were made of daily tasks and administrative duties. That’s when I fully understood that is enjoyable to create educational programs but the realization of them is even more important, and that goes through a lot of daily logistics, payments, shipping, collecting and storing documents. Every Tuesday I participated in the educational department meeting on Zoom, it was very useful as it helped me to understand all the operations that happened in the department. Besides office days, I attended two teacher training sessions on Zoom. In that occasion I had the chance to meet Raymond Lukens and Franco De Vita, the creators of the curriculum. It was in those sessions that I realized the importance of NTC programs: the excellence of ABT comes from its well-structured curriculum, and on the stress put on well-prepared teachers and educators for the students! I also collaborated with the ABT NYU Master’s program in Ballet Pedagogy, participated in a meet and greet with Catherine Hurlin and attended a young donors event where I met Isabella Boylston (I couldn’t go back to Italy without meeting her). I was also an assistant for the Children’s Division Performance at Frank Sinatra, and I got the opportunity to see the Pre-Professional Division and Studio Company perform.

Something I’ll remember forever is when I observed a board meeting in Studio 6, where all the decisions are taken. I will also remember all the times when I was strolling in the hallway and peeked into dance classes to see what was going on. At 890 administrative staff, JKO students and artists share in synergy the same spaces. I really love that! Everyone at ABT is always ready to help others and to accomplish the “other duties” such as to paint point shoes, sew tutus, help with the organization of the storage room or position chairs to arrange the studios. The work at ABT is done of many little things that go beyond management or administrative duties. I came here convinced to discover all the secrets that made ABT so famous all over the world, and I think that the secret hidden at ABT is very passionate and humble people. It is clear that every person working here is very committed to work for the art we all love: ballet.

I will go back to Italy enriched as a person and professionally. Happy to have met great people, above all Molly, Saya who were my tutors, but also Liz and Yesseña that shared the space in the office and cubicles.

Thank you ABT!

Anna Cami

National Training Curriculum Intern (Education & Training)

Spring 2023

ABT JKO School Internship

31 May

A bittersweet feeling rushes into my heart as I write this post. The first day that I walked into 890 Broadway, I remember holding back tears as Olivia James walked me through the building. Hearing the music pour out of the studios as the musicians play for the classes, passing the Pre-Professional students trying on costumes- it was all such a dream. I was definitely nervous, but soon after meeting the people I would work with throughout the school year, I felt at home.

On one of my first days at ABT, I started assisting in the primary classes. Somehow, I think that I was more anxious than the children to be in the class. One of the little girls started sobbing right as she entered the doorway, and for a split second, I panicked. I talked to the teacher to ask what to do, and she asked if I could take the little dancer into the corner and try to warm her up to the idea of dance. My hands were shaking as I took her over. After a few minutes of talking with her, she got the courage to join her peers in class. She loved each class after that.

Getting to share my love for dance with others has been one of the best parts of this internship. Seeing the transformation in the kids from September to May, physically and mentally, has been such a rewarding experience. I will never forget all of the laughs, hugs, or “Thank you Miss Caroline” that I received over this past school year. Each child has such a special place in my heart.

The environment of the office was also a dream. I discovered that there were others from my hometown, which heavily helped the homesickness I was feeling every single day. I was never afraid to ask questions or raise ideas, and was in fact encouraged to do so. From recording attendance to folding brochures, I was never alone when completing my tasks. ABT became a home away from home, and I am torn to say goodbye.

Caroline Riley

ABT JKO School Intern (Education & Training)

Fall 2022 – Spring 2023

You’re an Intern. Now What? 

31 May

You’re an intern. Now what? Call your mom. Do a happy dance. You have one month to find an apartment from out of state. Move in and build your furniture. Do a test run of your commute the day before so you won’t be late for your first day. Get a good night’s rest. Arrive. Say thank you to the elevator operator for taking you to the fourth floor. Learn the maze of stairwells at 890 Broadway. Sit at your desk and complete your first day tasks. You’re an intern.  

For the past 9 months, I have been one of the ABT JKO School interns, and I still remember the feeling of excitement I had with one month to move to New York City and start this new experience. I am amazed I even made it here in one piece. I thought graduating with a degree in arts management would teach me what I needed to know, but you never really understand a job until you’ve done the job. I have learned so much from observing daily life at the ABT JKO School – from communicating with parents, managing students in a classroom, and all of the behind the scenes work that must be done to keep a school of this caliber running smoothly.  

You’re an intern. You learn from the staff around you, and I sure did. I admire so many of the faculty I have gotten to know and assistant teach alongside. The way they handle each and every student’s dance journey and how things outside the studio might be personally affecting them is remarkable. They expect nothing less than students’ best efforts, and they can tailor their teaching to get results out of each individual. The education department staff are the people I learned the most from – what has to be done administratively, what needs to be prepared for future events, how decisions are made, and how to best communicate with students and staff and parents alike. From what I’ve learned these past months, I understand these jobs a lot better and feel I could succeed in a career like this in the future.  

You’re an intern. Nine months of learning. Sending emails. Keeping a room full of children focused on ballet. Taking the stairs. Marking attendance. Printing some copies. Taking some more stairs. Finishing special projects. Making a flyer. Taking even more stairs. Preparing for the spring showcase. Watching the students take their bows.

Olivia Rick

ABT JKO School Intern (Education & Training)

Fall 2022 – Spring 2023

A Dream Come True

7 Jun

First times matter…

I was hesitating a lot about what to write in this post, when friend told me: “Don’t overthink it, describe the happiest moment you have lived during these months at ABT”

So here it goes…

When I flew from Spain to the US, both countries were immersed into Omicron wave, which did not inspire me much confidence that it would be possible to work in person at the office. I don’t know how familiar you are with the visa procedure as an international student, but let me be honest: it’s long, tedious and costs a lot of money. So, doubts and insecurities aside, we started this adventure in NY but working from my little room in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

It is not easy to control that recurring doubt: was I right to come? What difference does it make to be here or in my home country? You will think, logically, “You are in NY, go out and enjoy the city!” Yes, obviously I have done it; but let’s be honest, it’s not the same to work remotely as it is to soak in and immerse yourself in the dynamics of face-to-face work. Besides, after the pandemic, who doesn’t want to go back to the office even if it’s just for a few days a week?

As you can imagine, being an international intern who actually traveled the world for this experience, being able to come in presence to the office was a huge thing! So, when about 3 weeks after being here, in a meeting my boss told me “Send me your vaccination passport, we want you to start working from the office”, a great weight was lifted from my shoulders.

I remember that first day so vividly. I arrived too early, of course, so early that I had a walk around the neighborhood and ended up in Gramercy Park, which is a very small but cute park full of roses and tulips, surrounded by low buildings with the typical New York entrance staircase. It’s these little moments when you become aware of the reality.

Back at the front door of the ABT main office, and after finding my name under the category of “ABT Staff” (again, what?) I took this particular old elevator, in which you find a person who manually operates the lift. 4th Floor: Education Department. Doors open and my colleague Saya was there, waiting for me. My eyes must have been pretty shiny because she told me “How exciting, huh? You seem very happy”.

Then, a succession of magical moments took place: rehearsal rooms, offices of very important people, rest areas with large windows overlooking Broadway, young dancers in class, main company room, … At the risk of sounding corny, just being able to walk through these narrow corridors and meet such extraordinary people was already a dream come true.

And suddenly, just like that, you are introduced to Cynthia Harvey, which is basically like meeting your lifelong idol. I think that moment will stay with me for the rest of my life… You can understand how hard it is to put these emotions into words.

Many weeks of hard work have followed this moment, but I don’t think I ever lost that thrill every time I walked through the doors of 890. Every day in the office has been a new adventure, a reaffirmation that those nerves and doubts are always worth it. During these 4 months I have been able to work with great professionals, people who have helped me feel part of the team. Thanks to the NTC family, Molly, Sonia and Saya, for training me and for showing me the immense formative work you do.

If you are reading this and you are thinking of applying, do it. ABT is a great family, where many things happen at the same time. And it will be an experience that will stay with you forever.

María Cano Nuñez

National Training Curriculum Intern

Spring 2022

A Year with the JKO School

7 Jun

Walking down the hall of 890 Broadway on a hot September day, I did not know what to expect. As an ABT JKO School Intern, I was one of the first people to re-enter the 890 offices amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The JKO School was preparing for the return of students after a year and a half of virtual instruction. It was an honor to be a part of this successful, safe, and rewarding return. As an intern, I assisted classes, updated records, and contributed to community building activities. I interacted with students, faculty, and families daily, answering questions and helping establish a warm, inviting atmosphere. ABT’s return to in-person instruction was an all-hands-on-deck situation. I helped in areas I had felt prepared for as well as taking on new responsibilities like technology troubleshooting and COVID-19 mitigation. The ABT community came together to find creative solutions to extraordinary challenges and exhibited responsibility and resilience in returning to in-person classes.

What I did not know on that first day was that I was walking into much more than an education internship. I was entering a year of exploration within the arts administration field. The magnitude of the company allows for a wholistic internship program that reaches far beyond one area of interest. The breadth of the program pushed me to explore beyond my assigned specialty. As a recent graduate with a wide range of interests and a passion for learning, this proved to be the perfect environment. Weekly Intern meetings provided me with the opportunity to speak with the company’s most prominent leaders. From Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie to Executive Director Janet Rollé and Principal Dancer Misty Copeland, each individual spoke about their own, unique perspective on their position with ABT. These conversations were particularly pertinent as the company transitions leadership and navigates a pivotal time of change and progress. They spoke openly about their paths, revelations, and moments of growth. These individuals were very generous in taking the time to speak with us, answer questions, and offer their future connection. These discussions opened my eyes to and sparked interest in areas that I had no previous knowledge of. For that, I am grateful.

After expressing an interest in marketing and digital media, my mentor quickly invited me to attend bi-weekly digital media marketing meetings and create content for the @ABTSchool Instagram. I learned about strategies and planning for effective social media campaigns. I was given the freedom to create my own posts highlighting the Spring 2022 intern cohort and friends of ABT. It was exciting and slightly daunting to produce posts for over 64k followers. Attending departmental and other meetings helped me confidently contribute to the company and learn about the extensive work that goes on behind the scenes in a major ballet company.

I am thankful for the skills, experience, and perspective I gained over the course of my year with ABT. My experience playing a small part in a renowned, cultural institution will stay with me forever.

Kathleen Oakley

JKO School Intern

Fall 2021-Spring 2022

My Spring with ABT NTC

7 Jun

My internship experience with the National Training Curriculum team in the Education Department was remarkable and rewarding. Seventeen weeks had gone by so swiftly, and within such a short time, I have learned and grown as a professional and as a person.

I am currently pursuing a master’s degree at NYU in Teaching Dance in Professions, ABT Pedagogy. When I first began the internship, I started my second semester at NYU. Although I was extremely excited about the internship, a small part of me was nervous about the workload in addition to the NYU coursework, including the certification exam I was expected to pass at the end of the semester. Now, I can confidently say that I successfully completed all the given tasks. The challenge taught me to plan thoroughly and flexibly, and with that, I was able to make the best out of the time and experience.

While working with the NTC team, I was responsible for several different tasks. Mainly, I took part in preparing documents for ABT Student Examinations. My work involved constant communication with presenting teachers and examiners. I made sure I received the correct paperwork needed for the exams and reorganized them for the examiners to use for the examinations. I also hosted online student examinations and masterclasses. Hosting Zoom exams meant ensuring online exams run smoothly and providing an environment where students can comfortably take the exams and examiners can adjudicate students without disruptions. Hosting exams required me to be flexible with working hours because online exams occurred in different time zones. I didn’t mind this because each exam was a valuable learning experience and an opportunity to expand my understanding of the National Training Curriculum. My duty regarding the examinations extended to a post-exam task of updating the database of NTC presenting teachers.

What I appreciate the most about this internship is the team of dedicated, hardworking colleagues. Everyone in the team NTC is not only knowledgeable and capable, but they are also genuine and caring. Their mentorship and thorough guidance allowed me to quickly approach and pick up new tasks. They were always willing to support and collaborate, which is an ideal vibe you would want in a team!

If you are thinking about interning with the ABT, ‘don’t hesitate!’ You will be amazed to learn how much you can explore and grow. Furthermore, the ABT internship goes beyond working with the department you are hired for. The program includes weekly sessions where you meet with the internship coordinator and guest speakers from different departments who further broaden your understanding of non-profit organizations. I strongly encourage this internship program for those considering or interested in working for non-profits.

I feel blessed to have had this opportunity and grateful for the new skills and experiences it has given me. Thank you, ABT!

Liz Kim

National Training Curriculum Intern

Spring 2022

A Full Circle Moment

7 Jun

My first time at 890, I was a wide-eyed and bushy tailed 14 year old auditioning for the ABT summer intensive. I remember walking up the creaky stairs to the fourth floor, filled to the brim with talented dancers and their anxious moms, to which I would return nearly eight years later as an intern for the JKO School. Interning at ABT truly feels like a full circle moment in my life.

This year, I had the honor of being a teaching assistant in several of the Children’s Division classes including Primary C, Primary A, and 1A. I was lucky enough to teach with Carmela Gallace in the fall, who was one of my teachers at the ABT summer intensive back in 2015. Being in the studio as an assistant was definitely the highlight of my internship. In a child’s life, their dance training is a really precious and special time. I feel so privileged to be involved with these often seemingly small moments that add up to be a significant part of who they will become. I look at how sweet they are in their purple leotards lining up in the hallways peeking their heads into the Pre-Professional Division classes–a tangible vision of what is to come in the future. Many of them will continue on this journey as dancers and I’m so excited for them to progress. I know how much I looked up to my teachers and admired their technique and dedication to the artform. Getting to demonstrate and be an example for them was such a rewarding experience. I can also see the innate passion many of these children have for movement and I have watched many of them begin to fall in love with it. I was able to watch their growth as dancers and as humans while I gathered invaluable lessons from top notch teachers. The training curriculum for ABT is a perfect guiding tool for teachers to structure their classes and it has given me so many ideas for my youth ballet classes.

Interning at ABT is truly unlike anything else. One of my favorite little things is the fact that there is always beautiful classical music humming through the space. Where else can you sit in an office and hear Don Quixote playing from the hallway? The familiarity and comfort of working within the context of a ballet company has felt like the perfect cap to the end of my academic career. As a dancer, my advice to other artists who feel like they may have something more to offer the industry than just performing, is to explore the many facets of working in the arts. Arts administration is a great way to surround yourself with a community of other like minded, passionate individuals without leaving your love for dance behind. In order to have ballet remain relevant and running,
it takes people who see the immense value and importance of the art to support and make it possible. In the Education Department at ABT, I was able to see firsthand the level of dedication and fervor everyone has to make ballet accessible through the numerous avenues of programming that ABT offers. It is definitely a bittersweet ending as my year at ABT comes to a close, but I am leaving with a strong sense of gratitude for this experience and I know that the connections and lessons I’ve learned throughout this year will carry me into a new chapter of my life.

Elena Sundick

JKO School Intern

Fall 2021 – Spring 2022

Not Just an Office Job

15 Jan

I had an amazing time interning at the American Ballet Theatre this semester. As an intern with the National Training Curriculum, I really didn’t know what to expect on my first day in the office. Little did I know that I would learn so much in such unexpected ways as an intern.  

The day-to-day taught me a lot about the operations of nonprofits and of a ballet education department. I am grateful I was able to come into the office given our current global circumstance, and I walked away feeling assured in skills that I know will come in handy in the future. I can confidently say I am a master at mail merging now along with Microsoft Office. The best thing about going to the office, though, was seeing the other workers in my department. Sonia, Saya, and Molly have all been such great supervisors and I felt so welcomed from day one. In the small but mighty National Training Curriculum department, I knew that my work meant something.  

One of the biggest events that happened during my time at ABT was the Raising the Barre workshop in October. It was a two-day event providing teachers and students with world-class training both online and in person. That weekend, I found out what really kept the backend of ABT going – teamwork. The National Training Curriculum team, along with the Education Media intern Emma Zordon, faced every issue that came up with collaboration and vigilance. The hard work we put in that weekend felt worth it though, especially the last day of the program when I was able to watch Amanda McKerrow and Cory Stearns teach. It was particularly special because we interns had watched ABT’s performance of Giselle just a week prior, their first performance back since the pandemic.  

During my time at ABT, I couldn’t help but think back to my own time as a dancer. When I would see the students at the JKO school, I wondered if I could have been at that level had I had the opportunity to train as they have. It made me passionate about finding ways for ballet and dancing, in general, to be more accessible. This is something that I am taking away from this internship and hopefully something I can implement in my own hometown in the future. I learned so much about what makes a good ballet teacher most directly from Saya, the National Training Curirculum Assistant, the exams I graded for the ABT NYU program, and even from Misty Copeland herself.  

One of the highlights of the internship for me was the opportunity to speak to so many different people at the company. Most notably: Misty Copeland and Kevin McKenzie. When Misty came and spoke to us, I was able to ask her how we can make ballet more accessible to low-income communities. One of the suggestions she gave was to go directly to the students in the Boys and Girls clubs. I hope to one day help students find ballet as she has.  

These are just some of the things I have learned this semester. I loved my time at ABT and I am so thankful for the skills, experience, and perspective it’s given me. Thank you ABT! 

Micayla Renfro 

National Training Curriculum Intern  

Fall 2021 

My Time with ABT

15 Jan

As a professional dancer, I’ve spent years working on different productions and traveling the world performing. While performing though, I was working on a degree in Business Administration and Management in hopes that one day I could switch to the business side of the industry. When the Covid-19 pandemic put an abrupt halt on the performing arts industry, I had the opportunity to solely focus on my education and finally finish my degree. When it came time to figure out what I was going to do next, I thought this would be a great time to get some hands-on experience doing administrative work for an arts organization. I was so excited when I came across ABT’s internship program; it was exactly what I was hoping to do next. Plus, I’ve always admired and respected the company’s history, mission, and overall presence in the community. I applied to several of the open intern positions and was so excited to be offered an internship in the Education and Training department.  

I didn’t know exactly what I was going to be doing when I started, especially because the situation regarding Covid-19 was still very uncertain, but I was open to anything and everything. Throughout my internship I ended up doing some work in-person and some work remotely. I helped with various projects and tasks: printing lots of student ID cards, helping move ballet bars, updating databases, and helping recruit students for ABT’s RISE Weekend workshop. Every day was different, and I very much enjoyed the versatility of the internship. 

Since my first day at the office, it was obvious that ABT is one big family, and I felt accepted as part of the family from day one. At ABT, everyone works so hard to help each other out and ensure things run smoothly. It doesn’t matter what department you work in or what project you are currently working on, you could ask anyone for help, and they would help you without pause. This feeling of family is one of my favorite parts of the internship experience.  

Another great part of the internship was the weekly intern meetings. Each week there would be a different guest speaker from a different department, or a different topic would be discussed. I really enjoyed listening to the stories of different staff members, the lessons they have learned, and the advice they offered us. There were also workshops and discussions held about resumes, cover letters, and interviews. I found these workshops and discussions to be extremely helpful. In fact, they have already helped me in my next job pursuit! 

In the grand scheme of things, my time at ABT seems quite short. However, the lessons I learned and the impact from my experience here will last a lifetime. I am so grateful to have played a small part in the ABT community and for the connections I have made here. I cannot recommend this internship enough and I hope to see my ABT family again soon!

Hayley Alexander

Education and Training Intern

Fall 2021

Worth the Wait

15 Jan

May 2020? No good. August 2020? No good. January 2021? Still no good. August 2021? Finally. After a year and a half of back and forth, yes’s and no’s, I finally set foot in the hallways of 890 Broadway to undergo the craziest, yet rewarding, 3.5 months of my life.  

My internship story is a unique one. My title? Education Media Intern. My job? Everything and more. Since first applying and being accepted into the program in May of 2020, I have been offered interviews and internships in many of the departments around ABT. Over the course of my application process,  I interviewed with the JKO School, the National Training Curriculum, the Press Department and the Executive Office. But in the long term, I got the best of all worlds. An internship that puts me right at the center of it all. It was definitely worth the 1.5 year wait to set foot in person amongst the chaos that would ensue as ABT works to comeback from their 2 year hiatus out of office.  

ABT is run on a tight ship, with a small but mighty crew that knows how to get it done. Within my months at ABT, I watched 8 months of hard work come to fruition as we finally brought students back to the studios. I got the opportunity to run a seminar with the National Training Curriculum staff, photograph principal dancers and students in the school, work on marketing analytics projects, and create tons of content for ABT’s social media platforms. With a foot in every door, I was able to create a unique, but equally fulfilling internship experience here at ABT.  

What I didn’t expect to get out of this internship were the opportunities to participate in professional development seminars, and really learn the ins and outs of this company from firsthand sources. The opportunity to talk to people in different facets of ABT gave me a lot of insight about the operations that go on behind the scenes to make ballet happen. Learning about all the hard work that goes unnoticed gives me a deeper appreciation for the nonprofit industry, and particularly for this company that I have admired for so long. To my surprise, we even got to talk with Misty Copeland, which was such an honor.  

I’m not sure what I expected to get out of this internship going into it, but what I ended up with was much more than I could have hoped for. From professional development to photographing classes, I feel so fulfilled as I come to the end of my internship. This program not only strives to give their interns the best opportunities, but gives them the tools they need to succeed in whatever capacity their future holds. I am excited to enter the offices at 890 again, whenever that day might come, but until then, I will miss the hustle and bustle of the Education Department and saying hi to so many familiar faces. 

Emma Zordan 

Education & Media Intern 

Fall 2021