Finding Finance

7 Dec

I’m not going to lie, trying to come up with a post about my experience has been hard. I know most people write in regards to a specific event, and I guess I could. I could write about waking up ridiculously early to decorate sailor hats with little kids and how it warmed my heart seeing them learn ballet. Or how eye-opening and fantastic my first ballet was, or even better the second when I got to stand on stage. I could write about the panel I attended on Fancy Free and the appreciation I gained for the history of that show. And although these experiences seemed once in a lifetime for me, it does not help summarize my day to day life in the Finance department.

Let me start by saying I learned an incredible amount of stuff, about non-profits, about accounting, about people. Every day I would walk into the office wave hello to good ol’ Marianne, and sit at my little desk positioned in between my boss Godwin and Talisa, who worked in student billing. Now my desk was small, but I don’t think I would have wanted another. It was great being right in the middle of everything, where I could turn and talk to anyone to ask for help, or just to see how their day was going. Then you can’t forget about Sandy and Shawn. Sandy works in Payroll and Shawn is the CFO. These people shaped my experience and really welcomed me into the office with open arms. Now, we do a lot in Finance, we process the bank statements and payroll entries, we form the budget and execute the absurdly long tax form for non-profits, we process checks, and make sure that every student pays for the classes that they take.

Somehow, among all of that there are always these breaks in the day where everyone’s crazy kind of comes out a bit. Now my boss always jokes that everyone there is crazy but it is hard to believe until you look up and see him playing with a light saber (of which he forgot what it was called) at his desk. Or anytime Marianne talked about Estonia, or well anything. She also keeps a hammer on her desk to hammer down the staples on really thick packets of paper. Or when you hear Sandy shout about something or sing out to her 90’s tunes. Talisa, I would say is pretty normal but I am waiting for it to come out. They kept me on my toes, and helped the time go quick while learning a lot. Because, under all of this “crazy”, they are some of the most genuine people and were so patient and helpful in teaching me. It’s unfortunate that my semester is coming to an end, it’s probably the quickest one I have experienced. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to work with such crazy yet incredible people.

Alissa Santolo

Finance Intern

Fall 2018


Seeing How the Magic is Made

6 Dec

Three years ago, I attended ABT’s Collegiate Intensive for the first time. From the very first day, I knew ABT had something very special. The next year, I went to the Collegiate Intensive again, not wanting to give up another opportunity to spend some of my summer at the 890 Broadway studios. Then, a year later, I received an email saying that I would be the Fall 2018 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School Intern. I could not wait to be back at ABT, this time learning how all the magic is made.

Now, I am finishing up the fall internship program at ABT and I am so thankful for this experience. From the start of my time as an intern, the Education Department has made me feel so welcome. I feel so lucky being able to work with such hard working people who are dedicated to making a great experience for every single student who goes through the school. I have gained so much valuable knowledge and insight about the program from Rebecca Schwartz, Katie Ferris, Katie Currier, Emily Wolfe and everyone else in the Education Department.

The Education Department accomplished so many amazing things during this semester and I was lucky to be a small part of it all. One of my first weekends in the office was spent with Rebecca Schwartz in a rush to check in about 100 students in 15 minutes for the Romeo and Juliet Repertory Intensive. The next weekend, I spent my morning sitting on a blanket on Madison Avenue decorating sailor hats with children to get them excited for Fancy Free, which was being performed in the upcoming Fall Season. A few weeks later, there was the Family Friendly Matinee at the Koch Theatre. I handed out “passports” to excited children in their Halloween Costumes, all eager to see the ballet.

Some of my other days were spent making IDs for the students, making weekly schedules, painting ballet shoes, or making a quick trip to the Capezio store to get tights for a Studio Company performance. Between the big events and the day-to-day, I have seen just how much work is put into making a great experience for all the students and children that the Education Department works with.


This internship has given me so many opportunities and introduced me to a lot of wonderful people. After being both a summer intensive student and now an intern, I can easily say that ABT is truly a special place.  I am so grateful for my time as an intern is ABT.

Brenna Budaj

JKO School Intern

Fall 2018

Gems of ABT

5 Dec

As I approach my final week here at ABT, I begin to reflect upon what an amazing experience these past 12 weeks have been. I’ve had the opportunity to work dress rehearsals, studio visits, the Fall Gala and assist in the day-to-day tasks of my department, Major Gifts. All in all, it’s been surprising, educational and above all incredibly memorable!

One of my most surprising, yet enjoyable, experiences was a closet cleaning project. Major Gifts is a sub department of Development and together we share a closet, or rather a small room. One day, all of the development interns were tasked to clean out said closet; clean being the imperative word, not organize! We spent the entire day going through boxes and files, cataloging, shredding and filing. Some of the gems we found include lost ABT water bottles, what seemed like thousands of plexi plastic cardholders, old programs, and dancer directories from years gone by! It was a fascinating to look into the history of this historic institution whilst simultaneously instilling order in the chaos caused by immense productivity.

To say that my internship at ABT has been an educational experience is an understatement – educational in the most delightful way that is! Dennis, the leader of the intern team and head of education makes every effort to teach us about the mechanics of a non-profit like ABT. During our weekly intern meetings we’ve had guest speakers from Kyle Pickles, the Company Manager, to Brendan Rosell from Marketing. Next week we’ll even have Kara Barnett our Chief Executive Officer! Our weekly intern meetings really make the experience holistic and have taught me how different departments work together to ensure ABT’s success.

A personal highlight for me this season was an exchange where we got to interact and befriend interns at Roundabout Theatre Company, a non-profit theatre group. We hosted them at the David H. Koch Theater and together saw a triple bill featuring Songs of Bukovina, In the Upper Room and a new piece by Michelle Dorrance. The night concluded with a backstage tour of the Koch Theater, it was amazing to see how the dancers see the audience from their point-of-view on stage; though, of course the theatre was empty!

I leave ABT having learnt so much about the non-profit world. Interning at ABT has been beyond terrific and definitely a dream come true; it is easily one of my most cherished experiences.

Lilli Wang

Major Gifts Intern

Fall 2018

Building Relationships at 890 Broadway

5 Nov

Having the opportunity to intern with the country’s national ballet company has been an unexpected dream come true. Coming from a theatre background, I have been completely immersed into the dance world with my time at ABT, and I love it! I had heard wonderful things about ABT from others which got me really excited to start working with this wonderful company. About two months into the internship, I have gotten experiences that have proven to be very valuable for future careers. Plus, I have seen some of the world’s best dancers rehearse just a few doors down from my desk.
We have just concluded the fall season here at ABT, and as the membership intern, I was at a lot of the ballets offering people information about purchasing a membership with the company. This was by far my favorite part about working for ABT because I was able to directly speak to patrons from all around the world, hear their experiences with ABT, and learn about their love of dance. I met a woman from Germany who was in the city for work and happened to get a ticket for a performance. She came to me after the show and said she was going to the box office to buy another ticket because of how much she enjoyed herself. Another mother and daughter were from Alabama and came to New York specifically for an ABT performance. The daughter was a dancer, and ABT was her favorite company; she was so excited to finally have the opportunity to see them perform live. Seeing the excitement in the audience members, got me even more excited and made me even more appreciative to have this amazing opportunity.
In addition to speaking with people from around the world, I was also able to talk to longtime patrons of ABT; a handful of them have been involved with the company since before I was born. This fact really showed me how special ABT was to the community; to have such an overwhelming amount of support over a long time span, clearly means the company is doing things right. I heard so many stories about how the company has transformed over the years and different works they have seen performed at the Koch and Met. These long time patrons were just as excited for the performances as the five-year-old who was seeing her first ballet.

Working in membership means it is important to build relationships with the patrons. They have done so much for us, and I now have a larger appreciation for the work that goes on behind the scenes to make current members happy, as well as, cultivate new members. The staff takes so much time and truly cares about the people who are able to help create the magic that ABT has. I have not had the chance to work in a development role before working with ABT, and this internship has given me hope that there are so many people out there who still believe how fundamental the arts are. The patrons and staff in the membership department are invaluable assets to the company, and I am so thankful I had the opportunity, even if it is just for a few months, to work with the American Ballet Theatre.

Gillian Curry

Membership Intern

Fall 2018

It’s Not All About the Glamorous Work

5 Nov

To say that interning at ABT is a good experience would be an understatement – being a part of the Education Outreach Department this semester has confirmed my desire to work in this field. I have seen so much already of the wide range of responsibilities of my mentor, Dennis Walters who is Associate Director of Education Outreach and Training. On my first day at ABT I found Dennis at the back of Studio 9, cleaning out years of old posters, lightbulbs, and even pieces from his former glass desk. After spending an entire morning, going through boxes and throwing out trash, we finally sat down at my desk to familiarize myself with the different platforms I would use on a regular basis at ABT. I always enjoy working on the variety of tasks Dennis assigns me, but the most satisfying thing is to see the fruits of your hard work on a big project. For a few weeks, I helped Dennis work on preparation for the ABT Works and Process event at the Guggenheim, which included assembling the program and making powerpoint presentations. I had the privilege of attending the Works and Process event on the second night and felt such a sense of accomplishment and thrill seeing my presentations on the front screen.


Robert Altman courtesy of Works and Process at the Guggenheim

Another aspect I love about working in the Education Department is the environment. With my desk next to Claire Florian and Sascha Radetsky, I sense both their good and more challenging days with the Studio Company. I get to sit in on meetings with Dennis and the rest of the Education Outreach team, seeing first-hand what goes into planning such big events. Hearing all of the different conversations that take place, from the jokes (mainly from Dennis!) to discussions of partnership between schools and ABT, I am excited to hopefully one day be part of such an organization.

Lastly, the weekly intern meetings Dennis organizes have been such amazing opportunities to hear from all different positions within the organization. One guest speaker, Kyle Pickles, Company Manager of ABT, talked about the difference between working in a for-profit versus non-profit company. He said that at a for-profit company, everyone works together for the sole purpose of making money. But at a non-profit organization, such as ABT, everyone works together for one purpose and mission, which creates a stronger bond in the company. During my short semester interning at ABT, I feel honored to have been able to take part in carrying out ABT’s mission, while gaining such invaluable experiences and skills.

Melissa Cheng

Education Outreach Intern

Fall 2018

Tapping Into Turnout

1 Oct


I am four weeks into a Fall internship here at American Ballet Theatre and I can already say it is the best internship I could ever imagine for myself. I am split between two departments, special events and development, and as someone who loves to be busy it is the ideal work environment for me. When I complete a task in development, whether it be updating the yearly Board Book, reformatting pledge reminder letters or even setting up for board member visits in the dancer’s lounge, I can just walk past studio 1 and get to work on a project in special events! This past week at ABT has been my best yet and is what inspired me to write this blog post so early into my time here as an intern.

On Tuesday we had an all staff meeting and being in the room with such an amazingly talented and dedicated group of people was a privilege I did not take for granted. Principal dancers and staff alike listened intently as Kevin McKenzie revealed the Spring Season and Ormsby Wilkins told a fascinating anecdote about Rachmaninoff’s initial failure as a composer, allegedly due to a drunk conductor! Michelle Dorrance also spoke about her new work for the company and how special it is to work with such intelligent and open-minded artists. From what I have seen (and heard) in the studios, you are not going to want to miss seeing this piece for yourself!

Thursday came around and it was Junior Turnout day, so after ensuring all of the boxes packed with auction items and VIP gift bag goodies were picked up at 890, we were headed down to Spring Place. The event space was transformed thanks to Fallon Sullivan leading us in arranging the auction item displays and Claire McGregor setting up an assembly line of staff to stuff swag bags. At around 6 all of the staff changed out of our sneakers and jeans into swanky Harlequinade themed outfits to excitedly set up a check in table for the guests long-awaited arrival. Before I knew it, the party was in full swing and everyone was having a blast! In between dancing, mingling, silent auctioning and photoboothing, the night flew by and we were all sent home with a VIP gift bag of our very own.

After being a part of such a tremendous event, I am surer than ever that the Special Events department was the right choice for me. The day-to-day work in the office is crucial to the realization of events like Junior Turnout but getting to see it all materialize and partake in the celebration really resonated with me. I am so looking forward to all of the exciting events this Fall still has in store and continuing to pitch in around the office. Dancing has been my passion for almost two decades and I am thrilled to be a part of a prestigious company like ABT, one way or another.

Fiona Huber

Special Events and Development Assistant Intern

Fall 2018

An Enchanting Summer

13 Aug

RachelinternphotoI have been reluctant to write this post till the last moment as I still I have one week to stay at this lovely place. I don’t want to get too sentimental too before my final goodbyes.

While I have done several internships in both small start-ups and large corporations, this internship at ABT can definitely be credited with many “firsts.”  I came here from China to attend a graduate program at Columbia, this internship is my first time to work abroad, and after leaving ABT in mid-August, I will have been in America for one year. There are many other “firsts” as one can imagine, but I won’t count them here.  I’ll divide my post about ABT into three parts: ballet, people, and tasks.

One reason that ABT’s Summer Internship is so attractive is of course because of their season at the Metropolitan Opera House!  I have to admit that unlike other interns, most of whom learned dance and had a strong connection with ABT before they came, I knew little about ABT and even less about ballet.  As a student in an arts administration program, I am interested in interning at great arts organizations, for their artistic achievements and administrative success. Before interning at ABT, my only experience with ballet was The Nutcracker a year and a half a year ago. However, this summer I had so many opportunities to watch ballet, which has totally turned me into a huge fan. (Good job, ABT!)

As for the people, everyone here is so nice! As a Strategic Initiative intern, I have worked and had meetings with staff from several departments including: executive office, marketing, education, development, etc. They have all been friendly, helpful, and funny! I would especially thank my mentor Ophelia and another Strategic Initiative Intern Hannah – you both constantly make my day! Busy or not, I enjoyed working on projects with these two great co-workers and chatting about the industry, musicals, food, and everything! More importantly, I cannot thank them enough for instructing me whenever I have questions and offering suggestions whenever I need one. What makes the workplace even more exciting is that I can meet lots of talented dancers, hear the music and see them dance every time I pass by the studios!

Finally, for my tasks, I will try to describe them in two sentences: (1) ABT values the skills and the interests of its interns – my mentor asked me to select the projects I would like to work on and the intern program provided weekly meetings inviting guest speakers from various fields. (2) These tasks are really meaningful to me – I was challenged and excited by the projects I chose, gaining knowledge about what direction to take and what skills I should develop.

To wrap up my nonsense, I would like to thank ABT – the journey was enchanting.

Rachel Huang

Strategic Initiatives Intern

Summer 2018