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

First Week at ABT

3 Nov

My first week as the Development Assistant intern at ABT was a whirlwind to say the least. Not only is this my very first internship, but it’s also my first experience working in an office setting. I honestly didn’t know what to expect going in, but it is safe to say that my first week was better than anything I could have ever imagined.

My first day went by in a blink of an eye. During the first intern meeting the previous Friday we had a tour of the office and brief introductions, so I wasn’t a complete stranger to 890 Broadway when I walked in for my first full day. The entire staff welcomed me with open arms and I was greeted with smiles that fueled my excitement for the day. I was quickly set up at my very own computer and was introduced to the programs that ABT utilizes for day to day activities. My mentor, Michelle, guided me through the entire process and made me feel as though I was already a part of ABT’s family! I left that evening more enthusiastic than ever for this entire experience, and the next two days did not disappoint.

Thursday, I was scheduled to work ABT’s Junior Turnout, an event organized by ABT’s Junior Council, which included a silent auction and dancing at the Bowery Hotel. One of the great things about interning at ABT is that you aren’t chained to a desk all day, and there are tons of opportunities to help out at events. Some of the other interns and I worked alongside the Development department staff to add the perfect amount of glitter and glamour (the theme of the event) to the Bowery Terrace. Bonding as we worked, I was able to get to know the other interns and the staff a little better throughout the day. As I passed out VIP bracelets, I spent the evening in awe of the gorgeous dancers and other attendees. I was even able to take part in some of the festivities at the end of the night. The highlight for me was being able to take home one of the extra gift bags!

The next morning, I set out to work ABT’s Leadership Lab, which was a preview for a new workshop designed for corporate training retreats and conferences. Luciana Paris and Calvin Royal were there to assist with the presentation. My job was to greet the guests in the lobby and I was introduced to some of the Board of Trustees. It was great to be able to put some faces to names of the people who play integral roles in ABT’s success. After the Leadership Lab I was able to go up to the roof where the event was being held and I stood in awe of the opportunity I had been given through this internship. My first week kicked off one of the most incredible journeys with ABT and I know this semester will be the experience of a lifetime.

Marisa Simon

Development Assistant Intern

Fall 2017



From Berlin to ABT

31 Oct

I applied for an internship in the executive office at ABT beginning of 2017 and received my letter of acceptance in April. What happened then was a lot of planning and bureaucracy especially the visa process took quite a while. I finally got to New York by the end of July and started my internship in August. Altogether I stayed for 3 months for a full-time internship and had the greatest time at ABT.

What did I enjoy most during my time at ABT?

Definitely the exceptional people who work for ABT! Each single one of them is so nice and thoughtful, whenever I had a question they took their time to help, even though they are all very busy all the time. I could not have wished for a better supervisor than Brittany was for me and a more helpful person than Jillian to sit opposite of my desk!

There were two events that stood out during my time. One of them was seeing ABT perform at Lincoln Center during the Fall Season and being able to go backstage, seeing the theater and meeting the people who make sure, that those amazing performances can happen.

The other remarkable event wasn’t really an event, it was something I experienced at a usual work day in the office. I was supposed to type up notes from a senior staff meeting, where each of them explained in keywords, what they think ABT does, why they do it and how. Reading the notes, I realized that the people working at ABT are so passionate about what they are doing and that they are in it with their hearts and souls, which made me realize that this is something I want to do achieve some time, feeling that strongly about the work I am doing!

Having said that, it is back to Berlin for me and hopefully see you soon ABT!


Luzie Neyenhuys

Executive Intern

Fall 2017




Don Q’ing Our Way Through the Summer

5 Sep

ABT’s Internship Program is a great opportunity to experience the non-profit work in the arts. With weekly intern meetings and field trips to the Metropolitan Opera, Dance Media and Roundabout Theatre Company, interns are not restricted to only learning about their assigned department. Mentors and staff are always welcoming and open to answer any questions.

The program is also a great opportunity to meet friends. June 1st, 2017, we were just two separate individuals, Sarah Cho and Annabelle Sadoff. As the weeks continued on, we began to merge into one. As Dennis half-jokingly called us (but not really), we were known as Sarabelle. Working in the Education Outreach Department, you’re given a large assortment of tasks, ranging from simple tasks like folding programs to more complex ones like creating worksheets for future workshops.  We started our bond while preparing 3,000 programs for the Young People’s Ballet Workshop, but the pivotal moment in our friendship was the day we went to P.S. 261 K to assist with the final performance of Make a Ballet. We helped with the set up and chaperoning of students, but most importantly, we learned the amazing teaching artist, Richard Toda’s, Don Quixote choreography. While we didn’t have to learn the dance, the choreography was so inspiring and fun that it got us out of our seats to follow along. The choreography stuck with us throughout the entire summer, pulling out the moves in the middle of cleaning the studios, moving barres, during lunch, and whenever our mentor, Dennis, would walk by. Even the repetitive, but important, tasks like filing cabinets became exciting, as we would perform a Richard Toda move after we scanned a binder into the system.

One important project we were assigned for the summer was to re-organize the internal and external communication of the internship program. From planning out the deadlines to creating the intern request forms for staff, we were given directions and guidance but also had freedom to use our own experience as interns to improve the process. Dennis asked for our input in creating the mentor handbook to outline what we thought would be helpful for mentors to know when they work with interns. We created a first draft ourselves and edited the handbook with Dennis to realign the language. It was very satisfying to know that our experience could be of beneficial use to make the internship program more efficient and effective for staff and future interns. Of course, we celebrated our work with Richard’s Don Quixote choreography.

It was a great experience, sitting side by side at the desk meant for one person, throwing angry birds and cupcake beanie babies around, having casual conversations with THE Sascha Radetsky, watching Summer Intensive classes, finding historic pictures from early 1990s in file cabinets, organizing costumes, finding ballet legends’ pointe shoes in the pointe shoe store, running the ABT boutique in the office, and of course, busting out Richard’s Don Quixote choreography whenever and wherever. While the summer term was short, the memories, skills and friendships will last for a lifetime. #sarabelle

Annabelle Sadoff and Sarah Cho    (AKA Sarabelle)

Education Outreach Interns

Summer 2017 

Pleasant Surprises from an Unexpected Detour: Broadening the Horizons of a Career in the Arts

5 Sep
My first experience with American Ballet Theatre was going to see Maria Kochetkova perform Swan Lake at the Metropolitan Opera House with my mother. I remember barely being able to keep still in my chair, wanting to pounce up and join in the choreography. I remember leaving Lincoln Center on the 1 Tain with the largest smile on my face, not only feeling more inspired than ever to keep dancing, but also that I could do anything if I put my mind to it.
My next experience with American Ballet Theatre was dancing in their three-week Collegiate Summer Intensive in the June of 2016. I soaked in every last moment of being in the studios; I was beginning my Freshman year of college in the Fall and I was getting too old for most Summer Intensives. A classmate had applied to be a counselor for the five-week intensive, and I thought that was something I would definitely be interested in.
The next Spring I composed an email to the Summer Intensive staff inquiring about the Summer Counselor position and was asked to come in for an interview. There, they asked if I would be interested in an internship for the summer with the JKO Pre-Professional Division.
It was incredibly unexpected: I was still only 18 and had only finished my first year of college. But through out my experience this summer, I drew from and continued to refine my knowledge of ballet education and organizational, administrative, and editing skills. I worked closely with the JKO staff preparing for the school year with the students’ registration, refining the student and faculty handbook policies, collecting inventory of the uniforms, and mailing out the teacher and accompanist contracts.
As the school is not in session during the summer I also had the opportunity to assist in other areas of ABT Education Offices, such as Project Plié and the multiple Summer Intensives happening both in NYC and across the United States.
With the internship program we also had other opportunities, such as an exchange program with Roundabout Theatre, a visit to DanceMedia’s Pointe Magazine, tickets to experience some of ABT’s Metropolitan Opera season, and even a backstage tour of the Met. On top of this, every week we would have intern meetings to hear from different departments of the organization and what comprises a career in arts administration: all the way from how ABT functions as a non-profit to grant writing. These lectures were incredibly eye opening for me, as previous to this summer I had only experience as a dancer; I learned of so many more ways the arts can be turned into a career.
Overall, I was immensely moved by the amount of effort ABT placed into the outreach of dance for the youth and in the local schools. In a time where the arts are struggling to remain relevant, ABT is at the forefront of the mission. At the Young People’s Ballet Workshop students from public schools from the NYC area poured into the Metropolitan Opera House to watch some of their peers perform alongside company dancers, and it thrilled me to see the amount of unconfined excitement buzzing in a room full of young students.
I saw them sitting in the seats where I watched ABT perform for the first time, and just looking at the gleam in their eyes and the uncontained smile of their faces that they also were not just inspired to move, but that they could accomplish anything they put their minds to as well.
It was an honor this summer to intern with American Ballet Theatre and to know, that in my small ways, I am helping young dancers to be inspired just as I was and I would recommend this opportunity to anyone interested in any form of arts administration.
Kasey Boekema
JKO School Intern
Summer 2017
Kasey Broekema is 19 years old entering her sophomore year at Columbia University studying dance and English.

My Summer in the National Training Curriculum

29 Aug

Being part of the National Training Curriculum team was full of little surprise joys this summer. I, along with my awesome co-intern, spent our days ensuring teacher training intensive sessions and affiliate student exams were ready to go and efficiently processed. Some of my main tasks included auditing and processing exam results for both teachers and students as well as maintaining physical records and online files. However, it was all the moments from the atypical tasks that truly built the internship experience for me.

For example, early in the summer, all of the interns took a field trip to Lincoln Center to help set up the Young People’s Ballet Workshop featuring ABT’s  students—helping thousands of elementary kids fill up the auditorium to get excited about ballet? Phenomenal experience. Or, even helping out in the apparel and trinkets boutique during dancer intensives or teacher trainings gave me an opportunity to get to chat with some of the participants; I loved learning about different people and how their unique background brought them to ABT for the summer. We also had the opportunity to meet the interns at a Broadway theatre company and share our experiences in the arts at major NYC organizations with each other.

I also thoroughly enjoyed my time learning from the various people who work at ABT. I was so blessed to have such wonderful mentors in Meghan Love, Sonia Jones, and Molly Schnyder. It was encouraging to know that walking into the office every day that these people cared about me as beyond “just an intern”. They were patient, kind, and considerate—I really couldn’t have asked for a better trio to work for. Also, whether it was informally at the lunch table, though a few Q&A sessions at intern meetings, or casually around the office, meeting the people and seeing passion of ABT is inspiring to be part of. I am thankful for meeting such great educators, artists, and administrators.

Sarah Tsung

National Training Curriculum Intern

Summer 2017


ABT jumping pic