Tag Archives: abtinterns

My experience with the “ABT Magic” 

1 Jun

When I was 17 years old, I remember the first day I stepped into 890 Broadway. I was a young plucky ballet dancer who was excited to begin her month-long stay in New York City for the first time for ABT’s Collegiate Summer Intensive. At this point in my life, I was at a crossroads. I was just starting to think about college applications and didn’t know if dance was my career choice. Being at ABT completely changed the course of my life – I had realized during that intensive that dance was decidedly just a passion, and not necessarily my future. It was also during that stay in New York that I fell in love with the city, and on one of my days off during that month, I got on a bus to Queens and toured St. John’s University for the first time. Little did I know that I’d be sitting here, writing this blog post, so many years later after graduating with two degrees from St. John’s University, and having fulfilled the dream of being at ABT once again. 

When I was a freshman at St. John’s I first learned about the ABT intern program. I could not believe that it hadn’t occurred to me before, if I wasn’t dancing as a career, I could work on the administrative side of a dance company. I spent my days dreaming of various ballet and performing arts organizations to whom I would send my resume and hoping I would get an intern offer – this went on for years. I had many other internships and great opportunities, but I never seemed to be able to land an ABT role. I had given up on applying for a while, but it struck me last fall that I should give it one more go. I submitted my marketing internship application and was hoping to get an interview to land the role for my last semester of schooling ever. I think this was my second dose of ABT magic, the timing was perfect, and I finally got the job.  

This semester was filled with a variety of projects. Even though I was fully remote, and the company was on tour, there was excitement to the work I was doing as I’d never had before. At this point in my life, I had decided that maybe the arts industry wasn’t for me, however, this internship completely reinspired my passion for the dance world. I am so proud of all the marketing projects I completed, especially the Like Water for Chocolate group sales research and outreach. This project focused on creating more awareness for this premiering ballet and driving ticket sales, I am happy to have played a part in allowing this new show to be viewed by content creators, minority groups, and interns at other companies. Other inspiring intern tidbits included watching videos of past performances, hearing from dancers in weekly marketing meetings, and to top it all off I attended the Fall 2023 photo shoot at 890 Broadway. While the photoshoot days were tiring, I was thrilled to meet the principal dancers and an Artistic Director that I have looked up to and idolized for so long. I felt a part of the ABT family – seeing the dancers dance and work in such a collective to create beautiful campaigns for our upcoming fall season is something I will always cherish experiencing. 

People talk about the ABT magic, I’ve heard stories of how everything that could possibly go wrong at a show goes wrong, but somehow ABT can pull it off. I believe that I got a dose of the ABT magic. I’m so grateful for this internship and all the ways that ABT has shaped my life and career choices. 

Jennifer MacIntyre

Marketing Intern

Spring 2023


1 Jun

Plié, (French: “bent”), knee bend in ballet. It is used in jumps and turns to provide spring, absorb shock, and as an exercise to loosen muscles and to develop balance. 

Plié was also the only ballet dance move I was familiar with prior to joining ABT. Ballet was never something that piqued my interest as a child. I was not at all flexible, and I still can’t touch my own toes after all these years. After months of working in the marketing department, I’m gradually learning a new language: ballet, a visual language of the elegant art form, but also a language that stands for passion and dedication. 

People think that working in marketing for a prestigious ballet company like ABT is all glitz and glamour, with endless shows, events, and dazzling spotlights. But, in reality, day-to-day work is more like doing Pliés to conserve energy and momentum while preparing for the next season, rather than constantly reaching high on pointed shoes. 

The marketing internship at ABT provides a unique opportunity to gain experience in the operations of a world-renowned ballet company. I was exposed to the various aspects of marketing in the arts through this program, learning essential skills and techniques that can be applied to careers in arts management and beyond.

Bella Wang

Marketing Intern

Spring 2023

My Experience as an ABT Intern

1 Jun

As the Membership Intern, I go into the office once a week to create acknowledgment letters. Because ABT is a non-profit, it is important that donors receive acknowledgment letters for tax purposes. I would start the process by pulling a query on Raiser’s Edge, the donor database, of the gifts from the last week. I would then separate the gifts into 6 separate categories, as there were 6 different types of acknowledgment letters. I would then put each letter into a membership packet and envelope.  

When I worked remotely, I would send emails from the Membership Inbox and work on the Change List. The emails I sent were to recurring members whose cards had been declined, to members who received a link to a ballet (like Swan Lake), or to members who received a LWFC photo with their second ask donation.  

In addition, I worked with the Special Events team. For this role, I did a lot of prospect research. This research varied for different events, such as the June Gala and Holiday Benefit. I looked at potential sponsors, venues, and ticket prices. I would compile this research into a spreadsheet and present my findings to the Events department.  

I thoroughly enjoyed my time as an intern at ABT and truly learned a lot from the experience.  

Madi Burack

Membership & Special Events Intern (Development)

Spring 2023

Contributing to ABT

1 Jun

Growing up, I always loved the idea of working within the performing arts industry and this dream only strengthened during the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent shutdown of live performances. While I have danced all my life, I never had the potential or desire to try and go professional however I always believed in the arts importance in our lives and I wanted to contribute to it. I connected with ABT immediately due to its mission of reaching the widest possible audience across the United States. Additionally, it also was the first professional ballet company I had seen perform even though I been dancing ballet since I was little. Therefore, when I saw ABT had available internships within a department I had previous experience with another nonprofit during my senior year at Fordham University, I knew I had to apply. This internship has not only accomplished a dream of supporting one of my favorite ballet companies, but was an incredibly rewarding and exciting experience.  

During my time at ABT, I worked on a variety of projects, supporting both the Major Gifts team and Donor Relations team, particularly with patron ticketing in the lead up to the 2023 MET season. Every day I would open my email and see what requests had come in, helping to keep track of them and complete their order forms to ensure every donor got the best tickets for them. I also helped with the long-term projects of preparing for this process, as I began in January, right in time to assist with the vital prep work for those requests. I loved to see the different shows that donors want to see and their excitement for the upcoming season. I also helped with prep work for credit in programs for shows, making sure every donor who needed credit received it. Working on these and therefore confronting how many people donate and care about this organization only cemented my belief in the importance of the arts. Working with Donor Relations proved a valuable experience because it showed the various ways that donors connect and interact with the organization.  

Meanwhile, I also worked with the Major Gifts team, helping the donating process for the higher-level donors. This included working on acknowledgement letters when people donated to make sure every person felt ABT’s immense appreciation for their donation. I also helped put together informational materials for donors, so they had all the relevant information when making their donations decisions and to stay up to date with the current events at ABT.  

ABT has exceeded and fulfilled a dream to work towards supporting the arts, even during the touring season without performances in New York. Seeing all the work that goes into making such an outstanding ballet company run and the amazing people that make it happen. Walking into the office and hearing the ballet music wafting through the hallway added the perfect touch to an amazing work day and internship.  

Katie Lewis

Major Gifts & Donor Relations Intern (Development)

Spring 2023

An Engaging Day: Life at 890 Broadway

31 May

This Spring 2023, I had the pleasure of working with Amanda Tomera and Richard Toda from the Engagement Department at the American Ballet Theatre, in the education office at 890 Broadway.  

When I arrive at 890 around 2pm, I take the elevator to the 4th floor and find my way to the education office to settle in for the afternoon. Classical music floods the hallway, and students stand outside the classrooms while watching their peers rehearse for their performances at the end of the semester.  

I greet Olivia and whomever else is at their desk working when I enter. Yesseña says hello and gives me a warm smile as I pass on my way to the Engagement section of the office. Amanda and Richard are working at their desks, and welcome me when they see me come. As Amanda and I catch up and start to brief the agenda for the afternoon, I see students come and go in the office as classes start to become more frequent in the studios at this time in the afternoon. The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School holds ballet classes on the fourth floor at 890 Broadway, so the afternoon is one of the busiest times for the education office.  

To start my work for the day, I go with Amanda to the storage closet to look for small but fun items to put in the blue ABT tote bags as giveaways for the children who will be attending the upcoming ABT Girl Scout Weekend. These students will participate in a series of activities, dance classes, and games run by Richard Toda and ABT teaching artists. They will gain exposure to ballet, music, fun, and games, and will have the opportunity to see a performance of ABT’s main company at the Metropolitan Opera House. Amanda and I find sunglasses from a few seasons ago when they were used for a past Engagement workshop. We also find more pencils with the ABT logo on them, and stickers that say “I’m an ABT Kid!” We take them back to our desks, and then I start printing flyers. There are three flyers we need to print, and one needs to be half the size of a regular sheet of paper, so I have to test one copy before printing 50, to make sure everything is aligned correctly. Once printed, I cut them to the proper size and stack them on my desk, along with the other flyers and materials I will put in the ABT bags. After filling 50 to 60 ABT bags, each with three flyers, a pencil, three different stickers, and sunglasses, they are ready for Amanda to take them to the workshops over the weekend.  

Next, I work on Canva to make new Instagram posts for the Adult Division Open Ballet Classes. I enjoy working on Canva because there is so much potential for beautiful creations. I make three new templates for Amanda to post, by adding new backgrounds, colors, and photos, and I use flowers and bright colors to make them match the lovely new spring weather we are having!  

For a little while, I work on the ABTKidsDaily inventory spreadsheet I have created. Referencing the ABTKidsDaily webpage, I take stock of the resources, documenting the videos, links, worksheets, games, and whether we may be able to use them for the future. This document is helpful so staff can quickly look up materials and resources to use for young children, to go along with a certain ballet, for example, or to go along with a certain federal holiday.  

Around 4pm, I wrap up on the computer and begin to prepare for the JKO class at 4:30–5:30pm which I will help assist. Then I stand by the door, welcoming the little 6–8 year olds to class. They are so eager to move, and have so much energy. They need to be reminded to keep their backs “glued” onto the wall. I pretend to give them “magic glue” so they stay put in their spots. The hallway is especially crowded now as students of all ages transition between classes. When the teacher, Leann Underwood, arrives, she settles into the classroom, and comes to get the students when she is ready. The other assistant arrives as well, and we discuss who will take the first half and later half of the class to be one-on-one with a particular student. When the little dancers enter the studio, I guide them to put their water down by the mirror, and I start to herd them into two lines in the center of the studio, facing the mirror. I place students mindfully, thinking of what arrangement will help them to focus and learn most easily. The other assistant and I stand at the front of the studio with Miss Underwood, demonstrating steps for students. In between combinations, we help to keep the students quiet, practicing the step, and looking at Miss Underwood, rather than talking to their neighbor, spinning in circles, sitting down, and whatever else they think of doing. They are very imaginative and curious, and this often manifests itself in doing activities that are not exactly appropriate for ballet class, but would be great to do after class! 🙂  

At the end of class, we are all tired, but grateful we were able to teach dance and inspire the young students. Some students come and hug me goodbye, then they get their water. The other assistant and I make sure the little ones find their grownups, so that Miss Underwood can gather her belongings and move on to her next commitment.  

I make my way back down the crowded hallway to the education office, gather my own belongings, and prepare to leave. Feeling satisfied, I say goodbye to those still in the office, and I head down the stairs or elevator to leave 890. It is fulfilling to notice students looking up to us, admiring us at the front of the studio, watching us when we dance. Knowing I made a difference in that classroom, for my mentor, Amanda, and for ABT, I leave feeling grateful for my full, engaging day.  

Lydia Crozier

Engagement Intern (Education & Training)

Spring 2023

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

Membership Intern: A Day in the Life

15 Feb

Sitting in my dorm room at school, I log into Raiser’s Edge and start compiling and organizing data to begin the process of generating this week’s acknowledgement letters. I work quickly but thoroughly as I want to finish these acknowledgement letters before my zoom meeting at eleven a.m. I finish the acknowledgement letters just before eleven and join the zoom meeting with the rest of ABT’s Development Team. I listen in to hear new updates from the Major Gifts and Institutional Support Team and also receive a rundown of tonight’s gala schedule from the Special Events Team. The meeting closes out at noon and I join my second and last zoom meeting of the day. In this meeting I met with ABT’s Telefunding Team alongside Grey Johnson, ABT’s Director of Membership, and Tilmon Splawn, ABT’s Membership Assistant. This meeting is cut short as Grey, Tilmon, and I need to head to Lincoln Center for ABT’s Fall Gala.   

The call ends and I quickly put makeup on and change into my gala dress. I walk to the subway and head downtown to Lincoln Center. When I arrive, I am greeted by the rest of the development team and the other development interns. The head of Special Events gives us a tour of the gala venue and assigns each of us a specific role for the night. I was assigned door duty with two other interns. We were in charge of greeting guests and directing them to the gala check-in table. Additionally, we were supposed to help the guests with any miscellaneous questions they had. 

The night of the gala was a frenzy, but also one of the most spectacular professional experiences I have ever experienced. Not only was I able to watch the groundbreaking premiere of Christopher Rudd’s Lifted and see some of my favorite ABT dancers perform that I had admired since my early years of ballet training; but I was also able to play a part in one of ABT’s most important philanthropic events. The opportunity to work at ABT’s Fall 2022 Gala solidified my love for and reaffirmed my future career goal of working in development for a performing arts organization.  

This is just an example of one rewarding day out of many that I have experienced this past semester while working as ABT’s Membership Intern. Each day I have worked with ABT this past semester has been both fruitful and enriching. Whether it was learning about a new function in Raiser’s Edge, proofreading ABT newsletters, working the membership table, or deciding which articles to send to donors; each task or experience with ABT has strengthened my skills and allowed me to learn something new. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have interned with ABT’s Membership Department this past semester and am especially appreciative of Maureen Steinhorn, Tilmon Splawn, and Grey Johnson who served as my mentors. I had such a memorable experience and hope to be involved with ABT again in some capacity. 

Victoria Cunnane

Membership Intern (Development)

Fall 2022

Major Gifts Intern at ABT

15 Feb

Writing this, I have now been finished with my Major Gifts internship with American Ballet Theatre for 1 week. As I look back on my semester, I feel incredibly lucky for the immense amount of tutelage I received, the connections I was able to make, and the dream I was able to accomplish. For 15 years of my life, I was a serious ballet dancer, looking up to ABT and everything that the historic company has continued to stand for. Once I retired from the stage, I began studying Arts Administration at Butler University and after two other dance related internships, I applied and landed a spot in ABT’s internship program with Major Gifts. My internship experience was nothing short of worthwhile, allowing me to achieve a lifelong goal of working for a major ballet company.

Something unique about my experience is that I completed my internship fully virtual from my college campus in Indianapolis, Indiana. Nonetheless, my mentors and colleagues at ABT made my work environment so positive and I can’t imagine another opportunity where I learned as much as I did. I’ve learned that I feel fulfilled sharing my love of the arts with the community, making worthwhile connections with people who feel the same, and seeing the results of hard work firsthand. With this internship, specifically in Major Gifts, I have seen the hardworking nature of passionate staff and it inspired me for my future endeavors. My daily tasks included writing and drafting acknowledgement letters, conducting prospective donor research, organizing information on dancer sponsorships, among others. Also, attending weekly professional development meetings provided me with information on the other roles in the organization and their journeys to ABT.

One thing that I appreciated greatly was everyone’s eagerness to connect with the interns and aid them on their path to success. Each of the staff members that participated in the weekly professional development meetings made a point to share connection information and offered their assistance in any situation we might need. I also enjoyed attending weekly staff meetings and learning from likewise professionals in the industry. I was able to gain a plethora of valuable knowledge and see the functions of a growing dance non-profit organization.

Although my experience was different than most, I felt I still experienced the intended effect of working for such a historic organization. I loved working for an organization that I was passionate about and that I had a history of admiring. I feel very lucky to have made the connections that I did, to have learned from enthusiastic mentors like Josephine Smolsky and Anna Hessa, and to have worked at organization that where I feel proud to have been an intern.

Payton Field

Major Gifts Intern (Development)

Fall 2022