As I stepped into 890 Broadway for the first time, I was immediately enchanted by the classic elevator that carried me to the little office of one of the greatest ballet companies in the world. This little office, however, is also home to not just amazing artistic talent, but to a job that I had only dreamed of doing until this summer. The opportunity to combine my marketing degree with my lifelong passion for ballet has been incredible, and much like how marketing revolves around the four P’s (product, place, price, promotion), I have found that my internship could be summed up in a similar way, but with four M’s.
Membership, the first of the four M’s, is where I had the pleasure of spending my summer as an intern. It is without a doubt one of the liveliest offices within ABT, as we are directly responsible for assisting members and ensuring that they have a positive experience. There was never a dull moment with everyone working together to ensure that the needs of the members are satisfied and I was able to witness just how vital the members are to the success of the organization. Without our members, ABT would not exist, and I was privileged to work alongside the people in my department to learn how to care for and cultivate membership so that ABT can continue to fulfill its mission. My favorite project with the department was when I researched different fundraising platforms and ideas to launch a social media fundraising campaign. It was interesting to see all of the different marketing options that are available today through social media, and I am thankful for the experience to learn about the process of organizing and marketing a social media fundraiser.
One of the major methods of communication with current and prospective members is through mailings, the second M. On one of my first days of work, I was introduced to one of our good friends in Membership, the mail machine. Though we had our rough days (the machine smells fear!), I eventually learned how to seamless glide the letters through without submitting them to the horrors of a paper jam! While I folded countless of mailings this summer, one of my favorite moments was when I had the opportunity to work with volunteers on the task. We would set up in the conference room, surrounded by mountains of mail that quickly faded as we chatted about our love of ballet.
The Metropolitan Opera House, the third M, is where ABT performs during their eight week spring season. Walking into the Met for the first time is an experience like no other, and you are immediately transformed by the beauty around you. The physical beauty of the space does not compare to the dancing that I would witness on the stage this season. Since many of our member events, such as dress rehearsals or a backstage tour, and the membership table, were housed at the Met, I was able to view many amazing moments that happened this spring. By seeing not just the performances, but also a peek backstage pre-show as Stella Abrera tied her shoes or notes from a ballet master in a rehearsal, I was reminded of the hard work and dedication that our dancers put forth to deliver such amazing performances at the Met.
As interns, we participate in events with other organizations in the area, and my personal favorite was our day at Pointe Magazine, the final M. It was so fascinating to see the office and editors that are the masterminds behind the magazine that I read religiously as a young dancer. Stepping into their office and having the opportunity to talk with the editors was wonderful because I got to see the thought process behind the content in their magazines. Everyone seemed so focused, yet the light and open atmosphere made it evident that it is a wonderful place to collaborate and work.
My time with American Ballet Theatre has been an invaluable experience that I will treasure forever. It has reminded me of my passion for the arts, and it has made me a well-rounded person by exposing me to membership and marketing for the non-profit sector, and the field of arts administration. I am so grateful to have the experience with ABT to start me on my journey.