Mary Cott ’21 Focuses on Dance Education

This summer I am interning at American Ballet Theater (ABT) and Ballet Hispánico thanks to funding from the Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities.

At ABT I am a Training Programs Intern for the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis school three days per week. My tasks vary not just from one day to the next, but also within a day itself.  For example, I can start the day by creating master calendars of the studio space for the upcoming school year; then work on contracts for faculty, students, and accompanists; edit the Student Handbook; and end the day by watching a dress rehearsal of Swan Lake at The Metropolitan Opera House. 

I was able to see many performances of the ABT Met season and even got a tour backstage!

My favorite event of the summer was ABTKids, where about 3,000 public school students came to watch the company perform a special showcase just for them at The Metropolitan Opera House.  All of the educational staff assists at this annual event with everyone having a role in creating a dazzling introduction to ballet for these children. 

Interning at ABT is a unique experience.  One hears live piano music extending out of a dance studio into one’s office.  Faculty, students, and ABT company dancers alike stop by to check in and chat with administrators in the office. Interns play two truths and a lie during orientation.  Interning at ABT is filled with glamour and all the laborious tasks behind the glamour. Whether changing the locks in the locker room, creating a flier for the JKO School uniform, or taking inventory of the costumes in the green room, every task supports ABT’s crucial mission! 

At Ballet Hispánico I am interning in two different departments: Community Arts Partnership (CAP) one day per week and Communications & Marketing one day per week.  As a CAP Intern, my tasks vary from writing scholarship award letters to organizing the wardrobe in the basement. On my favorite day so far as a CAP Intern, I attended Best Practices: We Support Learning! Professional Development for Dance Teachers. I was able to observe flamenco, castanets, and ballet classes as well as participate in a workshop for teachers on the structuring of a school year and lesson planning.  Additionally, we discussed culturally responsive pedagogy, which I studied in “Schools in American Cities,” an education course I took at Bryn Mawr College this past spring! 

As a Communications & Marketing Intern, my responsibilities have included taking over the @ballethispanicoedu instagram stories once a week, chipping away at a large archiving project for the organization’s upcoming 50th anniversary, gathering press clips for the website, cutting paper programs, copy editing programs and bios of faculty/staff, and editing various sections of the website.

The penthouse studio of Ballet Hispánico that was transformed into a nightclub for Tablao!


Recently, I was able to attend Ballet Hispánico’s Tablao, a flamenco night in their penthouse studio.  After proofreading the bios that ended up on the program and helping to set up the event, my close involvement made the show all the more enjoyable as a viewer.  Two students from the school of dance were performing in the show and seeing a little boy who also takes class at the school, come up to the stage spontaneously during the finale, brought a smile to everyone’s face.  

Interning at both ABT and Ballet Hispánico has given me a unique opportunity to explore arts administration at two dance companies simultaneously.  As an educational studies minor and dancer in/board member of Shift Dance Company, a student-run contemporary dance company in the Bi-Co, I am so grateful and honored to be able to explore the intersection of dance and education through interning at both organizations!    

Written by Mary Cott ’21, comparative literature major, French and francophone studies minor, educational studies minor

Edited by Emily Dombrovskaya ’19