My name is Anika Hunter, I will be graduating with a dance major in 2019, and I had two internships this summer, one in New York City at the Parsons Dance Summer Intensive and another in Detroit at ArtLab J. The two experiences helped me gain dance training and also learn arts administration.
Parsons Dance Company is a world-renowned group that tours internationally and is known for high-caliber movement. The first three weeks at Parsons consisted of intense dance training at Manhattan Movement and Arts Center. Each morning began at 9:00 a.m. with a half hour of abs, push-ups, and cardio. Afterwards we went straight into classical ballet, followed by a two hour modern dance class. After a lunch break, the two hour afternoon portion of the day began, which consisted mainly of repertory, meaning we learned dances that would be performed. The intensive also included a ballroom dance class, a lifting class, a contemporary class, and a mock audition. In terms of preparation for a dance career, these three weeks were monumental. I was challenged to learn very long, intricate dances in just minutes and expected to know the choreography instantly. While I gained numerous skills during the intensive, my ability to learn choreography increased immensely over this time, something that is highly valued in the dance world.
ArtLab J is a dance company with the motto “We believe that dance is for everyone,” which encompasses their dedication to making the dance world more accessible. The company provided me with training from South Korean instructors, which was unique to all other dance classes I’ve taken. ArtLab J’s biggest event of the summer is the Detroit Dance City Festival, a three-day long program with local artists as well as international groups. The event included classes, performances, a movie screening, outdoor family activities, a kids dance camp, a hip-hop party and a networking luncheon. My internship entailed planning, promoting, selling tickets to and working each of these events. I’m really proud to have helped organize an event that was successful and also a positive contribution to my city.
My processes for finding each internship were very different. I have known the director of ArtLab J for several years and I easily reached out to suggest working with her. Before this summer, I had no connection to Parsons Dance, and I now feel I know the company quite well. This process was much more difficult but was completely worth it. As you can imagine it involved numerous emails and phone calls to various staff members at the company. My advice to students looking for an internship to think about what aspects of their career are most interesting or important to them and which organizations promote those values. High quality dance is something I really value and and so is sharing dance with people who otherwise might not experience it.
I’m really thankful to the Career Development Center and my donor for the opportunity to have two internships that allowed me to do work I am passionate about!