Emory dancer Jacob Robbins spent his summer interning with Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv, Israel. At Emory he is a junior double majoring in dance and movement studies and business (with focuses in marketing and consulting). He spent three months working with Batsheva's International Development and Touring Department, as well as taking company repertoire and Gaga classes, some even taught by artistic director Ohad Naharin. To find out more about his experiences, please read on.
*Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Please describe your internship, and some of the responsibilities you had.
This summer I interned in the International Development and Touring Department with the Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv, Israel. Through the three months I was there, I had a variety of different responsibilities, specifically geared toward the American Friends of Batsheva (the American donors of the company). I researched potential donors and arts foundations, as well as applied for major nonprofit grants and funding. Working directly with Salesforce software, I inputted and updated over 500 profiles that covered a three-year donation history. Additionally, with my co-intern, as well as the six employees in the department, I assisted with the planning and execution of the annual exclusive summer event, which had over 400 patrons in attendance. While these were my main responsibilities, I also created and launched a Batsheva Dance Company Twitter feed, edited their 2016 annual report, aided the touring department with tour booklets for two major European tours, and served as a Batsheva Dance Company ambassador for a two-week pilot of a pre-performance donor booth and gave private tours of the grounds for potential donors.
What was your most memorable experience during your internship with Batsheva Dance Company?
My most memorable experience during my summer would have to be the opportunity to participate in daily Gaga classes, which is the universal movement class created by Artistic Director Ohad Naharin. Taking these daily classes allowed me to explore a new style of dance that I had never done before, ultimately allowing me to immerse myself in the dance culture of Israel. Not only was I able to take these classes, but sometimes they were taught by company members and even Ohad Naharin himself. I’ll never forget the time my boss told me to stop working and to take company class taught by Ohad. Some of my other favorite memories include having access to the company’s summer season, learning company repertoire, and choosing photos from performances for brochures.
Why do you think this was a valuable experience, and how will you apply it to your future endeavors in dance?
This experience was extremely valuable, as I exposed myself to a foreign dance language. For three months, I was out of my comfort zone and constantly challenging myself in a country halfway around the world. I learned how one of the foremost contemporary dance companies in the world operates, and I am beyond grateful for the experience. I had the opportunity to meet dancers, large donors, see performances, deal with ticket sales, partake in classes, learn fundraising techniques, navigate a completely new city, and more.
Would you recommend this internship (or similar ones) to other dance students, if so, why?
Without hesitation, I would recommend this internship to other dance students. I cannot even begin to describe how remarkable my experience was, and I truly hope other students can have a similar experience as I did. I highly recommend dance students to reach out to companies they are interested in interning for, as this was not even listed on their website. I sent an email to a random email I saw online and they happened to be looking for summer interns.
Thank you Jacob!
To find out more about Batsheva, check out their website here!
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