From as close as downtown Lynchburg to as far as Vietnam, Randolph students are applying the skills they learned behind the Red Brick Wall in exciting internships across the world this summer.
For this post, we asked dance major Katie Reep ’19 a few questions about her internship at the American Dance Festival in Durham, N.C.
What was your title or role in this internship and what kinds of things did you do?
I was the merchandising intern at the American Dance Festival (ADF). My job was to set up and run the ADF Store where I sold T-shirts and a variety of other merchandise to promote the festival. I was also responsible for taking merchandise to the theaters to sell before the show, during intermission, and after the show. A big part of running the store was keeping up with reports detailing sales at the store and at the theater as well as keeping track of inventory so I could inform my supervisor when we were running low on an item.
How did you find out about this internship and why were you interested in it?
When I was younger, my dad knew the dean of the American Dance Festival and she had given him tickets to bring my family to see a dance show. This summer, when I mentioned to my dad that I was looking for internships, he suggested that I go to the ADF website and see what was available. I was interested in the merchandising internship because I wanted to do something that would tie in my experience from my math and economics minors with my major in dance. I also wanted to dance this summer, and this internship gave me the opportunity to do so.
In what ways did Randolph prepare you? What new skills or information have you learned?
The dance department helped to prepare me for this internship because it has exposed me to many different types of dance artists and dance styles. I felt like I had a solid background going in, and that gave me confidence. Being a part of the department has challenged me and shown me how to be more confident in myself. [Internship coordinator] Maegan Crews in the Career Development Center was also very helpful. When I was writing my resume and cover letter, I went to her for advice because I had never prepared those kinds of documents before. I knew that the internships at the American Dance Festival were very competitive, so I wanted to make sure that my application materials were the best that they could be. Maegan gave me great advice and many ways to approach my task. While I was an intern at the American Dance Festival, I learned that communication and working together are very important to making a festival that is this big run smoothly. As much as preparation is important, there are always things that come up, and you have to just go with the flow and work with others to get the job done. I also got to learn a lot about dance and its history. The American Dance Festival fosters modern dance, and it was amazing to learn about all the modern dance pioneers and their roles in the festival.
What are some of your most memorable moments, and what are some of your biggest takeaways from this experience?
One of my most memorable moments was watching the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company perform on the opening night of the festival. The company performed one of their most famous works, titled “Rainbow ‘Round my Shoulder,” as well as a world premiere commissioned by ADF. This was my favorite show because it was exciting and athletic as well as touching and powerful. I got chills as I watched it, and I was left in awe when it was over. Another memorable moment would be taking the Graham Technique class with Blakeley White-McGuire. She was an amazing teacher, and I learned so much about the technique and the energy that it stems from. I will never forget the day that we walked across the street to the Sarah P. Duke Gardens to have our class outside in the beautiful landscape. It grounded us and brought us closer to the Earth as we danced and explored the technique. One thing that I take away from this experience is that I shouldn’t fear a challenge and that I can do whatever I set my mind to. I also learned that in a small arts organization you may end up wearing all kinds of different hats, even if it isn’t in your job description.
What are your long-term goals, career plans and how does this internship factor in?
I am not exactly sure what my career plans are, but being able to go to the American Dance Festival has shown me that I definitely want to work in the arts. It has shown me the many different options I have, whether it be dancing, choreographing, working in arts administration, or a combination of many different things. I got to meet with a lot of people who talked about their career, and it made me realize that there are a lot more options than I thought there were. So, even though I don’t have any solid career plans, my goal is to keep dancing and to work in the arts.
Did you receive a Jolley Mini Grant or RISE Grant? If so, what kind of impact did that have on your ability to do this internship?
I received the Jolley Mini Grant to help fund my internship. This grant greatly affected my ability to complete this internship because it allowed me to focus on all the dance happening around me instead of where I was going to get money for the things that I needed. I knew exactly where all of my funds were coming from, and I was able to fully enjoy my time at the festival.
What’s your favorite thing about Randolph?
My favorite thing about Randolph is the dance department. Pam [Risenhoover] and the rest of the faculty have been very encouraging during my time at Randolph. I feel as though the department has helped me discover myself and my confidence through dance. The dance studio is my favorite place to be on campus. I get to work with so many guest artists who are all different in their personality and style. They make the program diverse, which I feel has prepared me to work with many different types of people as well as enjoy many different styles of modern dance.