Vail Daily column: A day in the life of a Dance Fest intern
August 8, 2015
VAIL — The interns of the Vail International Dance Festival come on board the festival team for a few reasons — to understand the inner-workings of one the of premier dance festivals in the world, to take part in both the guts and the glory of making this Festival run and to experience a life-changing opportunity.
The exposure granted to the interns, which allows them to view and work behind the scenes, is an unparalleled experience. These interns come from across the country to work at the Vail Valley Foundation. The application process may seem a little daunting at first, as it begins with the submission of one's resume, followed by an interview that gives each candidate the chance to showcase their strengths. Primarily lead by the Festival coordinator Meredith Steinke, the interns have an incredible group to work with every day, including Martha Brassel, VIDF director of development and operations; Martin Nieves, the festival manager; and the artistic director Damian Woetzel.
"The staff has been incredibly supportive of the interns and has demonstrated a lot of trust in us. Our group has a lot to be responsible for, which has made the whole experience very hands on," said intern Chantilly Chiles.
Shelby Seier, of Omaha, Nebraska, found out about the internship program from her university theater department.
"The job description looked totally up my alley, and I could not resist living in Colorado for three weeks. Vail is the most pristinely manicured town I've ever visited; it's absolutely stunning," said Seier.
Blood, sweat and tears
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The 12 interns had responsibilities within venue management, artist services, merchandise sales, production, development and education outreach.
"The amount of preparation, organization and hard-work that occurs behind the scenes of the festival, done in order to make the events run smoothly for both the artists and the patrons, stands out in my mind as one of the largest learning experiences," said intern Kevin Silverstein, sophomore at Princeton University.
Jamie Vadnal, a ballroom-dancer at University of Akron, enjoyed working behind the scenes as well.
"What I will take away most from this internship are the skills and inner workings involved in putting on large scale events," said Vadnal.
"Our hope is that the internship program is mutually beneficial to the interns and VIDF. The festival could not operate without our intern team. The work days are long and grueling and not always glamorous, however the interns will take away new knowledge and insight that will hopefully further their own careers," said Steinke.
Gaining Practical Experience
Any of the interns will tell you there is a lot of practical experience to be gained from an opportunity like this, but there is also the chance to make lifelong friends. Some have even made friends with some of the performing artists, who are excellent role models for careers in the arts, which a majority of the interns are hoping to pursue.
Each summer, VIDF proudly hosts students pursuing a career in the arts. This year's VIDF intern program is generously sponsored by Jody and John Arnhold because of their dedication to education in the arts. Their support has been instrumental to the success of the internship program and has made it an incredible opportunity.