SRU student interning with School of American Ballet through arts diversity program


Anderson at his internship

Tyler Anderson, a Slippery Rock University senior dual dance and modern languages and cultures major, is among a few college students in the country selected for the Diversity in Arts Leadership internship program. Anderson is in New York City all summer working with the School of American Ballet.

July 29, 2022

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Tyler Anderson is certainly "dialed" in to his summer internship this summer at the School of American Ballet in New York City. Anderson, a Slippery Rock University senior dual dance and modern languages and cultures major from Allison Park, is among a select few college students working this summer through DIAL, the Diversity in Arts Leadership internship program, administered by the Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit organization that advances the arts and arts education.

"This is a really cool opportunity because it blends a whole bunch of my interests: diversity, dance, nonprofit work, and others," Anderson said. "When I found out I was selected, I was already overwhelmed with excitement, but then when I saw I was placed with the School of American Ballet, that put me at a loss for words."

SAB partnered with the DIAL program to host one of 11 interns who are placed in New York City arts organizations. Anderson was one of only 22 interns in cities across the country, selected from hundreds of applicants, and the only one placed at SAB. SAB is widely regarded as America's leading ballet school, and is world-renowned for its classical training, established by the school's co-founders, teacher and choreographer George Balanchine and arts patron and writer Lincoln Kirstein. Located at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, SAB annually trains more than 1,000 youths ages 6 to 19.

"This past spring semester at SRU, I took a class where we learned about the history of ballet and modern dance, and part of that was learning about George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein coming to America and establishing the School of American Ballet," Anderson said. "I was just kind of in awe that I have learned so much about the artform and this specific institution and choreographer and now I get to be a part of this space and this creative atmosphere every day. It's really a dream come true in every sense of the phrase."

As a part of his 10-week internship, Anderson is working within two SAB departments, the Advancement team and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team. He is working on a donor communication annual report and programming to diversify the student population and increase their exposure to local artists from diverse backgrounds.

Additionally, Anderson participated in "DIALogues," an eight-part professional development collection created to "increase interns' knowledge of arts administration through a cultural equity lens." Each DIAL intern is also assigned a mentor outside of the organization to learn more about the arts and nonprofit sectors.

"It's really important, especially as someone who aspires to be a performing artist, to not limit yourself to one type of work, but without totally removing yourself from the performing arts industry," Anderson said. "That's the beauty of this internship. I'm learning more about administration, event-planning and executing projects. It has definitely inspired me to know that after my body is no longer able to move (as a dancer), that it doesn't mean that I have to give up on a dream. It can just change a little bit.

"I'm certain that there's a lot from this internship that I can bring back to Slippery Rock to enrich both performance and academics."

As a dual major at SRU, Anderson is interested in pursuing a graduate degree and a professional career that blends linguistics, dance and arts administration, as well as diversity and gender studies.

And although he's taking advantage of his proximity to Broadway and so many other cultural opportunities in the arts, he values his college experience and looks forward to returning to SRU in the fall.

"I love how dedicated the professors are to their students' success and I love how great of a community there is at SRU," Anderson said. "There hasn't been a day where I haven't wanted to go to class because the environment and the curriculum are so fun. (Dance at SRU) is a really well-rounded program, and especially being at a state school, it's incredible to get an education that is comparable to other world-renowned dance programs without having to go into a tremendous amount of student loan debt. It's really wonderful."

More information about the SRU Dance Department is available on the SRU website. More information about the DIAL internship program is available on the Americans for the Arts website.

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