Ryan Fotter ’11 & Becky Thorogood ’16: Finding Family at Boston Ballet

Ryan Fotter and Becky Thorogood are two former interns of Boston Ballet who just couldn’t get enough of the community over there. “I guess we’re just people people,” Becky explained over the phone. It was the environment of artists coming together to support one another paired with the thrill of putting shows together that attracted Ryan and Becky to full-time positions in the roles of Executive Assistant to the Executive Director & Board of Liasons and Stitcher & Wardrobe Assistant respectively.

But what is the Boston Ballet?

Boston Ballet is one of the leading dance companies in the world on stage, in the studio, and in the community. They’re a group that’s won international acclaim for their diverse and exciting repertoire as well as their title for housing the largest ballet school in North America: Boston Ballet School.

And they’re just really cool in general.

To help spread the word and to help you get a better sense of the culture over there, I’m providing a few bits of the amazing interview I had with Ryan and Becky about their experience at Emerson and about the work they do with Boston Ballet.

How did you get started with the Boston Ballet?

Becky: So I actually interned in the Costume Shop – we have a few interns there every year. And I started in the Summer between my Junior year and my Senior year and I was going to do it just for the Summer and then, you know, leave. But then it turned into a Fall semester internship and then it turned into a Spring semester internship and then it turned into an internship for the second Summer! So it became a whole year… I then worked at the Huntington Theatre Company for a while as an apprentice and then a position opened back up for a full-time stitcher at Boston Ballet and I jumped on that to come back!

Ryan: I had a very different experience. I started as an intern the Fall of my junior year as a Stage Management intern working for the Nutcracker. Then that turned into a full season internship through May and that led to a few part-time jobs in stage managing with the company over the Summer. And then the next season, my Senior year, I transitioned to an internship with our Company Manager and then I did that for the whole year and, very strategically, I limited my course load to be here as much as I could make myself as available and valuable as possible… while I was job-searching I was offered a full-time role that [Boston Ballet] had created for me to come back in the Artistic Department… And then I transitioned into my current role in the Fall of 2015… I very quickly fell in love with what we were doing and knew I didn’t want to leave.

How did you find those internships?

Becky: I used to take dance classes that the Boston Ballet did and I met one of the former stitchers from the Boston Ballet and she mentioned that there were some internships opening up this season but I never really thought about it. Then I saw the Career Services Internship Fair was coming up and Boston Ballet had a big stand there. So I just said to somebody, “Is it true that there’s a Costume Shop internship opening?” And they said yes, so I applied and a little while later I found out I got the internship!

Ryan: Mine was a little less official. But I think can still be attributed to Emerson… I mean, our network is so strong here, it was one of the major reasons I came here. A fellow student who I considered a mentor of mine had stage-managed here and was offered a paid gig but she was unavailable and so she asked them to contact me.

When you graduated, what were your next steps?

Ryan: I spoke to this point a little earlier but my steps for after graduation really started before graduation. I set myself up to make a lot of contacts and to build a network that I could tap into after I graduated… I think that’s good advice if you’re able to have that opportunity – not everyone is. If you can see something where you want to be, you can start working to get there even when you’re in school. And Emerson supported my ability to do that with my course load… It went pretty smoothly but it was all based on work I did on the backend.

Becky: I think, when I graduated, I decided I wanted to stay in Boston. I knew Huntington had an apprentice program, the Ballet didn’t have any open positions – the shop was full… I applied for the Huntington Apprentice Program and got that. And I was intending to be there full season but a position opened at the Ballet in October and I applied immediately. Huntington was very, very supportive of my transition over there, understanding that apprenticeships are not permanent positions.

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Our conversation dug into the reasons they wanted to come back and the reasons why they’re staying put for now all convening at one common theme: community. The Ballet is a great home for artists and creative thinkers, a fantastic spot for performing Emersonians and, as Becky and Ryan might say, the perfect home for people-people.

Boston Ballet will be at the Internship Fair tomorrow between 12:30pm & 3:30pm in the Bobbi Brown & Steven Plofker Gym (Piano Row).

By Anders Croft
Anders Croft Marketing Communications Specialist Anders Croft