Day in the Life: Interning at EBD!

June 25, 2019

As a kid, and to this day, I have always shed a couple tears when watching any version of the Lion King. We all know the scene, when our hero Mufasa is betrayed by his brother scar and killed in an animal stampede. This animated clip causes emotion for all that watch, but imagine watching that in a big professional theatre, with over 700 young talented dancers performing and interpreting that scene with movements of their body? No words, just the beating music that goes to the rhythm of your heart beat as you get excited to watch them dance. This was my first encounter with Everybody Dance! and The Gabriella Foundation. Everybody Dance! took a piece of everyone’s childhood, and turned it into a masterpiece that moved me to tears, more so than the movie itself. Initially I had simply gone to the end of year Recital to watch my nephew perform his number, but I quickly realized that my attention should not be centered on one single dancer. I was captured by everyone on stage.

This performance really stayed with me through the entirety of my senior year of college, so it was fate when I stumbled upon an internship at The Gabriella Foundation. I was urged to apply by family members who had students in the program, praising The Gabriella Foundation for their accessibility, high quality dance education, and kindness. I was skeptical at first, simply because what I had majored in had nothing to do with dance or the arts in any way, shape or form. However, I have always had a passion for working with children and being involved in at least one aspect of their life that could be impacted by my actions. With that in mind, I applied for the Arts Education Internship. Before I knew it, I was on a phone interview with the Program and Operations Coordinator, Melissa Flores. I learned so much about the Everybody Dance! program and the internship position in that phone call. An in-person interview was quickly scheduled for the next week. I planned my four-hour drive from University California Merced, where I attended school, down to LA to meet the lovely people that were considering to hire me.

Once here, everyone was very nice and polite and it felt quite literally like a “Whole New World”. About a week after the interview, Melissa called to let me know I got the job. I couldn’t believe that I was going to be working for such an amazing, uplifting non-profit.

I have now been working with The Gabriella Foundation for almost three weeks and it has been such an amazing learning experience. In just my second week, I was able to see and aid in the production of this year’s recital, Aladdin. Attending Tech Rehearsals, meeting the amazing staff and parents, and helping with costumes and props. It was all so surreal! It really made me appreciate the hard work that goes into every single recital. Not to mention the happiness found on the faces of the kids as they jumped across the stage. Recital weekend was equally, if not more exciting since parents were flying in with flowers, kids were nervous, and I was running around along with the rest of the staff. It was amazing and more than what I could have imagined. 

Around the time I was able to understand what happened in the movie Lion King, I was also involved in ballet. I was 6 and I still remember that happy feeling I would get when I would jump in the air or do a simple plie. That is what I see in the kids who dance with The Gabriella Foundation. The emotions and excitement I felt, is everything I saw in the first two weeks of my internship. I have seen the growth that this program provides on a personal and a macro level! Which is why, if you’re thinking about enrolling yourself, your children, siblings, anyone I 100% recommend it. Because its true you know? Everyone can dance!

Sarai Rodriguez, intern with The Gabriella Foundation

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