Skye Reddy ’22 – Threads Dance Project

Where is your internship and what is your role there?
I interned at Threads Dance Project, a Minneapolis-based dance company. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, my work with them has been almost entirely remote. Since my internship began shortly before Threads’ end of year fundraiser, most of what I did revolved around the organization’s virtual auction and managing their donor database. I was also able to attend meetings with staff members to understand how each of their jobs contribute to the running of Threads, and a board meeting to see for myself the roles of board members in a not-for-profit organization.

How did you come across this job?
In March of 2020, Threads Dance Project was looking for dancers to participate in a new piece that artistic director Karen Charles (who was guest teaching at Macalester) was creating. I had initially contacted Threads to audition for this piece, though the premiere of this performance was later cancelled due to the pandemic. This Fall, Karen reached out to the Theater and Dance department offering to take on interns instead. I had initially thought that I would not be able to do the internship because of Macalester’s shift to modules rather than semesters, but Karen was very accommodating to make things work with my schedule.

What do you love about working this job?
I was fortunate in that I was able to intern with Threads at a particularly exciting time. The organization has recently secured studio and office space and is working to expand their community outreach to include classes in a variety of dance styles. This allowed me to be a part of their processes of laying down new sprung studio flooring, thinking through studio management software, and learning about their plans for programs that would enable BIPOC youth to attend dance classes at a discounted rate. I think it’s so rare to have the opportunity of interning with an organization at the moment when they’re making these important changes, and I appreciated that Karen and everyone else at Threads really made me feel like I was a part of the changes rather than a passive recipient of a “this is how we’ve always done things” system.

How has your role been impacted by the pandemic?
I think that there were two major changes to this internship that were the direct result of the pandemic. The first is of course that nearly everything has been remote/conducted on Zoom. While of course the experience was still valuable, the tasks to be done in order to have a virtual auction and fundraiser up and running were very different from what I’d have had to do if the fundraiser was in-person. The other significant difference has been that I spent a lot of time understanding budgeting and the finances of running a not-for-profit dance organization, and far less time engaging with their community outreach and the dancers themselves. In a way, this has also been eye-opening for me because I understand what it means to be a dancer; this was my first glimpse into the extensive administrative work that goes on behind the scenes.

Do you have any advice for other students looking for internships or jobs?
Perhaps this is something of a cliche, but I’d say reach out to the people who come to talk to your classes if their work is in an area that interests you. If you’re shy or not sure where to begin, asking for e-introductions is a good way to go. Of course, there are times when people don’t have the space for an intern/employee in the capacity that you expect, but sometimes things work out in unexpected ways (they definitely did for me!)

Return to the Internships and Professional Development page to read other student profiles.