DANCE ‣ Dancer of the Month - September 2022, Nicole Case
As school begins again and we start to welcome a cool breeze, here at HVU we have another Dancer of the Month. This month we would like to offer a different perspective of ballet companies, so this month we are featuring Nicole Case, the Associate Manager of Individual Giving at New York City Ballet.
A native of Beacon, New York, Nicole began her classical ballet training at the age of seven at Ballet Arts Studio. While training, she attended multiple summer intensives, including American Ballet Theatre, Bolshoi Ballet NYC, Kaatsbaan Ballet Intensive, Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts, and Manhattan Youth Ballet. From 2015-2017, Nicole studied ballet at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts under the direction of Susan Jaffe, Jared Redick, Eva Draw, and Misha Tchoupakov.
Nicole holds a Bachelor of Science in Entertainment and Arts Management and a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from Drexel University. She has worked for various performing arts companies, including New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Koresh Dance Company, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Some people have always known what career path they wanted, and others take more time to explore options before settling on the right fit, or even pursue multiple career paths through their working life. For Nicole, arts administration was the career she has been set on since she was just sixteen years old.
“When I was 16 years old, I set the goal of becoming an arts administration professional. I felt this career was the perfect way to combine my life-long passion for the performing arts with my interest in business. I began studying Entertainment and Arts Management at Drexel University and became very focused on gaining as much work experience as I could during my undergraduate studies. The summer after my freshman year, I served as a Production Intern at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Once I realized arts administration could bring me the same sense of fulfillment as performing did, I was hooked! The next summer, I applied to around ten internships and was fortunate enough to become the Special Events Intern at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. From there, I landed internships in the development departments of American Ballet Theatre, Koresh Dance Company, and New York City Ballet. As my internships were coming to an end, I always expressed interest in wanting to stay on longer with each company and work part-time during my school year. The extended time at each internship allowed me to form deeper relationships with colleagues and get a better feel for each company's culture. When a full-time position became available at New York City Ballet, it was beneficial that I had established relationships with the team and was familiar with their processes. I also have never shied away from calling donors and taking part in front-line fundraising work, which is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. I feel my knowledge and love of ballet has helped me connect with NYCB's donor base and advance professionally in the arts administration field. In June 2021, I was hired full-time as the Associate, Patron Program, and I was just promoted to my new role of Associate Manager, Individual Giving this month!”
As the Associate Manager of Individual Giving at New York City Ballet, Nicole manages and cultivates relationships with donors giving $100-$19,999 annually. She also works with the rest of their development team to implement strategies to grow their base of supporters and upgrade current donors into higher levels of giving. She plans patron events, receptions, and dress rehearsals throughout the year and is responsible for their stewardship communications through direct mail, tele-funding, online, and social media.
NYCB really stuck out to her as she grew up watching the company’s performances in the city and had always admired their dancers and repertory. “George Balanchine helped reinvent American ballet, creating his own distinct neoclassical style and prioritizing collaboration with music and other art forms. It's so rewarding to be a small part of keeping his legacy of innovation alive.”
She spoke of how kind and welcoming the rest of the staff was at the beginning of her internship with them. “Admittingly, I was so nervous when I first started, but my colleagues immediately made me feel right at home. It also felt so natural to connect with NYCB's donors over our shared love of ballet.”
Even now, as an arts administrator, Nicole still finds the time to practice her passion. She continues to take ballet classes at Steps on Broadway weekly, as well as musical theater, jazz, and modern when she can. “Now that I'm not training professionally, it's been great to just take class for enjoyment and not put so much pressure on myself!”
Her advice for other dancers wanting to pursue a career in arts administration is, “Don't be afraid to put yourself out there! The arts sector is such a welcoming and social space. As a first step, I would recommend applying for internships or signing up to be a volunteer at your favorite arts organizations. Once you have a "foot in the door," don't be afraid to ask questions, offer ideas, or introduce yourself to new people. Passion, authenticity, and a willingness to learn won't go unnoticed by those around you and may help you land a job later down the line!”
Learning more and more about the entirety of a ballet company is really the best way to truly appreciate all that goes into running a company. We are so honored to feature Nicole as our first Arts Administrator Dancer of the Month!
If you would like to support Nicole and New York City Ballet, follow this link to learn more about how you can give today: